Memoirs of Rokhel Luban - festivals

Memoirs of Rokhel Luban, nee Namakshtansky.

Born 1898 Trudoliubovka, Ekaterinoslav Province, Ukraine.
Died 1979 Petah Tikvah, Israel.

Now I will write about the Yom Tovim by my parents.

Mama made beets for Purim and I grated them. First Mama made wine and then beets. New clothes for Pesach were already made by Purim and were washed and pressed. Then Mama cleaned the whole house. She Kashered (# prepared utensils for the festival of Passover) everything on the last day before Pesach. Matzah was baked in a special house with an oven, tables for rolling the dough, rolling pins, a tin plate and a pusher, a mill for making the meal and a pitcher for bringing water.

It was someone's job to sit and watch the Matzah. The meal we always made from winter wheat. My father always bought a five pud sack of Pesach meal and Mama made Matzah meal for Kneidlach and Lekach (# sponge cake). She used a Shteisel (# mortar and pestle); Gribena (# chicken fat rendered crisp and cooked with onions) for Kneidlach and Farfel.

Mama scrubbed and Kashered all the utensils and sharpened the knives. The Kashering was done with a hot stone in boiling water. She kashered the tables with hot water and a burning stone. For "Bedikas Khometz" father went with a candle in hand, a wooden spoon and a feather to find and take out any leftover Khometz. In the morning he sold it to a Goy.

Fish was brought from Mariupol on ice, a wagon full. Khrein (# horseraddish) was made with salt, sugar and beet root. Kharoses was made by the rabbi who gave some to each householder.

Father and my older brothers used to go to the bath while Mama washed us at home in a big bowl or a bath.

When the men came home from Shule, mother had dressed up the children and prepared for the Seder. Wine was on the table, Hagodos, candles, the ceremonial plate with the hard-boiled egg and onion in salt water. They came home from Shule; Mama had already `Benched Licht' (# lit and blessed the candles). I always sat at father's left hand so as to take the Afikoman. Leibl said the `Ma Nishtanah'. By us we said the Hagodoh by interpreting every word in Yiddish. For example: (Hebrew Characters appeared here) "We were slaves". The best thing was the wine, then the food. The neighbors came to sing `Khad Gadyah' with us. On `Khol Hamoed' (# the intermediate days of the festival) we went visiting and Mama spent her time entertaining guests who came to us.

Shavues was a joyful festival. The fields were green and everything was growing. The houses were decorated with blossoming flowers from the fields. On the first day we ate milk dishes; Mama made Blintzes. Fish was brought again from Mariupol. Father spent the whole night in Shule learning.

Survivors of the 1919 Trudoliubovka pogrom.
Left to Right: Rokhel Berchansky (nee Namakshtansky, later Luban)
Her daughter Khaya (Clara)
sister Yokhved (Eva) Girzhel,
Brothers Leibl and Zalman Namak.

Standing Benyomin Komisaruk, Killed 1920.
Rokhel Berchansky (Namakshtansky/Luban)
Namakshtansky family: Velvel, killed 1919
seated Shmilik killed 1919
Chaim died 1917 

1 comment:

  1. I may have told you this story before. I was living in Israel in 1971 and was hitch hiking with a driver who heard my Australian accent in Hebrew. He asked me who my father's family was and who my mother's family was, and as it turned out, he knew ABOUT a cousin on mum's! The driver had met an academic, in one of the sciences, at one of Israel's universities.

    It took me weeks to write to every university science faculty but I did receive an answer .. from the Lubans. They invited us to visit straight away and Rachel Luban was still in great form. She remembered my grandfather (Pinchas Komesaroff) very well indeed.

    My grandfather was in hospital in Melbourne but he was delighted to hear about his cousin. Within a fortnight, I received a letter from my grandfather, complete with a hand drawn family tree, showing the links between the siblings and their cousins. My grandfather passed away soon after, but how amazing that he lived long enough to hear everything about the Lubans.