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baby pisetskaya

Grandfather Menachem went to the synagogue regularly. I remember that he put on his tallit and tefillin when he prayed at home. I was five then and remember that I stood beside him and kissed the cubes - tefillin, and my grandfather kissed the edges of his tallit.
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My grandmother was very beautiful; she had very thick long hair that she combed with a metal comb. She wore a lace shawl. She also wore hats.
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Jankiel Kulawiec

He had this huge beard down to his waist, he had sidelocks and wore a head covering - this cap with a small round peak; it was called a 'Krymka' [Crimean cap], from the Crimean Jews, who used to wear caps like that.
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Rafael Genis

My mother cooked chulent for Sabbath. Meat, potatoes, carrots, beans and at times plums were put in a large pot and placed in a hot oven. On Saturday my parents went to the synagogue. When we grew up, we went with them. Father bought a seat there. His tallit and prayer book were kept there in a small cabinet beside his seat. My father knew many prayers in Hebrew. Upon our return from the synagogue, we sat at the table and our housekeeper - a Lithuanian lady - took the chulent from the stove with the help of a large oven fork. Before we started eating, Father said a prayer. I still remember the feeling of that festivity and ceremoniousness during Sabbath in my parents' house.
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Krystyna Budnicka

Only one of my brothers, Boruch, was religious. He had a pious wife and he wore a kashket too.
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She must have come from a religious family - I remember that on Saturdays she wore a wig, and on ordinary days she went around in a hairnet. Father always had his head covered. He didn't have sidelocks - he was no Hasid [2], but he was a pious Jew, and he had a beard, a beautiful long silvery beard, which parted at the bottom. He didn't wear a hat but a kashket, a kind of a small cap with a peak.
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Janina Duda

You can see what Father looked like in the photographs: mustache, blond hair, he was an ordinary man, he dressed normally.
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He spoke perfect Polish, he didn’t wear sidelocks, he was a completely secular person.
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They observed traditions, the basic religious forms, but there were no visible signs. They all dressed normally.
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It was there that I saw for the first time these, as they are called in Poland, ‘chalats’ [Hasidim]. I walked around in my high school cap, with a large visor and they pointed at me in the street. Pointed at me with their fingers, because I was wearing that cap. A girl? With such a visor? I didn’t see that at all in Bialystok.
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avram sadikario

La mortaza was the special clothing that was made before a person died [kitel in the Ashkenazi tradition]. Everyone had their own mortaza, women and men. Women sewed them. It wasn't any great clothing, just something to wrap a person in when he dies. We sang special prayers and there was a special book of them just for the dead. Only men went to the cemetery. A woman was never permitted to go to the cemetery. Women cried and sang special prayers at home.

After a funeral we sat at home seven days, lasijeti, which means to sit for seven days [shivah]. For seven days we didn't sit on chairs rather on the floor. We didn't do anything. Our relatives brought us food. I was about 17 when my grandfather died. For seven days the mourners were served. I don't remember that I sat these seven days when my grandfather died.
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For Tisha be-Av we sat on the floor. We went to the temple and then, when we went home, we didn't eat anything the whole day. We didn't sit on chairs, only on the floor. We had some special prayers for this holiday.

Every Friday female beggars would come and we gave them bread. Since my mother had baked bread she gave them some of it. There were only a few beggars and they were all women. In general, even though people were very poor they didn't beg. They got money, help from the Jewish community and what they could earn working.

We went to the temple on Sabbath evening. It didn't last long and then we went home. Saturday we ate fizon di Shabbat, Jewish beans. Father would recite the Kiddush.

On Sabbath one couldn't light the fire, so we had a gypsy woman come and light the furnace, and everything that we needed lit, but especially the furnace because in the winter we needed to have it on. They lit them and we paid them.
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