By Ruth R. Wisse (ed.)
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Additional resources for A Shtetl and other Yiddish novellas
The bated breath of the combatants was finally released, and the very air seemed to quiver, as around a spinning top that is about to topple. As if at a given signal, everyone lowered his hands and looked dazedly at the person nearest him. The sight of blood brought them back to their senses. In a moment Itchele was at the door, with his gang all around him and the table leg still in his hand. He stood there hatless, hair rumpled, smiling at the congregants in their tattered prayer shawls. Then someone handed him his cap.
His stay was brief, and right after his departure some of the youths began to let their hair grow and to sport the blue shirts that were the trademark of the Jewish Labor Bund. Suddenly, before anyone knew what was happening, a strike had broken out at Isaac FeygeLibes. Only a single obstinate shoeworker remained in the shop, refusing to budge. One of the apprentices hid outside the window with a green bottle of kerosene, then leaned in and broke it over the worker's head. After that, Isaac's place was deserted.
The wife was expecting . . this one here as a matter of fact," and he winked in the direction of his son. Yeshaya, a shy young man in a wide brimmed satin hat, who was still being supported by his in-laws, sat staring at the table like an ox into a trough. Some of the boys began taunting him. " Yeshaya found the choice difficult, and not knowing what to answer he alternately tugged at his sparse yellow beard and scratched his curled sidelocks. "I'm ashamed to answer," he finally stammered, and the room rocked with laughter.
A Shtetl and other Yiddish novellas by Ruth R. Wisse (ed.)