The Gantseh Megillah

Mother's Day
May 1, 2000

Today is Motherís Day, and I would like to take this opportunity to wish each and every Momma, Yiddishe and otherwise, a VERY happy Motherís Day! Setting one day a year aside to recognize and honour our mothers does not seem to be quite enough of a tribute. There have been countless songs written about mothers, as well as paintings, books, poems, movies, cards, and the list goes on. And yet, the mother plays such an important part in our family and individual lives that we find ourselves seeking new and sometimes more elaborate ways of expressing our feelings.

As some of you might already know, I spent a good number of years working as an entertainer. Singing seemed to be a natural part of me ever since I was a little boy. Among the venues I would perform in, there was one particular location that holds a very special place in my heart. I am speaking of the Catskill Mountains region of New York State. This area is also known by many people as ďThe Borscht Belt.Ē In the days when I was performing at the various hotels located in this area, the vast majority of the guests were Jewish. Of course, I always made sure there were a number of Jewish style songs in my act. One of the most popular with my audiences was the very beautiful song, ďMy Yiddishe Momma.Ē I must have sung that number hundreds of times, and yet the audiences never tired of it. One day, a dear cousin of mine (may he rest in peace) who used to entertain in the days of Vaudeville, offered to teach me a poem he wrote that he would use when he was singing the same song years ago in his youth. I memorized the poem and decided to include it in the number during my performance that same evening. I will never forget the reaction of the audience. As they sat listening to the words of the poem that fit so beautifully with those of the song, tears were filling the eyes of several people. And after a few moments, I felt a tear slowly working its way down my own cheek. With your permission, I would like to include the words of that special poem, composed so many years ago by my cousin Harry.

ďI went to an orphanage a few years ago. They asked me to come, they were giving a show. The large hall was filled with little tots, left and right. Until my dying day, Iíll remember that site. It was my turn to sing, and I rose in pain. A feeling crept over me, I just canít explain. And with a lump in my throat and my eyes filled with tears. I sang as I never did in all of my years.
"And when I was through, each motherless child stamped and applauded as if they went wild. I ran through the hall as if my meaning was gone, hopped into a taxi, rode on an on. Til I came to the place that I wanted to be. And there I found my Yiddishe Momma, waiting for me.
"Momma, momma, caress me I cried. Iím aching and shaking and breaking inside. And if ever I hurt you, by word or by deed. Iím sorry Iíve been careless, now Iíll take heed. Momma, I just left a group of kids back there, and they made me so sad.
"'Cause those kids lost the best friend, a child ever had."
Happy Motherís Day, Mom!

This is the 6th edition of ďThe Gantseh MegillahĒ, and so far, I am delighted to report, the subscription list has grown steadily since issue #1! I am very grateful to all of you who have sent emails telling me how much you enjoy receiving this newsletter, and have recommended it to friends and family. This is the only form of advertising The Gantseh Megillah has.

The cost of producing this newsletter is financed entirely out of my own pocket. This is truly a labour of love for me, and I am happy to have the opportunity of bringing this online publication to everyone who enjoys reading it. After giving a lot of thought to ways I could possibly defray even a small part of the cost of this project I decided on linking both the Glossary of Yiddish Words and Expressions, and The Gantseh Megillah to the collection of merchandise that reflect the idea of Yiddishkeit at If you click on the emblem on either the Megillah or the Glossary you will be automatically taken to a tailor-made page. The items you will find include books, music, videos and other related Yiddish tchotchkes. You are of course NEVER obligated to make a purchase. However, should you find an item that you would like to buy, or need a particular book for example that is offered on that site, a percentage of the purchase price will be returned to me to help finance The Gantseh Megillah.

You have my solemn promise that I shall never charge money for a subscription to the Megillah. I intend to continue the policy of free subscriptions for as long as I am part of this endeavor. In order to assist me in living up to that promise, I decided that an appropriate and related offering of merchandise from a reliable online vendor would at least help sustain a portion of this effort. So anytime you are looking for a book , video or gift, please consider clicking on the icon on either the glossary or the Megillah and seeing what is offered on their site. This will be gratefully appreciated by me.

Enjoy this edition of The Gantseh Megillah.
Ďtil next time, my love to all of you,
Michael D. Fein

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