Thursday, March 25, 2010

Paula Wengeroff's Rememberings

I just finished reading Paula Wengeroff's fascinating Memoirs (see Eliezer's post here for an excerpt. A more complete edition seems to be scheduled for publication as well.)

Wengeroff describes the "Kosher Dance", aka the mitzvah tantz being performed at her sisters wedding, this despite the fact that her family were definite misnagdim (cousins of the Aruch HaShulchan). She also mentioned that their custom was for the women to shave their heads. Both of these customs have come to be associated exclusively with Chassdim today.

She mentions that her family would not eat Matzah after Pesach. There is no other record of such a minhag that I could find. Perhaps, they just didn't eat it because there is no obligation to and it doesn't taste that great and Mrs. Wengeroff mistook it for a halachic practice. She also mentions a custom to make Challah in the shape of a bird on Hoshana Rabbah, I have never of this either.

In addition to the wealth of information on minhagim, the book is a fascinating depiction of the period and well worth reading.

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