Thursday, August 12, 2004

Looks can be deceiving. I have a neighbor who is absolutely the image of a scheine yid, which in all the respects that matter he is. He has a tall regal bearing, a long flowing beard with more than a tinge of gray, a broad kapelush and a classy bekishe. He and his wife of many years recently married kedas moshe ve-yisrael after their aliyah from Chile and subsequent conversion in the Spanish-speaking machon giyur in My Little Town. I have another neighbor, who now calls himself Arik, who arrived a couple of years ago with his wife from Bolivia. He and his wife look like Indians from South America and speak Spanish but little English or Hebrew. We had them over for shalashidis a while back, hoping to see how we could help the poor tribesmen get on their feet. A frequent Shabbos guest of ours, a ger from Venezuela (yes, we hold the continent -- next turn we get two extra armies), served as translator. After some probing, we ascertained what tribe our Bolivian Indian is from and what his tribal name was. It turns out that Arik is a proud son of the Gerrer Indians and his tribal name is Arik. His father was a chassidishe bochur who left Poland before The War to seek his fortune. He found his way to Bolivia and married a local Indian girl with whom he had two children. Our indigent Injun's cousins are learning in Lakewood and he is a licensed dentist (as is his sister with whom he ran a succesful clinic in Bolivia). Next week he's taking his exams to get a license to practice dentistry in Israel. We wish him hatzlachah.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

No kidding. Years ago I heard a story about some older jewish couple who headed out (for some reason or another) to some remote part of South America where they were apparently the guests of honor at some local tribal brouha.

And sitting at the dais observing the exotic festivities, with a twinkle in his eye, the guy says to his wife something like "if my father could see me now!" (oib mein tatte ken zeyn mir yetzt?) To which he received the shock of his life when the indian chief seated next to him muttereed back in yiddish, "if MY father could see me now!"

I never took that story as more than some dumb legend (as most outrageous stories are) but... was this chap's father an indian chief?

Also, t'would be quite interesting to hear his jewish story. How the hell did he know that he was jewish? what jewish even meant? why did he move to israel?

Sam Orbaum is unfortunately gone, couldja find out for us?


5:08 PM  

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