Congregation Beth El–Keser Israel

85 Harrison Street, New Haven, CT 06515-1724 | P: 203.389.2108 | office@beki.org

Our banner is based on BEKI’s stained glass, designed in 2008 by Cynthia Beth Rubin. For information on this and other of Cynthia’s work, go to: <a href="http://www.cbrubin.net" target="_blank">www.cbrubin.net</a>. Artisan Fabrication by JC Glass of Branford, CT

Farshem nit dein mamen

Farshem nit dein mamen

By Philip “Chick” Chasen

Retold by Rabbi Jon-Jay Tilsen

I used to say to my mother, “Why do I have to go to Hebrew School? I go to grammar school all day. All the other kids are out playing. Why do I have to go to Hebrew School?”

All she’d say was “Farshem nit dein mamen — Don’t shame your mother.” I never understood what she meant. All she’d say was “Farshem nit dein mamen.”

During the War when I was in England, my friend was invited to go to the home of a prominent family in Leicester for the Passover seder. But he couldn’t go, so I went instead. Each member of the host family was highly educated, and each one read from a Hagada in a different language. The young boy in the family spoke French flawlessly. I read along in Hebrew.

After the seder, the father of the family said, “Phil, where did you learn to do that? You read so fluently and proficiently that when I paused to take a breath, you kept going. Where did you learn to do that?”

And all I could think of was “Farshem nit dein mamen.”

© Jon-Jay Tilsen

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