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Resource Type: Play / skit in: English
Age: 10-15
Group Size: 10-100
Estimated Time: 60 minutes

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Resource Contents
A Night on the Lower East Side

Torah Prep School, Chanukah  5765

“Yankelovich” skit: adapted from a play by Shana Kramer

“When Bubby Was Young” skit: adapted from a skit by Malkie Nissenbaum


Part I:  Opening Act


Grandmother and 2 girls are sitting at a small folding table which has a lace cloth on it and a vase of flowers – very old lady-ish!

TZIPPY:  Bubby, you make the best cookies!  Do you have any more in the kitchen?


Mindy: Tzippy!  I can’t believe you! You ate about 3 dozen already!

(Bubby is laughing)


TZ:       So what?  I just wanted to make sure I ate enough to make an al hamichya – 

M:        I’m sure you ate enough to make 12 al hamichyas!


Bubby: Girls, nothing makes me happier than baking for you.  I made up a pekele for you take home for the little ones with lots more cookies.


M:        Well, I’d better carry the bag, or there will be nothing left!

TZ:       Well, excuse me! I-


Bubby (interrupting quickly):               Tzippy, did I tell you about the photo album I just found in Tante Esther’s basement?  We were getting rid of some old clothes, and this was in the bottom of one of the boxes. (She gets up and carefully takes a package wrapped in cloth from a shelf) It’s quite old, so we have to be careful that the pictures don’t crumble.


(Both girls start talking excitedly at the same time)

TZ:       Wow! They’re so old!


M:        Can you show us all the pictures?  What are they of? Amazing! 


Bubby: (opening the album carefully) These pictures were taken in a studio on the Lower East Side in New York. 


TZ:       Look how serious everyone is!


Bubby: That’s because people used to have to stand still for a long time while the picture was taken – cameras were not so fancy then.


M:        Bubby, they don’t look like New Yorkers – they look like the pictures in “All for the Boss” of the people who lived in Mir in Poland.


Bubby: (laughs)      There’s a reason for that…only a few months before these were taken, the family came over on the boat from Europe.  (she stops and sighs sadly)  Yes…the ones who quickly threw away the old ways of dressing threw away more valuable things as well…our family was very fortunate.


TZ:       Bubby, what do you mean?  What did our family do differently?


Bubby: Hmm…it’s a long story.  Are you comfy?  Would you like some more cookies first?


M. and TZ.:  (impatiently)     Oh, Bubby!  We’re fine!  Please tell us!


Bubby: (dramatically) Ok…picture this:  Life in Czarist Russia is hard…the Jews are persecuted – that means treated horribly --By the end of the 1800’s, many many Jews are escaping and coming to America.   On one such ship, carrying many Jewish immigrants, the (sounds it out) Yank-el-ovitch family is coming to New York City.  Waiting for them in America is the challenge of keeping Shabbos in the land of freedom… 

(As she is talking, the people on the boat show themselves, quietly looking around and pointing. When she stops, they stop moving and stand quietly while the ensemble performs.  The Bubby and girls also stand still.)

Part II:  Ensemble


Part III: Yankelovich Skit  


(On boat in N.Y. Harbor, early 1900’s -- Background: Statue of Liberty, prow of ship upstage left.  Family leans over railing of boat, pointing.)


Shprintze:  Look, look, Genedel—look at the giant green lady!


Genendel:  That’s no lady, Shprintza, that’s America!


Yoilish:  But why is America holding a Havdala candle?


Shprintze: How should I know Yoilish? Maybe it’s always Moitzei Shabbos in America!


Faivel:  (clearly wobbly and seasick) Don’t worry!  The Yankelovitch family didn’t shlep itself all the way from Minsk, on this lovely seasick boat, to come to a land where it is always Moitzei Shabbos! Our Shabbosim in America will be like none you’ve ever seen! (children react happily, Genendel peers over side of ship)


Genendel: Papa, what's that I see in the water?  It looks like a bag with Loshon Koidesh written on it!


Faivel: (to Mama in stage-whisper) Oy! It’s a tallis zeckel; someone on the ship threw away their tallis and tefillin because they think they won’t need it in the Goldene medina…for them, this is a treife medina!

Mama: (shielding the children’s faces) Shprintze, Yoilish!   Don't look, Genendel!  Children—never forget that we are always frumme Yidden  ANYWHERE in the world- even in America!


Yoilish: Of course! It’ll be so easy to be frumme Yidden  in America!---in America we’ll have a whole chicken every Shabbos, brand new clothes for every Yom Tov, . . . no Czar, no Cossacks…


Shprintse: And no Russian winters!  It’s always summer in America!


Genendel:  What’s not to like?- Anybody could be frum in America!


Faivel:  From your mouth to Hashem’s ears, Mine little tzaddaikes…(Offstage voice booming through megaphone: “Ellis Island!  Everyone off the boat!”) Come kinderlach!  We are going off this lovely boat and into America! (Faivel leads his family down gangplank of boat toward the desk of the Immigration Officer.)


(Immigration Officer sitting at desk downstage left busies himself with processing  a group of immigrants while Faivel and Tzirel try to keep their impatient brood in an orderly line.  There is a toddler and an infant in addition to Genendel, Yoilish and Shprintze, played by a real child and a doll. The first people in line are just extras, next in line are the Katzenellanbogans, who are practicing for their turn.)


Immigration Officer:  NEXT!  Stay in line- straight line please ( children keep going in circles) 

(He is quietly miming the stuff with the extras, filling out forms, etc while the Katzenellanbogans are talking.)


Shmerel:  Shme-rel…Shme-rel…SHMER-el…Shmer-EL…


Shaindel:  Shmerel, what are you doing, talking to yourself?  People will look at you like you are a meshuggeneh!


Shmerel:  (looks furtively at the I.O.)  Shhh! I’m prek-ticing!


Shaindel:  Prek-ticing what?  Prek-ticing how to be a meshugeneh?


Shmerel:  Shhh!  (looks at IO to make sure he’s not listening) I’m prek-ticing how to say mine name so the Offi-ci-ee-al Man will write it in his little book.


Shaindel:  Shmerel, what are you worried about?  You don’t have to practice your name!  Just tell him, that’s all.


Shmerel:  Shhh! (looks at official) If you don’t say it exactly right, they put a different name in the little book, and that’s it!  You have to be that name!


Shaindel:  What??  That’s meshuggeh!  (looks around nervously) Nu?  So prek-tice already!!


Shmerel:  Katz-e-nell-en-bogan-stein… Katz-e-nell-en-bogan-stein… Katz-e-nell-en-bogan-stein.. Katz-e-nell-en-bogan-stein


(IO finishes with the first couple and says “Next!”)

Shmerel (not paying attention): Katz-e-nell-en-bogan-stein…


IO: (impatiently) NEXT!


Shaindel: Nu!  (nudges him)


Shmerel (looks up and sees that he is next – nervously straightens out his clothing and rushes forward)

IO:       (in a bored mechanical voice) Welcome to the United States of America.  Name, please?


(wife and child are staring at Shmerel, leaning forward anxiously)


Shmerel:  (looks panicked, mouth wide open) Uh….uh….uh….


Shaindel: (horrified, whispering) Shmerel!  Answer the official!


Shmerel: Uh…ugh…um …


Shmulie: Tatty! Tatty!  Tell him our name! 


Shmerel (gives a klap on his keppel and yells): Shoyn fergessen!  


Shaindel: (whispering loudly to audience) That means “I forgot”. 


IO:       (Leaning forward) Really? “Shawn Ferguson?”  Funny, you don’t look Irish. (Writes down, mumbling “Shawn Ferguson.”)


Shmule:    Oy, Tatty!  Now I’m gonna have to be “Shmulie Ferguson”


Shaindel:  Oy, such a meshugeneh country!  Nu, what can you do? Let’s go, Shmerel, I mean Shawn! (they shrug, grab their bags, and walk away) 


IO: NAME!!!! 


Shprintze: Ta, did you see that?  They gave him a crazy name!  Good thing we have a name that’s so easy to spell!


Faivel: You got that right, Shprintze Yankelovich !Mine- name- is- Faivel Yankelovitch. YAN-KEL-O-VITCH.


IO: Huh? YANKEE doodle what?


Faivel: Yankelovitch, Yan kel o vitch- yankelovitch. Its easy, here say it with me

( moves the officer’s mouth to say it with him) YAN-KEL-OVITCH!  In Russian, “Ovitch” means “son of” and Yankel means Yankel.


IO: Yankel? 


Faivel: Yankel! You know- like in the Bible- Yainkov Avinu- how you say Yainkov in Henglish… Jacob! Look,  in Russian ve say Yankelovitch, in Henglish it means “Son of Jacob”.


IO:       Son of Jacob...Jacob’s son……….(thinking of how to write it in English) Jacobson. (smiling, pleased with himself)


Faivel: (Aghast)Jacobson? (making his peace with it)Nu, Jacobson! 


(Mama looks horrified)

Genendel: It’s not so bad Mama. Not like what happened to our cousins when they immigrated to England.  Remember?  THEIR immigration officer changed Yankelovitch to (affects a fancy British accent) JACOBOVITZ!


IO: (sarcastically)  I’m glad you approve. Do you have any dependants with you?


Faivel: Dependants? Who doesn’t depend on Faivel – Faivel Jacobson? This is mine (kiss) and this is mine (kiss) and etc. and this-- (accidentally kisses Immigration Officer, as children keep milling around)-- is not mine! 


Immigration Officer:  NEXT!


Shprintze: (laughing) Hah hah…you are Yoilish JA-COB-SON!   Hee hee!!


Yoilish: So what, Shprintza?  I bet in school they’re gonna call you SHEE_LAH!


Shprintza: (Whining) Mama, Yoilish is calling me bad names!


Genendel:                (anxiously) You think that’s bad, what do you think they will make out of Genendel?  I bet I’ll end up as Gertrude!!!  OYYYYY!


Faivel: Come, kinderlach, America is waiting for us… the streets are paved with gold!


 (Family at a Shabbos table, stage left. At stage right, frozen in darkness, is a secretary at her desk, and a boss with his feet up at his desk.)


Mama: Good Shabbos kinderlach, everyone ready? (to Genendel) The little ones are sleeping? (Genendel nods.) Good. Papa and Yoilish are almost home from shul.


(Faivel and Yoilish enter stage left, beaming)

Faivel: Ahh, mine beautiful American family!


Children: Gut Shabbos Papa, Gut Shabbos Yoilish! (hugs and kisses)


Mama:  Good Shabbos Papa.


Faivel:  Good Shabbos Mama.


Yoilish: Good Shabbos, Mama.


Mama:  Good Shabbos, Yoilish.


Faivel: Come mein Tzirel, it’s time to bench the kinderlach, Genendel, Shprintze, Yoilish,---(kids crowd around, parents sing the Shabbos song)


CHOIR:  Shabbos Song:    


Faivel:  (long, chazonish) Omain!


Mama: (sighs) Allright, kinderlach, it’s time for Papa to make kiddush--- and time for us to eat our first Shabbos Seuda in our new home!! 


(Kids excited)

(lights go out, come up again)


Faivel: That was delicious- American shabbos food.


Genendel: So tell us Papa, about your adventures this week finding a job in America?


Yoilish: Did you get a job? ---Is it a good job?


Faivel: Kinderlach, I have wonderful news! 


Family: Nu nu??


Faivel All week I tried and tried to get a job, and at the very end of the week…


Family: NU? NU?


Faivel: G-ttzedanken! - I didn’t get a job! 


Shprinze: (to audience) That’s wonderful news? I’d hate to hear bad news from Papa!


Mama: Faivellll….? maybe you could explain to me just HOW  this is wonderful news?


Faivel: Well, better I should  start at the beginning… Today I finally succeeded in getting an appointment to see Mr. Big Shot the Boss-  Hoo Boy! Did he have a fancy-schmansy office….


ACT II: SCENE 5- Office—light comes on stage right,  family at Shabbos table is still visible in semi-darkness, stage left.  Faivel crosses to new scene.


Secretary: (peering snootily over her half glasses, using comically exaggerated Noo Yawk accent) Yes? How can I help you?


Faivel: Good morning! And how are you this lovely American morning?—


Secretary: - As it happens—dreadful! (Sneezes) But I’m afraid that is no concern of yours…Name please?


Faivel; Well,  dat’s a little complicated.  (immitating Secretary) Has it heppens, my name is really Faivel Yankelovitch, but on Ellis Island, POOF, it turned into Faivel Jacobson!


Secretary: (Very sarcastically)Yankelovitch changed to Jacobson---oh dear, what a pity. 

 And your old name must have been so easy to spell, too.

Faivel:  You got that right, Missus.  Y as in Yankelovitch, A as in Ankelovitch, N as in Nkelovitch, K as in kelovitch, E as in Elovitch, L as in Lovitch, O as in Ovitch, V as in Vitch, I as in Itch, T as in Tch, C as in Ch, and H as in H!  (smiles triumphantly) What could be easier?


Secretary: (dripping with sarcasm) I couldn’t possibly imagine!  (Secretary sneezes, sniffles, honks loudly into her handkerchief.)


Faivel: You gotta watch that cold, Missus Secretary Lady—Could turn into pe-nu-monia! 

 (Aside to audience, smiling, gesturing at secretary) Reminds me of old Moskovitch from Odessa.


Secretary:  (coughing and gasping) Mosco-who?


Faivel: Moscovitch!  He got so sick once that his family called in a fancy doctor, a specialist!


Secretary: (to audience) I know I’m going to regret asking this, but---(to Faivel) And then what happened?


Faivel: So this big shot important doctor looks Moscovitch up and down, and says: I’m sorry to tell you Mr. Moskovitch that you are a very sick man. You are sick from a virus.   So Moscovitch says: “Of course I’m sick from Avairis! Vu den, from Mitzvois?!“


(Faivle laughs hysterically at his own joke, repeating the punchline to himself—the secretary is not amused.  His laughter fades as he realizes the joke was not successful with her)


Secretary:  I was right. I do regret asking.


Faivel: All right, so you didn’t think it was funny—but you should drink chicken soup and wrap up in a warm blanket.


Secretary: If you are finished dispensing unsolicited medical advice, the managing director will see you now…Good luck!  (to audience…)  He’ll need it.


(Faivel moves to next desk to meet the Boss)

Faivel:  So Mr. Boss—I’m hearing you are looking  for a top-notch worker!  Faivel Yankel....Jacobson is your man!


Boss: Ah, if it were really that simple, Jacobson.  Being a cutter in a dress factory is serious work.  Have you had experience?


Faivel:  (shocked) Hexperience?  You’re asking if Faivel  Jacobson has hexperience? Just who do you tink tailored dis sneppy outfit I’m wearing?


Boss:  Not bad... but are you a hard worker?  Dedicated?  There’ll  be no slackers in my factory!


Faivel:  Of course not!  In a dress factory there should be Sleckers?  No sleckers, no knickers, no trousers of any kind whatsoever!  Only dresses! (pause, smiles) And I vouldn’t be lazy, neither!


Boss:  (scratching his head in disbelief) Tell me, are you familiar with our product line?


Faivel:  You betcha!  If you ask me, that big green lady with the torch standing in New York Harbor –she couldda  used some fashion advice from you!  Such a shapeless schmatta she wore! It looked like she was wrapped head to toe in a bedsheet!  


Boss:  (laughing)Jacobson, I like you.—You can start tomorrow, bright and early!  (calls out to his secretary)  Miss Morgenstern, bring in an employment contract.  Jacobson here is joining our firm.


Secretary:  You’re giving him a job?  (aside to audience, gesturing toward Boss) Oh Brother!


Faivel:  Mr. Boss, today is Friday.


Boss:  So?


Faivel:  So if today is Friday, tomorrow is Shabbos.


Boss:  So?


Faivel:  So you want I should forget Shabbos and come to work in your factory instead?


Boss: (suddenly much colder) I used to be like you Jacobson. But you’d better wise up, buddy. In this land, us good Americans gave up all that ghetto stuff long ago.  You gotta go along to get along. Didn’t you see our sign? Company policy:

(Spotlight on sign as Boss reads and points)


DON’T BOTHER COMING BACK ON MONDAY!  (Faivel looks appalled)

             Leave all that Shabbos stuff back in Russia, and get yourself a piece of the American Dream.


Faivel: Mr. Boss—let me tell you a little something about Faivel Yankelovitch:

            I love America! Mine children are learning very well Henglish, and are real Yankee Doodles!               I don’t even mind so much that Mr. Ellis Island changed our  name from Yankelovitch to Jacobson.  But what you don’t understand, Mr. Boss, is that comes Friday night, the Shabbos Queen pays us a visit! Mine Tzirel—she also becomes a queen!   And mine Yoilish, Genendel and Shprintze, all the kinderlach—they are a prince and princesses! When we sing zmirois together, I can see the Shabbos lights dencing in their eyes!  Do you think your job could ever give us that?   Never!

             So—goodbye Mr. Boss,  goodbye Missus! Take care of that cold! Goodbye and good luck!

            And GOOD SHABBOS!``

(Boss looks downcast, he and secretary freeze, lights go out, spotlight follows Faivel.)


ACT II, Scene 6

(Faivel returns to family at the Shabbos table stage left.)


Faivel: So you’re  seeing now why it was a wonderful day! I didn’t get the job!


Yoilish: (rolling his eyes questioningly)Uh , sure, Papa…


Shprintza: So what did you do next, Papa?


Genendel: Please, please tell us WHY  this was a wonderful day Papa!


Faivel: Well Genendel, here comes the  wonderful part. Instead of being a worker in Mr. Boss’s dress factory—I am making mein own business!


Mama:  G-t in Himmel!


 Faivel:  I got me a pushcart,  I’m in the shmatta business now, and we’ll go from RAGS to RICHES! And—thanks to Mr. Boss’s not hiring me--- I’LL decide when the business is open and when it is closed!  And one thing I can guarantee, mein yingelach,—the business of F. Jacobson and  Son –dat’s you, Yoilish --will never be open on Shabbos!









Part IV: Transition Act

M:        Whoooooooooaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!  (drawn out)


TZ:       I can’t believe it!  What an amazing story!    Did you read it in one of the “Maggid” books?


M:        Don’t be silly – that was totally a “Visions of Greatness” story.


BUBBY: Well, actually…it’s not from Visions of Greatness –


TZ:       (interrupts) Ha!  I knew it!  A “Maggid” story!  Told you so, Miriam!


M:        Do you have any other stories for us, Bubby?


BUBBY:  (Thinks) Look at this picture, girls…


TZ:       Hey…who’s the lady in the babushka standing next to that big van?


BUBBY:  That’s my mother – and do you see the little girl sitting on the steps?  That’s me!


M:        Oh Bubby!  You were so cute!  You look just like me!


TZ:       What was that funny looking van for?  Your mother is smiling at it like it’s a gallon of chocolate ice cream!


BUBBY:  Oh, it was much more important than ice cream – that was called the “tender” – it was the little schoolbus that picked up all of the yiddische kinderlach to bring them to cheder.  Before we got that van, most of the families didn’t bother to send their children to cheder – it was too hard for them to get there after a long day at public school.

M:        All the children went to public school?  Why didn’t they go to Bais Yaakovs and teshivos?


BUBBY:  Oh, in those days we weren’t as lucky as you are now, with such beautiful wonderful schools like Torah Prep.  We had to go to public school, and learn about Torah and mitzvos afterwards.  But until we got the little schoolbus, most kinderlach never made it over to the afternoon cheder.  My mother was the one who thought of getting the tender, and organized all the kids to raise the money!  Was that a month!!!  Oy!  So funny!


TZ:       Kids raised enough money to buy a bus?  Gosh!


M:        I can’t imagine wanting to go to school so badly that I’d want to help buy a schoolbus! (Bubby looks at her) Oh, just kidding Bubby!   Tell us what happened?  Why was it so funny?  Please tell us!


BUBBY:  Okay, maidelach.  It was like I said…after school the boys would just play stickball, and the girls would jump rope and play potsy on the stoops.  Rabbi and Rebbetzin Feinberg would teach whichever kids would show up at the shul, but it was so hard to walk there, especially in the winter when it was cold and snowy…so my mother had an idea…


(while she is saying the last lines, kids come out playing stickball and jumping rope.)


Part V: “When Bubby was Young” Skit

Mama: Now, Faiga! Don’t forget to take your three scarves and four sweaters to walk to the shul for your lessons with the Rebbetzin! You don’t want to freeze on the way!


Papa: Zelda, I think it’s okay. She doesn’t walk to school anyway; she takes the trolley, with cousin Molly. I really wouldn’t press the issue.


Mama: Hyman, please! I know what I’m talking about.


Faiga: Oh Mama, do I have to wear them? Please say no, Mama!


Mama: Not another word! My decision is final! Take your coat, scarves, and sweaters, and off you go!


Faiga: Yes, Mama


(play Here Comes the Trolley song form When Zaidy was Young)


Mama:  Oh, Hyman, why should the maidelach and yingelach have to shlep so far in the freezing cold to get to cheder?  The public school sends a nice warm tender for them – I wish it would drive them to cheder too.


Papa:  Bus, Zelda…it’s not a tender, it’s a bus.  Don’t be ridiculous, Zelda…the public school bus isn’t gonna shlep ‘em to the cheder!  It belongs to the city, and the public schools are part of the city.


Mama:  Well, what are we, chopped liver?  We also are part of the city!


Papa (sighing): Zelda, what are you gonna do, buy a bus?


Mama:  That’s IT!  You’re a genius!!!


Papa:  (looks around frantically) What’s it?  Where’s it?  Who’s it? Whattarya talkin’ about?


Mama:  I always knew you had a yiddische kup!  I’m gonna make a snaffle!


Papa:  A snaffle?  What’s a snaffle?


Mama:  A snaffle!  Where you sell the little tickets and the one who buys the good ticket gets a big prize!


Papa:  Oh…you mean a raffle!


Mama:  That’s what I said!  A snaffle so we can buy a tender!


Papa:  Oy yoy yoy…I have a feeling that life around here is going to get very interesting!


 (Girls drop their toys and dolls and jumpropes and gather around her)

Mama: Girls, we’re having a snaffle to get you a tender!


Papa (yells from the doorway): Not snaffle…raffle!  And it’s not a tender, it’s a bus!!


Mama:  That’s right!  And we have a lot of work to do!  (starts talking animatedly in pantomime to the girls, who are looking at each other and jumping with excitement)


Next scene:  Signs all around that say Bus Raffle – Just $1  -- It’s a mitzvah!


Faiga:   Did you hear?  Whoever sells the most raffles gets a whole case of seltzer from Sidney the Seltzer man…delivered to her house!!


Hensha: Oh…I hope I sell the most!


Elky: My father will for sure give $10.00! I just know he will. And my Aunt Gretchen will also give me a lot. I’m so excited! How about you, Faiga?


Faiga: Well, Papa just got fired from his job, because he won’t work on Shabbos, (play I’m not Working on Shabbos) so I can’t ask him for anything. And Uncle Isadore-


Hensha: Your-your uncle is a door?

Faiga: No, no! That’s his name. His REAL name is Yisroel Yehuda Dov Ben Chaim Tzvi Ben Gedalya Nosson Moshe HaKohen, but we call him Uncle Isadore for short. I don’t think Mama will let me ask him or any money.


Hensha: My Cousin Lemel won’t either have any money to give to me; he used all of his saving to help pay for his Bar Mitzvah last year. What should I do?


(They all walks down the sidewalk thoughtfully, murmuring; what should I do? Who will give me money, so I can win the prize? Comes into house)


Faiga: I’m home, everybody! Hey Heshy! Heshyyy!


Heshy: What is it, Faiga?


Faiga: I’ve been trying to get your attention for the past 5 minutes! Where have you been?


Heshy: Sorry, Faiga. I was just wondering if we’d have seltzer for Shabbos this week, now that Papa just lost his job…


Faiga: That’s exactly what I want to ask you about! If I raise sell the most raffle tickets for the bus Mama wants to buy, I’ll win 3 cases of seltzer! But the problem is, who can I ask for the money?


(Heshy thinks a minute. Then smiles and jumps up.)
Heshy: I got it! I got it! Let’s ask the mayor! You know, my friend! The one with the funny name! Mayor Figallelli La Garden Hose!


Faiga: Yeah! He’s for sure rich! He’ll buy a hundred million tickets! So how do I reach him?


Heshy: Let’s send him an invitation to come for a Shabbos meal! Remember how he came to Cousin Lemel’s Bar Mitzvah? I’m sure he’ll want to come to our house!


(Run off stage together)


Scene 4

(Erev Shabbos)


Mama: Let’s go Heshy. There’s lots to do before Shabbos! You sweep the floor, while I go shopping for a fish with Faiga and Manny!


Heshy: (whispers to Faiga) Make sure it’s a good one! Remember, the mayor is coming for Shabbos this week!


(On the way to Fish Market, calls to Mrs. Pitkin, sitting in her “apartment”.)

Mama: Mrs. Pitkin! Yoo-hoo, Mrs. Pitkin! Are you home?


Mrs. Pitkin: I’m not home, Mrs. Himmelstien!


Mama: You can’t fool me, Mrs. Pitkin. I can see the lights on in your apartment, so I know you’re home! How nice to see you!


Mrs. Pitkin: It’s really none of my business, but what was your Heshy doing in the post office this week? Maybe you’re making another bar mitzvah that Mayor Laguardia is invited to?   And surely my invitation is in the mail as well? Hmm?


(Faiga claps hand over head)

Mama: Post office? What post office? Heshy didn’t go to any post office this week! You must have been seeing things, Mrs. Pitkin. I must run, Mrs. Pitkin. Antonio will run out of all his inexpensive fish if I don’t get there soon! I’ll speak to you another time.


DANCE:  Market Dance


(Get to Fish Store)

Fish man: Hay, Mrs. Himmelstein! Come a looka at thisa fish, I have here. Have you ever seen such a thinga in your whola life?


Mama: That one doesn’t look too healthy to me, Antonio. I think I’ll take another one.


Fish man: Whatever you say, Mrs. Himmelstein.


Manny: But see that fish? (points) He looked at me, Mama!


Faiga: Yeah, Mama! Let’s get that one! He told me he wants us to get him!


Mama: And since when do I take orders from a fish? I’ll take the one I already chose. Thank you, Antonio. Come on, children. Let’s go!


Manny:  Mama, mama look over there!  It’s the pickle man!


Pickle Man:  Pickles!  Such delicious and juicy pickles they’ll make your mouth pucker for a week!


Mama: Oy, Manny!  You and your pickles!  You’re gonna turn into a pickle!  (thinks)  Ok…but just a small one, Manny.


(they go over to the pickle man)


Mama:  (Whispers to Manny and faiga) Just watch how I get a bargain!  You have to know how to talk to these people. (to the Pickle man, out loud:) Wow!  Look at this GREAT BIG pickle!  How much is such a nice big juicy pickle like this one? (she picks up a huge pickle – you can use a cucumber)


Pickle man:  That big pickle, Mrs. Himmelstein?  That big pickle is one nickel!


Mama:  Oy!  No wonder!  Such a big pickle, of course it’s so expensive. (looks around and fishes out a smaller pickle, and says in a baby talk cutesy voice)  Ahh…now look at this teeny, zeesa little pickle-ah…how much is this little pickle-ah?


Piuckel man:  (In the same baby cutesy voice)  That little pickelah?  Why, that little pickelah is only a little nickelah! (Manny and Faiga look at each other and giggle behind their hands)

Mama: Hmmph!  (Grabs the big pickle and hands him a nickel. She gives the pickle to Manny. They walk away)



Scene 5

(Everyone is sitting around table)


Mama: Okay, Hyman. Everyone is here. You can make Havdalah now!


Papa: Wait, Zelda! Someone is knocking at our door! Manny, would you go get it?


(Heshy and Faiga exchange glances as Manny runs to door)

Mayor: (coming in) Hello there, young man! How are you? My name is-


Manny: What’s going on here? Motzai Shabbos company that I didn’t know about? Who are you?


Mayor: (Clears throat importantly)  How are you? My name is Mr. Fiorelli Laguardia. I am the official Mayor of the City of New York. And I-


(Manny dashes off, not waiting to hear rest)

Manny: (comes running in, breathless) Papa! Mama! You won’t believe it! It’s the mayor and his wife at the door!


Mama: That’s ridiculous! Why would the Mayor want to come to our house?


Heshy: We invited him to come over for Melave Malka, Mama!


Mama: Oh, really? And since when do we invite mayors to our melave malkas? And since when do mayors come to our house? (gets up to investigate, bumps into Mayor’s wife, who comes in from other side with mayor)

Mrs. LaGuardia: (extends hands) Oh, excuse me! You must be Mrs. Himmelstein. Nice to meet you! I’m Clara LaGuardia. I’ve heard so much about your wonderful family from my husband.


Mama: (shakes hand, looks astonished) Ahh. Did you?


Mayor: I got your invitation to come for your Meel-vah mel-kum. My wife and I were so touched by the gracious invitation that we decided to take you up on it. May we?


(Papa enters-mayor extends hand)

Papa: (from overhearing mama) What nice company! Of course, come on in!


Mrs. L: (walks around the house. Inspecting here and there) What a marvelous little home you have! So warm and cozy! Er, actually, it’s a bit cold in here. Don’t you have a radiator in the house?


Manny: Of course we have a radiator! It just doesn’t give any steam! You see, our father lost his job –


Mama: MANNY!!!!

Mrs L: Oh, I understand. Not to worry. (wraps arms around herself to keep warm)


(Heshy and Faiga bring in chairs; mayor and wife sit down. Mama brings in fish)

Mrs. L: Mmm! This fish is delicious! I’ve never tasted anything like it in all my life!


Mama: Thank you. It’s called gefilte fish, and we make it special for our Shabbos. Here, try some of the chrain to go with it.


Mrs L: Krain? Sounds good. (puts heaping portion on fish, takes a mouthful) Help, help! Fire, fire! Help, help!


Mayor: Oh, Clara, do take a drink! That must have been too strong for your delicate taste buds.


Manny:  I’ll save you!  (Pours water into her mouth, gets it all over her)

Mrs. L: (Sputters) Ah!  Ah!  Help!  I’m drowning!


Papa:  MANNY!


Mrs L: ER, never mind, little boy.  I’m fine. I’m sorry about that. (Everyone quiet a minute, Mrs L is embarrassed, so tries to find something to say) You know, Mrs. Himmelstein, you have such a lovely family. It’s not so often when you see children behaving with such good manners.


Mama: Why, thank you!


Faiga: Yeah, and we’re also involved in good causes too, you know. For example my friends are running a raffle –


Mama: FAIGA !


Faiga: I’m sorry Mama.


Mayor: What were you saying, dear? About your raffle? You know I’m always interested in these types of things.


Faiga: (embarrassed, whispers) Um, we are hoping to sell enough tickets to buy a bus to take us to our Hebrew studies after school every day.


Mrs L: Why that’s wonderful! Children who have such enthusiasm for homework! I might want to donate to such a worthy cause, the way my esteemed husband donated 5 whole cents to your brother on the way to his Yeshiva.


Faiga: (brightens up) Wow!  You can send a donation in the mail…we’ll tell the mailman to keep an eye out for a very important letter!


Mrs. L: Isn’t that sweet!  You little darling!  (gives her a fake “air kiss” goodbye) Well, ta ta everyone…this was a most lovely Mamba Meckel.


Mayor: Dear, that’s “Muckle Manka”!


Mrs. L: Sorry, I meant to say Mumbo Jumbo…  Ta ta!  (they breeze out)



Scene 7

(Sidney the Seltzer man comes along pulling his seltzer cart – he is calling “Sydney’s Seltzers…the refreshing shpritz


Heshy:  Hi, Mr. Seltzer man…hows business today?


Sydney:  Business is always the same, Heshy my boy…you sell exactly as many bottles of seltzer as the aibishter decides you should sell.  Hows the raffle coming along?  I put away 3 cases of my very best for you kinderlach!  (He keeps walking calling “Sydney’s seltzers..etc)


Heshy: (Faiga walks up) I just saw Sydney the seltzer man – he asked about the raffle.


Faiga: Oy…who can I sell more raffle tickets to?  It’s been a whole week and I haven’t heard from the mayor’s wife…I was so sure she was gonna buy a hundred tickets!


Heshy:  Hey…here comes the mailman now…I hope he doesn’t hock us a Chinook with his silly poems all day!


Mailman: Well, well well…it’s Mentchy the Rhyming mailman,

                        And I’m here with a letter

                        I love to make poems

                        So what could be better?


Manny: Faiga! You got a real letter! Addressed to you!


Mailman:          (still holding the letter even though Faiga is reaching for it)

                        No matter what the weather is

                        I shlep the mail around

                        I never lose the letters

                        Or drop them on the ground…


Faiga: Mr Mentchy!  PLEASE give me my letter!!!!!!


Mailman:          (insulted) Excuse me!  I just wanted to finish my rhyme

                                    It didn’t take any extra time!

Faiga:   Ooh!  Thank you!  (grabs letter) Let me see! Oh, it’s from the Mayor and his wife! I knew she would send me money! I bet it’ll be enough for me to win the prize, and some of my friends too! I’m so excited! Here, I’ll read I out loud for all of you. (Reading)


Dear Faiga Himmelstein,

On behalf of myself and my husband, we want to thank you for the splendid Muddy Makkos we had at your house. The ‘filtered’ fish especially was delicious. My husband curious-does filtered water actually make such a difference, so as to make the fish taste so good? Do let us know, please! In a different vein, I want to compliment you on your wonderful home. I was very impressed with how your family get by with so few materialistic things. It showed me how there still are people around nowadays who enjoy living their lives in moderation. As such I felt it would be a shame to deviate from such a beautiful lifestyle by splurging on a new bus, when the children could be learning such strength of character by walking in the snow. And yet, I did promise to contribute something. I’m sure you will be pleased to find 18 cents enclosed, for you to use for a good cause.

            Yours truly,

            Mrs. Clara LaGuardia


Scene 8

(Bubby , Tzippy and Mindy at table again)


Bubby: And that’s the story, my dear.


Mindy: But what about the bus??  Did anyone sell any raffle tickets?


Bubby: Of course we got the bus…here it is in the picture, next to mama.


Tzippy: So who sold the most tickets?  Who got the cases of seltzer?


Bubby:  You wouldn’t believe it!  When we all lined up to announce how many tickets we sold, Hensha had sold 7, I had only sold 14, Henny had sold 11 and Elky only 2.  We thought for sure there would be no bus.  And then guess who pulls out a big bag of dollar bills?  Manny!!!  He had gone around with the pickle man and sold 1,437 tickets!  We got the bus AND the seltzer! And the bank lady got a big surprise when she had to count out over a thousand dollars that smelled like pickles!


Tzippy: Oh, you must have been so disappointed, bubby! You really pinned your hopes on that lady, didn’t you?


Bubby: I did, but it taught me a very important lesson, that you can’t put your hopes in anyone but Hashem. And Hashem wanted us to have the bus, but the Mayor’s wife was not supposed to be the shaliach.


M: That was great! But you never told us where you got the first story from…  How do we find out if Feivel makes it as a businessman in America… How do we find out if they managed to always keep Shabbos?


Bubby: All you have to do is look in the mirror, zeeskeit.


Tz: Huh??? (thinks) Oh!!!


Mindy: What???


TZ: Mindy, you don’t get it do you?


M: Get what?


Tz: Mindy, who was Mommy’s Zaideh—didn’t she call him  Zaideh Yoilish?


M: So?


Tz: Mindy!  WHAT—IS – BUBBY’S – LAST – NAME???


M: (slowly coming to realize the truth) That’s easy! …Jacobson….…and her father was …Reb Yoilish Jacobson…


Tz: …and her aunt, the one Mommy was named after, was called Tante Genendel…


M:  This is us!  This is our family!  We are the story!


Bubby:  That’s right, girls…These are our grandparents that came to this Goldena Medina. They resisted the temptations luring them on every street corner, to live a life filled with Torah and Mitzvos. It was because of them that our family did not get lost in the Treifa Medina of America. 


TZ:       Wow!  I never realized how lucky we are to have everything come so easy to us.


M:  Yeah, we’re really spoiled.  We have Torah Prep and B’nos and slurpees and heated carpools…we don’t have to work hard at anything. (says this kind of sadly)


Bubby:     Mindele…don’t you see?  That’s not the message your alter bubbies and zaidy’s wanted to send you…each dor has their own nisyonos, tests.  It’s up to us to gain strength from our ancestors to pass our own tests.  Don’t you ever have a nisayon?


M:        Yes, of course.  It’s hard to stop talking loshon hora, to be nice to people all the time, to help in the house as much as I should…I guess I have to be moser nefesh, too!


TZ:       Don’t worry. Bubby…we’ll make sure that is’s not always Motzai Shabbos in America...

(Bubby and girls hug each other and …)







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