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Faygala, Yiddish Refugee

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The tall, dreaded Cossack soldiers roaming around were feared by all in Faygala’s Jewish village. They had come before and stolen and destroyed almost everything. They could do it again at any time.

The Czar’s officers, the Bolsheviks, also raided several times to seize men for the army. By 1904 most men had fled to America. Faygala’s father was one of them. It had been so long that Faygala (which means “Little Bird”)  almost didn’t remember what he looked like. Her family was planning to join him in the “golden country” as soon as he sent enough money for ship and train tickets and for Ellis Island fees and proof of support.

But suddenly due to personal danger from the Cossacks, Faygala, age 17, was forced to make the daunting journey alone with people she barely knew. Departing was extremely painful for her, especially leaving a certain young man behind. The thought of never seeing him again tore at her heart.

Along the way she faced many difficulties causing her to fear she would never reach her dear father.

This 102 page novelette is written by Faygala’s late daughter-in-law as Faygala (Fannie) told it over the years.  It draws the reader into Faygala's poverty stricken, Orthodox Jewish life in Russia; introduces her Yiddish vocabulary; and instills the amazement she felt upon seeing all the wonders of the new “modern” country.


 Artwork and images inside for your reading pleasure!


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After you have read the book, you might be interested in seeing more images of Ellis Island.


Faygala is a Yiddish word that means "little bird." "Bird" is Faygel."  Today it has another distasteful connotation. This is another formerly beautiful word that has been contaminated by certain people. For example, they have contaminated the formerly wonderful little word that rhymes with "day" that was happily used in lots of poetry when it was still considered a pure, delightful word.  Are we going to let them continue to steal these beautiful words from us? How about we fight back and bring into use again the beauty of these stolen words. (Even the Hebrew language has been affected.  A Hebrew word pronounced "ge'ey" means "proud," thus their use of "pride"? They have marched in Jerusalem! They have the whole huge world, why the Holy City?!!)

To prove to you that Faygala was an innocent, beautiful word, here is an old folk song called Fegele (another spelling for the same word) "little bird."

The lady starts singing at minute 0:29


Here is a Yiddish lullaby using the word "faygala."  They spell it "feygele."






Product Code: YIDDISH

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