Primary Language: English
Other language(s): Russian
Performance Date: 4-3-18
What it is: Abraham the barrel maker
“At the turn of the century, my whole family left Russia (18th century I’m guessing). They were Jewish during the anti-Semitic time in Minsk. My great grandfather was a barrel maker with a long beard. One day a Russian Cossack, a guy that’s a ‘warrior’, says an anti-semitic slur and pulls my grandfather’s beard. My great great great grandpa replies “thanks for putting me in my place”… basically and reaches out his hand to shake (thank him for telling him he’s a Jewish person) the Cossack broke his hand by shaking it so hard.”
Why they know it: This is a legend that Whitney has been told since she was a child.
When is it said: This is the type of legend that is told when exchanging family stories or legends. There isn’t a philosophical or deeper hidden message.
Where did it come from: Her family after the fled Russia
Why it’s said: She isn’t entirely sure why it’s said just that she has heard it several times.
How they know it and what it means: She isn’t quite sure if it’s true or not.
Thoughts: Every family has that legend where someone is cursed or goes off and comes back beaten. Typically, these vents happened long ago and have been embellished or over exaggerated. While we may never know if the legend above, or any one like it, is true or not, they provide good table sharing moments and amusement for all that witness it. One may take the legend above and interpret it to be a warning, don’t give so much of yourself so willingly, and others may interpret as merely a way to show how horrible anti-Semitism was (and sadly still can be). Regardless, there is a special impact the legend has on those that can understand having to flee due to outside pressures and the Abraham’s family that succeeded him and keep his memory alive.