As a girl in, Fruma Ya’el fell in love with an idealistic Jewish doctor from the United States.
“I was your age when a doctor came to visit Svechka—Dr. Rosenthal—all the way from New York, America,” she tells Havah. “He claimed it was his mission to recruit Jews to become doctors so we wouldn’t always be at the mercy of the Goyim. He stayed for two years and filled my head full of knowledge and dreams…”
Recognizing Fruma Ya’el’s aptitude for medicine, Charles urged her to return to New York with him to study medicine and marry him. When tragedy struck she laid her aspirations to rest. Obeying her father’s wishes, she married Herschel. Dejected and heartbroken, Charles left Svechka.
Setting down the tattered diaper she used as a polishing cloth, Fruma Ya’el reached into a concealed pocket in the wooden box’s lining and pulled out an old tintype. Lean, with black hair, bushy moustache and olive skin, to this day, Charles’ image held the power to quench her arid heart’s thirst if only for the briefest moment. The memory of his lips pressed hard against hers still lingered in her mind like sweet cream and honey.
“Charles. I can’t.”
“You’d rather rot in ignorance because of a narrow minded old man and a piece of paper than come with me?”
“I’m all my father has left.”
Charles’ dark eyes filled. He grasped her face with both hands. “I beg of you, Ya’el. Think. There are schools cropping up all over America for women. You’ll be a brilliant doctor, a medical pioneer.”
“What about Papa’s honor?”
“Damn ‘Papa’s honor’!”
~~Taken from Please Say Kaddish for Me
Published by Argus Publishing
Represented by Loiacono Literary Agency
Watch for the third in Havah’s Series!