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Book Notes: They docked at Newcastle - and wound up in Gateshead, Millie Donbrow

Bernard A. Fisher

<plain_text><page sequence="1">GATESHEAD MEMORIES They Docked at Newcastle?and wound up in Gateshead. By Millie Donbrow. Rubin Mass, Jerusalem. They Docked at Newcastle is an authentic and heartwarming account of the establishment and growth of the Gateshead community, with its joys and sorrows, its squabbles and its sense of mission. For those who knew Corbett Street and Derwentwater Road, Saltwell Park and the early Kehilla, it conjures up sentimental memories of days gone by, alto? gether delightful and amusing. But it is per? force an incomplete picture; Millie Freed, as a girl, could know nothing of the cheder classes, of teachers like Gamzu and Dov Drayan (of blessed memory), the pranks of the talmidim or the 'mysterious' Men's Shool with its splutter? ing candles and wooden omed. Who will ever forget Mr. Herman ('the wein machet) with his recitative of Adon Olam on Simchat Torah, complete with congregational refrain of the last syllable of each line, the dervish-like dance he performed which ended only when the floor collapsed, or the explosion occasioned whenever the clocks were changed (Neue ?eit oder Alte ^eit? for the next day's activities). To our generation the Committee Room, where we first learned and in which the affairs of the community were decided [Heint ba nacht?or morgen in die frie?zoll sein &amp; committee meeting ?for die neue shool?or some other purpose), the Gut where we went, boys and girls together, to Tashlich, and the Weibishe Shool are all unforgettable memories. And the Yiddish is as authentic and as redolent of that community as the atmosphere it conjures up, in a tiny kingdom where English was a foreign tongue. . . But it was not all the cosy and warm com? munity that Millie Donbrow pictures. Her upbringing took little account of the very real penury which was prevalent in a section of the community, for whom such expressions as 'we always kept a maid' and descriptions of gargantuan meals and houses with large gardens and summer-houses would have been meaningless. She sees life through Trollope-like, middle-class eyes, forgetting or unaware of the poverty of many of her co-religionists. But the picture she draws of the community as she apparently knew it is a fascinating re-creation of those early days, and one that brought much pleasure and not a few gurgles of laughter to this reader. It is to be hoped that in any future edition better proof-reading will eradicate such errors as mir haben and mir darf en (for wir), Bimach for Bimah, and Temen for yenem, as well as the minor typographical errors which disfigure the text. Bernard A. Fisher</page></plain_text>

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