Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Moshe Aryeh Friedman Goes to Seminary: Part 2


Malki Lowenstein could not have been more different from Tamar Moshashvili, and it was Malki upon whom both Rebbetzin Goldman and Tamar herself relied to keep Tamar out of trouble.

"Tamar, I am going to call Malki, she's wasting her time in class today anyway because she knows more about the parsha than Mrs. Lichtman, and I don't understand why I haven't been to her vort yet. Meanwhile, we have to do something about that phone, don't we. Maybe my son-in-law Yankel will give you something for it. He'll be here in a minute!"

For Tamar, this seemed like the Game Over message on one of the games she had played on her new phone. She did not have to wait long for Yankel to arrive.

"So, what is this I saw in the basement, I heard noise, and I saw Friedman the Freak down there! So I start to sing: "Moishe Aryeye Friedman, chomor di, eisel di, menivel di. Vus a shygetz tit do in Antverp...." His mother-in-law immediately recognized the Belzer nigun "Omor Reb Akiva, ashreicheim Yisroel..ma mikveh metaher.."

"YANKEL! That is a hylige niggin, where do you get such words!"

"Shvigger, where did you get Friedman? This is a GIRLS' seminary, isn't it - and where did he get that ugly dress?"

"The same place Miss Moshashvili got this phone here, I guess - from a store window."

Yankel, a large and burly, but gentle, man, brandished an owner's manual and bellowed: "Serial number 3685952. Manufactured 10 November 2012. Missing since motzoei shabbos parshas Vayero when my window somehow broke, right?"

Tamar Moshashvili shook as she spurted out: "Mister, you can have it back. The adapter is at home. 5 Vielge, third floor. The door is open. My mother drinks and sleeps all the time so just go in and do what you want."

"Miss, I don't turn Jews in to the police, but I had one more day before I had to make an insurance claim, so you are very lucky. Now, you don't look like a phone thief to me, so maybe you want to tell me who got you this phone? I wish it were Friedman because him I'm allowed to moiser, or maybe I could just break his beitzim with a nutcracker, but Friedman didn't rob my store because he wouldn't know which way to swing a hammer.."

"YANKEL! With a nutcracker you break eggs? There are girls around here! You want they should get confused when they cook for their husbands?" his mother-in-law scolded.

"Friedman's eggs I break with a nutcracker. Burich Hashem, you taught Rochele well and she knows how to break a chicken's egg, for what I need to know how to do it? I open a refrigerator in my store, I show it to the baleboste, ten percent off I give her, she buys, I take home the gelt. At home for what I should open a refrigerator?"

Rebbetzin Goldman was about to berate her son-in-law again for his inappropriate display of humor in her seminary, but Malki Lowenstein showed up in the middle of the chaos. She saw the burly electronics dealer confronting Tamar, and immediately asked: "Are you in trouble, Tami? We'll work it out."

Malki was actually quite petite, smaller even than Moshe Aryeh Friedman, but she was hardly intimidated by Reb Yankel's bulky form. After all, she was a daughter of one of the finest families in Antwerp, and her married sisters, all of whom resembled her, bought plenty of appliances from his store.

Reb Yankel turned around, and asked her: "Your name I don't know, but I think you have a sister Mrs. Berkowitz, maybe another one let me think..her husband is Berel Cohen, your father wholesales Swiss watches, and your brother, he likes computers and he wants to learn to play keyboard..."

"Yes, that is us, and thank you for always helping by giving us prizes for our chesed drives. Did someone call Hatzoloh?" She knew Reb Yankel was a Hatzoloh volunteer from the two-way radio he carried.

"No, but someone has a phone she wants to give back to me. And there is a freak from Vienna downstairs!"

"A freak from Vienna? My father says that there is a creature from Vienna that swims in the sewers here, and if my little brother doesn't behave, he'll feed him to the Viennese sewer monster. So he's for real?"

"This one can't eat your brother, and my shvigger she'll kill me if I said what he does eat in front of you and your friend. He looks like he came from the sewer, that's for sure. A house coat he wears, so ugly I'd be embarrassed even if my 95-year-old baabe who can hardly see anymore wears a thing like that! Now, forget Friedman and back to the phone. Your friend here says she got a 900-Euro phone from my store as a gift, but someone forgot to pay for it. I'm missing six more, not so good like this, but worth 400 Euro each."

"Rebbetzin Goldman, what is going on here? Friedman? Which Friedman? Downstairs?"

"Malki, yes, a man named Friedman entered this building by mistake and is resting downstairs with Mr. Igor the new janitor. He'll be gone soon. Tamar, please tell my son-in-law how he can get his six phones back and his window fixed."

"Tamar," Malki pleaded, "please tell Reb Yankel everything. I will get you money from my father if you have to pay him back, but please, my mother wants you to stay with us at least every Shabbos. She really doesn't mind. We have two extra rooms and everything you need.."

"Mr. Goldman!" "No, your principal is my wife's mother, not mine, my name is Mr. Feldstein." "My, my brother stole your phones. But he's not working alone. He probably doesn't have the phones anymore. This phone he gave me, I really don't even know where your store is and I try to make a better life for myself so I don't do nothing with my brother and his friends. I didn't steal it, but I believe you that it's yours. If you beat up Friedman, my brother and his friends will respect you and pay you back. Otherwise, I love Malki but I can't take money to pay you for what I didn't do!"

"Tamar is your name, yes? I am not street trash. I don't beat anyone up, not even Friedman. And I know you did not do it, even though you knew that phone wasn't paid for. Just give me back what you have, and that's it. Please come by my store if you need help; I know everyone in town. But I have to go to the police tomorrow, or I don't get insurance. Times are hard, and I can't lose money right now. If your brother drops off the phones or the money tomorrow before I guess about five when the day police shift ends, I won't say a word, and I won't even charge for the window unless he tries anything again. Friedman is another story. He'll get his own tuches in jail without my having to go there with him for beating up a sewer rat."

And who entered but Moshe Aryeh Friedman, minus his shpitzel but still dressed in a house coat, that was now ripped along the side as he had snagged it on a shelf peg in the basement.

"So these are two from my classmates? And who is this?" He turned to Reb Yankel: "Mister, shygetz aross, this is a girl's seminary. I'm Masha Esther Friedman, you are Tamar, and you are?" Friedman turned to Malki with a moronic grin on his face.

"I am Malka, my last name you don't need to know, and you are not Masha Esther Friedman. You are Moshe Aryeh Friedman, and yes, I heard your sons go to school with my two youngest sisters."

"MALKI! You've gone meshigge now too? What are you talking about? Your sisters have no boys in their school!"

Malki did not have to say a word. Reb Yankel pulled out a newspaper and handed it to his shvigger: "Shvigger, I know you don't read the papers, but this is one week you should. Moshe Aryeh Friedman has enrolled his sons in Bnos Yerushalayim, thanks to the courts and his menivel ideas. I should maybe sell his wife a washing machine on credit so she can run him through it the way his mother did when he was a baby.."

"Yankel, you have what paper there? From last Peerim? Hold on, I am getting my glasses so I can read this!"

"It's Sunday's Flemish paper. You know I advertise in there every week, so I get a copy in the store. Read it sitting down, Shvigger! I don't want you to fall or faint when you read it. It is true."

She quickly read and understood the article: "That does NOT mean that MISTER Friedman can register here though. This is a private school. Yankel, maybe you want to take him to the beis mishegoyim, or the zoo?"

Tamar had the last word: "There's no rat cage in Antwerp Zoo. I can flush his.."

"Tamar, STOP RIGHT NOW and please listen to your friend. You need to spend time in a real Yiddishe hyme. Go home with her tonight. You're a nice girl and you need to live like one so you can learn to act and talk like one. You know where she lives, you can just walk there after the last class. Friedman needs to spend time somewhere far, far away, because he is not going to set foot in a classroom here!"

Little Friedman piped up: "Tomor'l, shyne mydel, why your brother so angry at me? I can to help him so much, he wants to make big money in Gaza, in Iran...."

Rebbetzin Goldman nearly screamed: "Tamar and Malki, go back to parsha class. No need for you to hear such shtissim. Yankel, can you take Friedman somewhere in your car?

"Shvigger, Friedman might as well be in cherem. I can't be seen with him. I didn't drive here anyway, my car is in the shop and you know I don't like to ride a bicycle, so I took a taxi. Here's 60 Euro. I am calling a cab to take him out of town."

 ----to be continued tomorrow---

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