“A lively girl is interesting in all sorts of ways”

1939. Letter from Beba's Parents

Letter sent from Shimon Epstein and his wife Malke in Vilna, Poland, to his brother Lasar Epstein in New York on August 1, 1939. Shimon has just come back to town from his temporary job at the Tsentraler eltern komitet — Central Parents Committee (TSEK) summer camp. There are about 350 children from “100% pauper families,” and the work is very difficult. From China (where Lasar was and his son, Israel, still lives), the TSEK received a $25 donation. The family mocked the amount, but it was accompanied by a warm letter that explained that living conditions there were difficult, and therefore only this modest sum was possible this year. But, they promised to do better next year. Shimon thanks Lasar for taking an interest in his daughter Esye, and her desire to go to the Medem Sanatorium. Malke adds to the letter: there has apparently been a misunderstanding about Esye and the Sanatorium. She doesn’t need Lasar’s assistance because a stipend from revered Bundist leader Virgili-Kahan has already set her up there. It’s very interesting that Esye wrote to Lasar asking for help. She kept it a secret from them. Here at home, they joke that she managed to stir up even America about her project. “A lively girl is interesting in all sorts of ways. No doubt they’re finding that out right now even at the Sanatorium.”

Lasar’s sister Rivke is at the “women’s camp,” as it’s called. “My crowd has been sent to all corners of the work,” Malke writes. But she herself is stuck in the city, and it’s a little bit boring.