One of America’s greatest pleasures, aside from watching the Carolina Panthers kick some  butt, is eating and drinking!  C’mon, you know it.  Sharing food, sipping wine or chugging beer.  Yum-yum and belch.

We did the same thing while at Alderson Federal Prison Camp, but our version of the bar were beaten and scratched aluminum picnic tables, sharing a book, (instead of a juicy burger) while sipping coffee, (instead of a martini)  Improvising was a daily event and surprisingly we did find ways to laugh. (don’t let anyone steal your bliss)

My mother was a storyteller and entertainer who could fire jokes off one by one.  She knew 100’s of jokes and would sometimes call me up and say, “Holly, number 37 and we would crack up”. One of her favorite books for material was Leo Rosten’s, Joys of Yiddish.

I thought all Jew’s had heard of the book, but when I discovered my friend Ella hadn’t, I begged her to ask her hubby to mail us one.  When the pay phones were available, she called him with her request.  (She was very demanding…)

A few days later during mail call, the book arrived and we started giggling…”Joys of Yiddish” in a Federal Prison Camp….who would have “thunk it”?  (If my mother could see me now)

Ella and I started fanning through the book and I found myself being my mom.  OMG, I turned into my mom in prison.  (she would have been proud) ???


East European Jewish folklore, the city of Chelm, (Yiddish Khelem) functions as an imaginary city inhibited by befuddled, stupid and foolish people, but enduring people, they were the simpletons.

The Rabbi of Khelem visited the prison and there he heard all but one of the inmates insist on their innocence.  When he returned he met with the  “Council of Wise Men” and recommended the town to have two prisons one for the guilty and another for the innocent.

The questioning of Hillary Clinton  and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, reminded me of this story.  Perhaps if either were found guilty, they could serve their time in “Khelem”.  The Prison for the Innocent.

oy vey, Holly


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