Fun vanen heybt zach aun ah libeh? (How does a love affair begin?

April 2013HenyaChaiet-100

Mein libeh haut zach aun gehaben ahz ich haub zich gehlerent zein ah nurse.

(My love affair started while I was a student nurse at Mt. Sinai (Jewish) Hospital in Chicago.)

Mein shziger iz geven krank in hauspehtal un ich fleg err bauden un iber biten deh kleyder. Ich fleg redden Yiddish mit alleh dee eltereh baubehs un zadeys, un zayhauben mir zayer gehglichen tzileb daus.

(My [future] mother-in-law was a patient when I was a student. When I bathed her and changed her linen I would always speak to her in Yiddish, as I would to all the grandmas and grandpas. All of them really loved me because I spoke Yiddish.)

Ayn taug haut zee mir gezaukt ahz ear zun ah soldat gait ear cumen zen. Zee haut gevault ahz err zun zault bahkenenzach mit mir.

One day she told me her son the soldier was coming to visit her. She was very anxious for her son to make my acquaintance.)

Ich haub zach balt far liebt mit ear zun der soldat. (I fell in love at first sight of her son the soldier.)

Ah zeh heybt zach aun ah ehmehseh libeh, doz iz geven bahshert. (That’s the way true love begins, it is destined.)

Henya Chaiet is the Yiddish name for Mrs. A. Helen Feinn. Born in 1924 ten days before Passover, her parents had come to America one year prior. They spoke only Yiddish at home so that is all she spoke until age five when she started kindergarten. She then learned English, but has always loved Yiddish and speaks it whenever possible. Chaiet lived in La Porte and Michigan City, Ind., from 1952 to 1978 and currently resides in Walnut Creek, Calif. Email:

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