In this warm and loving memoir, Gitel Greenhut remembers her mother and the turbulent and trying times they experienced together, both in Hungary and in America. The story begins in Hungary after World War l, when the author's father decided, as did thousands of others at the time, to go build a new life in America. According to the plan, he would bring over the whole family as soon as he established himself. The months dragged into years, and it was thirteen years before he returned, just as the gathering storm of war threatened to burst over Hungary. During this time, Mamuka was left to raise the children all by herself, and she did so with wisdom, courage and a form hand. In the first section, Mrs. Greenhut recalls many fascinating vignettes of her life in a small town in Hungary; the hardships and trials Mamuka had to overcome to bring up her children with a deep appreciation of Torah, mitzvos and chessed; and the agonizing loneliness of having a husband and father in a strange and distant land, his only contact with his family for thirteen years being through the exchange of letters and photographs. In the second section, the family emigrates to America, but the three oldest children cannot obtain exit visas and must be left behind. The years in America are overshadowed by the desperate efforts to bring over the three remaining children. Then the war breaks out, and it is not until the aftermath that their fate is finally discovered. Yet in spite of her troubles, Mamuka devoted herself to helping the needy, and by the time of her passing, her name had become synonymous with true selfless chessed. All in all, Mamuka is a devoted daughter's portrait of her outstanding mother, whose character, integrity and high ideals were the indestructible backbone of her family, and whose deep concern for her fellow Jews brought benefit to everyone who came into contact with her.
by Gitel Greenhut
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