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Emotion in Guanabara Bay At dawn on the thirtieth day, creaking with fatigue, the Desirade began its approach to the entrance of Guanabara Bay. During the night nobody in third class had slept, almost all being immigrants on their first voyage. Brazilian soil was near, and those whose destination was Rio were packing their suitcases. They were buoyed by the emotion of beholding and greeting the New World. The early morning was somewhat rainy, and a dense fog hid the contours of the Ocean Mountain Range. At six in the morning the ship received permission to enter the waters of the bay, and as it slowly glided by, it passed a row of warships decked with flags, discharging shots of dry gunpowder. The calendar registered the fifteenth of November 1923. Only after we disembarked did we learn that this had been the celebration of the proclamation of the republic of this country. That daybreak reminded me of the night in December 1920 when we crossed on foot the frozen Dniester River, fleeing my hometown, the city of Mogilev. What a difference! After the functionaries of the maritime police had arrived on board, while the ship was still outside the barrier, and examined the documents of those whose destination was Rio de Janeiro, the steamship was able to dock. On the pier warehouse number 1 and Mauá Square were bubbling with people of all origins. The majority were waiting for the immigrants who were going to disembark. Others were there in hope of finding some compatriot or taking advantage of the national holiday for an outing to the pier. At customs we were received with much goodwill, except for a long wait due to the large number of passengers . Our baggage was unloaded without great difficulty, and the porters took charge of delivering it to the designated address. Samuel Malamud excerpt from Stops in Time 118 samuel malamud We were met by our fellow countryman, neighbor, and old friend of my parents Nathan Roitberg. He came from Ouro Fino especially to meet us. We were going to depart for that town on the same night. Also there were Max and Lola Brand, the uncle and aunt of the girl who had embarked at Le Havre and who had been in my mother’s care during the crossing. With them was their son Salo, the first young Brazilian Jew I met as I disembarked. Our initial interaction was difficult due to the absence of a common language. His Yiddish was very weak. Mr. Luís Scheinkmann also came to wait for us, a man my parents knew only by name. His sister and brother-in-law, Liuba and Falik Roizman, were friends of my parents in Oknitza. We spent the day in his house in Rio until it was time to leave for Ouro Fino. In the meantime, our friend Roitberg took advantage of his stay in Rio to visit friends and to participate in the meeting taking place that very day in which the weekly publication Dos Iídiche Vochenblat (The Israeli Weekly) was founded. As a veteran social activist and ardent Zionist, he was happy to take part in that historical event. Our host lived on Silveira Martins Street in a two-story house whose windows faced the garden of the Catete Palace. After learning about the importance of November 15 in Brazilian history, I was emotionally gratified to be, right on the day of my arrival, looking so closely at the beautiful garden of the Presidential Palace. While my parents were engaged with our host in animated conversation , sharing with him news about his relatives and recalling common friends and acquaintances from Secureni, the hometown of the Scheinkmann family, I stood there not knowing how to spend the time. In the house there was a girl, our host’s stepdaughter, about twelve years old, quite delightful and very well behaved—but where was the language for us to communicate? I spoke Russian, German, Hebrew, and Yiddish. She knew Portuguese and French, since her mother was French. I tried to avail myself of the scant knowledge of French I had learned in school, but my vocabulary wasn’t adequate to carry on a conversation. The time passed without any great problems until lunchtime . We maintained a conversation with our gestures, interspersed with French words here and there and the very few Rumanian words still in my memory and which seemed similar to Portuguese. This first luncheon was...


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