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Excerpts from Eat First -- You Don't Know What They'll Give You

  • Jewish Geography -- this story was first published in October 1998 in Der Bay, the newsletter of the International Association of Yiddish Clubs.  Here, both the English version and a version in transliterated Yiddish are available in pdf format.
  • Return to Germany -- the story of Sonia’s return to Germany in 1978 to speak about the women’s rights revolution in the US for the then-US Information Agency (USIA), published on the website of The Jewish Writing Project on Jan. 19, 2009. That story is also contained in the anthology, Marking Humanity, Stories Poems, & Essays by Holocaust Survivors, edited by Shlomit Kriger (Aug. 23, 2010, pp. 226-234).
  • If You Speak His Language --This piece was published in Tzum Punkt (Nov.-Dec. 1999, Vol. 1, No. 2)  p. 5, the newsletter of Yiddish of Greater Washington.
  • Thai Silk -- This piece was first published in the Common Law Lawyer and then on the websites of whispersmagazine.com, iagora.com, and BankgokAtoZ.com (September 2001).
  • Florida and Beyond -- This excerpt appeared on May 25, 2001, in the Story Lady e-newsletter and on its website, the Jewish Frontier, the Jewish Internet magazine, the Jewish Magazine online, the e-zine, Home-Based Working Moms, and the Writer Online. Terry Boothman, the editor of the Writer Online, had this to say about it in the January 14, 2003, issue that carried the story:

    Everyone's life is interesting, right? Sure. So, everyone should write a memoir, right? Yeah, why not.. And everyone should publish a memoir, right? Good Lord, no. Because not everyone knows how to write a publishable memoir, which means a memoir that lots of other people will enjoy reading. Sonia Pressman Fuentes, one of the founders of the National Organization for Women, published just such a memoir--"Eat First--You Don't Know What They'll Give You, The Adventures of an Immigrant Family and Their Feminist Daughter." Now, in How I Got My Mink Stole, excerpted from that memoir, you can get a glimpse of exactly how good memoirs are written.

  • Weinberg's Glasses - the story of what happened when Sonia's father found a pair of eyeglasses.
  • Sex Maniac -- the story of the Second Wave of the women's movement and Fuentes' role in it.  
  • Harry Golden and "the Coat" -- Sonia Fuentes sues Harry Golden, published in Jewish Currents, June 16, 1997. 
  • How I Got My Mink Stole -- a lengthy struggle with an unexpected denouement.
  • Eating Out -- published in the April 11, 2001, issue of Writer's Bloc Online, the e-newsletter of the National Writers Union.
  • Graduating With My Class -- Fuentes' desire to graduate with her high school class has a significant consequence.  Published originally in the Catskill/Hudson Jewish Star 6.2 (June 1996) 17.1 and then on Harry Leichter's website.
  • Mother and the Night School -- published in the December 2001, issue of Kolot, A World of Jewish Voices. 
  • Catskills Stories -- Some of Fuentes' stories about her experiences in the Catskill Mountains of New York State may be found at the Museum of Family History.

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cover Eat First -- You Don't Know What They'll Give You,  The Adventures of an Immigrant Family and Their Feminist Daughter by Sonia Pressman Fuentes

Book Ordering Information

In the United States, EAT FIRST can be ordered in paperback and hardback from amazon.com, bn.com, and xlibris.com.  The book can be ordered from amazon.co.uk in the UK and amazon.ca in Canada. EAT FIRST is also available for Kindle which includes free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet.

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Eat First

Sonia Pressman Fuentes

Book Excerpts

FuentesFrom Eat First -- You Don't Know What They'll Give You,  The Adventures of an Immigrant Family and Their Feminist Daughter by Sonia Pressman Fuentes



If You Speak His Language

"Howja like dot?" asked my father.

"Not dot," corrected Mother, unperturbed by Father's twenty-year resistance to the niceties of English pronunciation. "Not dot. Dat. T - h - a - t. Dat." For some inexplicable reason, Mother's tutorial method with a man who had never mastered the alphabet was premised on spelling. I suspected this technique owed its application not so much to Mother's belief in its validity as a teaching tool but to her desire to demonstrate her own superior grasp of the language. "All right," said Father, in his I-stand-corrected tone. "Dat. Howja like dat?" And, then he said, in astonishment and delight, "`Herry' Belafonte turns out to be a Jew!"

No amount of refutation from Mother and me had the slightest effect on him. "Herry" Belafonte sang in Hebrew. Who else but a Jew would do that? He was obviously one of those Black Jews, like those of Ethiopia.

Strictly speaking, Hebrew wasn't my father's language. Yiddish was. But Hebrew was the language of the Bible, the other sacred texts and, in recent times, the language of Israel. That was good enough for Dad.

From then on, "Herry" was a favorite in our house. On those notable occasions when he made a TV appearance, the family would gather before the set and sit in hushed and grateful silence. One of our own was on.

Accordingly, it came as no surprise to Father when "Herry" divorced Marguerite, his African American wife, and married Julie Robinson, a young Jewish dancer with the Katherine Dunham dance troupe. "Nu," said Father, with that know-it-all sparkle in his eyes. "What did I tell you? A Jewish fellah. First, he's got to marry a shikse [a gentile girl or woman]. And then he finds a nice Jewish girl."

The acid test of reality never had a chance with my father. He had the exasperating ability to conform reality to his own vision of it.

©1996 by Sonia Pressman Fuentes

This piece was published in Tzum Punkt (Nov.-Dec. 1999, Vol. 1, No. 2)  p. 5, the newsletter of Yiddish of Greater Washington, and in the premier issue of Cafe Ami, an e-zine dedicated to Jewish diversity