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Tanya Kornfeld

Video interview – excerpts

In 1978 Tanya Kornfeld has married Abram Spector and left with him to El Paso, Texas, where they lived for a yea and a half.

My mother-in-law’ mother “Bis-abuela Enriketta” is a formidable woman – dark and large. Story goes that she was a village “brucha” – a healer and a midwife for her village. She loves canaries and smuggles them – it’s forbidden to bring birds across the border to US – hidden in her bra, under her great tit – they don’t even stir, nor do they dare to twit. She was not able to find any understanding of her ancient ways with her daughters – but found it nicely with me. I took lessons from her in baking tortillas, churning “queso” – sort of basic cheese and, oh ! love potion!
She was at some time arrested for growing Marihuana in her yard, though it was done for medicinal reasons – rheumatism.
Our first car trip in America to New Mexico – with border checks – very much alike the “mahsom” in Givat Zeev. The officer asks everyone in the car is he a US citizen and where he was born. Turning to me – “I am Israeli, born in Moscow” – he is offended, I’m obviously mocking him – we are in trouble of delay and investigation.
I was asked many times by El Paso residents – in a polite way, how do I like the town. My answer was always “very much, thank you – it’s proximity to Huares makes it very pleasing indeed”. Huares is a swell city – entertaining and strange.
Just before our move to Israel we went for a family visit to Guadelupe- a small town, a village rather-with horses, pigs and chicken roaming about, in North Mexico- a hometown of my mother-in-law. One third of the people, that live in it are close or distant relations of the family. The time is Christmas, so all you do is move from one home to another and eat. The setting is permanent- ladies in the drawing room, talking softly, menfolk curse, drink brandy and smoke in the crowded kitchen.
I’v galloped twice around the town on a little fat horse, specially saddled for my entertainment and finely barged into this kitchen, cold and red-faced from the wind with a demand for a glass of brandy. Meanwhile Abe changed the baby in the drawing room with all the ladies around watching- and handed him to me to be nursed.
Men where staring in deep silence, been’g not able to sort out the abnormal actions of our family. The good tradition of creating odd mythology line in Guadalupe, as concerning Spectors , was started near 35 years ago, when geology student Izhak arrived from Brooklin to wed Lola Kalderon, the oldest daughter of Enriketta.


Summer vacation. I’m 12, and I’m climbing trees- secretly from everybody.The best are birches- with very flexible and strong upper branches- you hug them tightly and swing in the wind against the dark sky. Nice bolt of adrenalin to boot. The biggest problem is to get started, to get to the lowest branch, usually it is quite high- the rest is easy. And the fancy dream of spotting underneath an unaware passer-by and floating softly down, upon him, suddenly appearing in front of him on that narrow little path- scaring him senseless, gnashing my teeth, maybe…

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