The dream was always the same: I was back in Russia. My family was sitting around the Sabbath table: Mama, Papa, baby Hannah and my brothers Lemmel and Shloyme. I was telling a story about America—there were gold streets and chickens roosting in trees. Suddenly, Papa and I were on board a ship sailing far away. Ahead I saw the Statue of Liberty towering over the harbor of New York, but she raised her hand high above her head to stop us. I looked around for Papa. I was all alone.
Then I woke up and remembered.
Papa and I had arrived at Ellis Island. For three years we had been living on the Lower East Side of New York. Papa worked in a sweatshop earning money to bring over the rest of the family, while I worked after school. I dreamed of the day our family would be together again.
And tomorrow, it would finally happen. Would they love America like I did or would they say "a curse on Columbus" because the New World brought them nothing but trouble and hard work?
Eve Tal was born in the United States, but lives on Kibbutz Hatzor in Israel. Cursing Columbus is her second young adult historical novel and is the sequel to Double Crossing, which is based on her grandfather's emigration story from the Ukraine.
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