Author Topic: Number Our Days  (Read 5334 times)

ginny

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #120 on: June 20, 2017, 09:31:16 AM »
The Book Club Online is the oldest  book club on the Internet, begun in 1996, open to everyone.  We offer cordial discussions of one book a month,  24/7 and  enjoy the company of readers from all over the world.  Everyone is welcome.



They say that growing old is not for sissies. Are they right? When Anthropologist Dr. Barbara Myerhoff received a grant to study aging she decided to do it on subjects in the USA, and let them speak for themselves.

The result is an "often funny, deeply moving narrative of human dignity and courage."

 "One of those rare books that leave the reader somehow changed."-- Bel Kaufman.

Join us June 15! 


Questions to Ponder on  Chapter 1

Chapter 1 is a scholarly defense of the subject matter....hard to read... if you don't like these questions, add your own:


1.   a. Who is this a study of?  b. What makes it a unique sample?

2.   How  would you characterize the elders in this study?  Are they high-functioning?  Well-off?

3.   What does the Center fulfill for the men and women on the Boardwalk?

4.   What made for successful aging among the elders?

5.   How does the Jewish faith affect the men and women's approach to aging?  How do they envision old age?

6.   What do you think the psalm "So teach us to number our days, that we may get us a heart of wisdom" mean to you?

7.   What do you think of these elders?  Do they impress you, annoy you?  Do they remind you of relatives?



I'm going to add some non stock questions  I think are important, too, in fact they are what jumped out at me, what jumped out at YOU?


1. What seems to be the most important thing to the people she is writing about? What do you think the most important thing to YOU would be?

2. What function does the "Center" have for the community of elders that use it?

These two questions, in my mind, are not related, but they may be, in yours.






ginny

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #121 on: June 20, 2017, 09:32:45 AM »
Bellamarie, that IS a lovely story. I hope all the children of tomorrow are the same, because this world we've brought them to needs help, I think.

And then there are  the sayings, hongfan questioned one of them, page 46: "In Jewish we have a saying, "When the father gives to the son, both are happy. When the son gives to the father both weep.'"

These little sayings are all over the book. They stick with one like glue (That's probably the intent).  What do you call this type of saying or aphorism or??  I wonder if there's a Yiddish word for them?

Do YOU understand this statement? Do you agree with it? Why or why not?

ginny

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #122 on: June 20, 2017, 10:07:00 AM »
And one more interesting thing: I received this in the mail from Bubble:

Impressive New York Jewish History

1.  The first Jews to set foot in North America arrived in New York as a group of 23 in 1654.

2.  Congregation Shearith Israel, founded in New York in 1654, was the first synagogue in the colonies. It was the sole purveyor of kosher meat until 1813.

3.  By the late19th century, there were over 5,000 kosher butchers and 1,000 slaughterers in New York.

4.  In1902, the Beef Trust raised the price of kosher meat on the Lower East Side from 12 to 18 cents per pound. After butchers’ boycotts proved ineffectual, 20,000 Lower East Side women stole meat from kosher butcher shops and set it on fire on the streets in protest. The Forward supported their efforts, running the headline “Bravo, Bravo, Bravo, Jewish women!”

5.   On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist fire claimed the lives of 146 garment workers, the majority of whom were Jewish immigrants. Reporting on the tragedy, the "Forvitz" wrote that ‘the disaster is too great, to dreadful, to be able to express one’s feelings.”

6.  When entertainer Al Jolson came to New York City at age 14, he held jobs in the circus and as a singing waiter. Born to a cantor, Jolson's career took off when he began performing in black face.

7.  In 1903, the Lower East Side Chinese and Jewish communities formed an unlikely partnership when Chinese organizers put on a benefit for Jewish victims of the Kishinev pogrom, raising $280.

8.  In 1930, there were over 80 pickle vendors in the Lower East Side’s thriving Jewish pickle scene. The briny delights were brought to America in the mid-19th century by German Jewish immigrants.

9.   The egg cream is thought to have been invented by the Jewish owner of a Brooklyn candy shop. Musician Lou Reed was a famous admirer of the frothy drink.

10.   From the beginning of the 20th century till the close of World War II, the Lower East Side’s 2nd Avenue was known as the Yiddish Theater District, or the Jewish Rialto. It extended from 2nd Avenue to Avenue B, and from 14th Street to Houston. Considered Broadway’s competitor, the Jewish Rialto was home to a variety of productions including burlesque and vaudeville shows, as well as Shakespearean, Jewish and classic plays, and were all in Yiddish.

11.  The Jewish Rialto’s most popular haunt was the Cafe Royal on Second Avenue and 12th Street, where one could find performers such as Molly Picon and Charlie Chaplin sharing blintzes.

12. Pushcarts were all the rage among Jewish vendors on the Lower East Side from the turn of the century until 1940, when Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia banned their use. Jewish pushcart operators sold everything from vegetables to cigars to stockings.

13.   At Sammy’s Roumanian Steak
House on Chrystie and Delancey, every table is provided with a bottle of chicken fat as a condiment; resident emcee Dani Luv entertained diners with renditions of Jewish standards and punchy Borsht Belt humor.

14.  One of the first kosher Chinese restaurants in New York was Moshe Peking, whose all-Chinese wait staff wore yarmulkes.

15.  The Second Avenue Deli opened in 1954 in the then-fading Yiddish Theater District. It featured a Yiddish Walk of Fame on the sidewalk outside its original location on Second Avenue and Tenth Street, and served up such Jewish specialties as matzo ball soup and corned beef. In 2007, it closed and reopened in Murray Hill.

16.  Famed music club CBGB was opened in 1973 by Jewish founder Hilly Kristal.

17.  Mayor La Guardia, who served for three terms from 1934 to 1945, was born to a Jewish mother and descended from Rabbi Samuel David Luzzatto, but practiced as an Episcopalian.

18. The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center was named in honor of the Jewish U.S. senator, who served from 1957 to 1981.

19.  Sig Klein’s Fat Men’s Shop opened in the late 1800s at 52 Third Ave., and carried plus-sized clothes for men. Its sign featured the slogan: “If everyone was fat there would be no war.”

20. Abraham Beame was the first practicing Jew to become mayor of New York. He held office from 1974 to 1977.

21.  The popular and proudly Jewish mayor Ed Koch, who served from 1978 to 1989, was known for the phrase “How’m  I doing?” which he would ask passersby while standing on street corners or riding the subway. Newsday called him the “ultimate New Yorker.”

22. The erection of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883 and the Williamsburg Bridge in 1903 catalyzed a Jewish exodus from the Lower East Side to Southside Williamsburg. Crossing the bridge on foot, the LES’s Jews left in search of better living conditions.

23.   By 1930, more than 40% of New York City’s Jews lived in Brooklyn.

24.  Jewish-fronted band, The Ramones formed in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens in 1974.

25.   Allen Ginsberg moved to New York to attend Columbia in 1943. He was purportedly related to seminal Zionist thinker Ahad Ha’am.

26.  Poet and kabbalist Lionel Ziprin entertained visitors including Thelonius Monk, Charlie Parker, and Bob Dylan in his Lower East Side living room, expounding for hours on Jewish esoterica and history.

27. The bagel originated in Poland, and arrived in New York City in the 1880s in the hands of Eastern European Jewish immigrants.

28. Three hundred all-Jewish New York bagel craftsmen formed a trade union in the early 1900s, the Bagel Bakers Local 338, which established standards for bagel production and conducted meetings in Yiddish.

29  In December 1951, New York City was hit with what The New York Times termed the “bagel famine,” when a dispute between the members of the Bagel trade union and the Bagel Bakers association led to the closing of 32 out of 34 of the city’s bagel bakeries.

30.  As a result of the bagel outage, the sale of lox dropped nearly 50%. Murray Nathan, who helped resolve an earlier lox strike in 1948, was brought in to mediate the situation. The outage lasted until February.

31. Coney Island Bagels and Bialys, the oldest kosher bagel shop in New York, was set to close in 2011 until two Muslim businessmen, Peerzada Shah and Zafaryab Ali, bought the store and promised to keep it kosher. Ali had previously worked at the shop for 10 years.

32.  Lou Reed was born in Brooklyn, and in 1989 released an album whose title, “New York,” paid tribute to the city.

33.  In a reinterpretation of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven,” Lou Reed asked the four questions at the Downtown Seder at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in 2004.

34.  Musician Lenny Kaye was born in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan in 1946. He met Patti Smith while working at Village Oldies on Bleecker Street and went on to become a member of the Patti Smith Group.

35.  Starting in the 1970s, hundreds of thousands of Jews left the Soviet Union for New York, many settling in Brighton Beach, which came to be known as “Little Odessa.”

36.   Established in 1927, Kehila Kedosha Janina at 280 Broome St. is the last remaining Greek Jewish synagogue in the Western Hemisphere.

37.  Streit’s Matzo Company, the last remaining neighborhood matzo factory, stands at 148-150 Rivington St. (Moved to 20 Knickerbocker Road, Moonachie, New Jersey 07074 in 2016.)

38.  The oldest Orthodox Jewish Russian congregation in the United States, Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, is still active at 60 Norfolk St.

39.  On the corner of Essex and Rutgers, down the street from the original Forvitz building on Seward Park, the Garden Cafeteria served as a gathering place for Jewish actors, artists and playwrights such as Sholem Aleichem and Isaac Bashevis Singer from 1941 to 1983. It became Wing Shing, a Chinese restaurant, in 1985, and now houses Reena Spaulings Fine Art.

40.  Seward Park on the Lower East Side was created in 1900. New immigrants worked in the park’s artisan market, and on special occasions such as elections, thousands gathered in the park to watch the Forvitz’s flashing news sign in Yiddish.

41. Jewish gangs rose to prominence during the Prohibition; at a conference in New York in 1931, Jewish gangsters agreed to partner with Italian Americans, and together remained the most dominant groups in organized crime until several decades after WWII.

42.   After an appeal from a New York judge, Nathan Perlman, Jewish gangster Meyer Lansky and members of Murder Inc. broke up Nazi rallies around the city for over a year, with the one stipulation that there be no killing.

43.  Lines of a sonnet by Sephardic poet Emma Lazarus, who was born in New York City in 1847, are inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

44.  The house that stands at 770 Eastern Parkway in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn is the center and spiritual home of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. Formerly inhabited by Chabad’s late leader Menachem Mendel Schneerson, Lubavitchers have built replicas of the building all over the world to serve as movement outposts.

45. The first Reform congregation in New York City, Temple Emanu-El, was founded in 1845 by 33 mostly German Jews, and moved to its present location in 1929. Members have included Joan Rivers and Michael Bloomberg.

46.  As large numbers of German Jews fleeing Nazi persecution made their homes in Washington Heights in the mid-1930s, the area was dubbed “Frankfurt on the Hudson.”

47.  Sweet ‘n’ Low was invented in 1957 in Brooklyn by Benjamin Eisenstaedt.

48.  Bronx-born Milton Glaser designed the “I  ___ NY” logo in 1977.     

49.  Eight
​H​a ​s​sidic dynasties are headquartered in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.

50. Outside of Israel, New York City is home to the largest population of Jews in the world.

51.  As of 2011, 1 in 6 households in New York were Jewish.

 



so P bubble

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #123 on: June 20, 2017, 11:53:44 AM »
To reply to Ginny's post:

"he likes to prod and argue, he likes to make people think by stirring them up provocatively. Does that happen a lot?"

It sure does! We are an argumenting  people. They say that if three people meet in the street they will start straigh away arguing in three different directing, have three distinct views on any topic chosen.  It seems to be implanted in the genes! And of course each is totally sure he has the right view and has to proclaim it.  Maybe that is what motivates Shmuel. It is an Israeli trait I think.

I never heard the term linkie, but then English is not my mother tongue...

Many of the 'learned' people, those who were educated in yeshivas and learning almost exclusively about the Torah, the Bible, the so many commandments and rules that govern daily life, these do feel themselves superior or above the 'commoners'  as if they have a special channel to God.  I see that for example in the ultra-religious refusing to do military service, saying that their prayers in time of need are more important than going to the front. God will protect... 

If Shmuel is right or wrong trying to educate, that is a question of opinion.  He himself feels an obligation to do it.

Pilpul is useful at times, making you see things more sharply by having different opinions.

Shmuel is pronounced shmoo-el (el like in elbow) with the accent on the first syllable.

Jonathan

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #124 on: June 20, 2017, 12:07:56 PM »
Well, I'll be...amazing. Thank you, Bubble. Yes, I loved the way you and the other writers critiqued each other's work on the WREX site. Who's left of the old gang?

That super shtetl on the Hudson should have been renamed New Jerusalem, long ago.

Isn't this fun, Ginny? We'll get around to the book eventually. There's no doubt in my mind that Shmuel wished to be, and others thought of him as such, like one of the Biblical prophets of old: reforming, teaching, admonishing, but without honor in his own country. "Linkie", I take, as mening 'leftist', as in Marxist, or Communist.

Hongfan, do you think Buddha was Jewish? Settling accounts in the course of lives has something Jewish about it, despite reducing the procedure to only two, the here and the hereafter. At any rate, it reminds me of a book on my shelf I've been meaning to read: A Jewish Mother in Shangri-la, by Rosie Rosenzweig. It begins with:'An old joke tells of a Jewish woman who treks to the Himalayas to seek an audience with a guru sitting in seclusion on a mountaintop. When at last she comes before him, she implores: Sheldon, come home.'

Bellamarie, at 88, I'm like the old man. I love having young people around. My idea of heaven would be a little house, across the street from the playground of an elementary school.

If you want something by God, be friendly to his people.

Jonathan

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #125 on: June 20, 2017, 12:26:16 PM »
Wonderful! The Old Testament was Shmuel's Iliad, his Odyssey and his Virgel. Full of heroes!

so P bubble

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #126 on: June 20, 2017, 01:05:14 PM »
Jonathan, Dr Haseltine was the last to post his stories in S&F and after a while, with no one else participating, he just quit. He was not posting in any other discussions.
Yes Wrex was a fun experience.

Here you could volunteer in a kindergarten and be the local 'grandpa' to the kids, some who never had grand parents. It is a great experience for (sometimes lonely) seniors as well as for the children.

hongfan

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #127 on: June 20, 2017, 05:08:25 PM »
Hongfan, do you think Buddha was Jewish?

haha, Jonathan, it's cute and I like it. Actually Sheldon could be at Jerusalem and Himalayas at the same time. In 1905's paper, Einstein already showed light is a particle AND a wave, which means it could be at one location (property of particle) or could be at many locations simultaneously (property of wave). Since then experiments have shown this particle duality could also be applicable to objects that are much larger size, and eventually I think one day they may find a way to prove that at the physical size of human being, this wave property still holds true - didn't we have a lot of those bilocation tales (a human being appearing in two places simultaneously) - Pythagoras was said to be seen at two places simultaneously, I knew some buddhist monks were reported this way, and seems there is also such reports in Jewish literature?

On the related theme, they say the biggest organism on the earth is a fungus in Oregon (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-largest-organism-is-fungus/), which is about 1665 football field large. It is all underground so you cannot see the fungus, but you see the mushrooms spread around that come out of this same fungus. If you don't know they are all connected below the ground, you would think they are mushrooms from different roots (well they can be 1000 football fields away, who would think they are from the same plant?)

We are likely those mushrooms, all connected at some level (I don't want to say we are all fungus, hahaha). From this perspective, I particularly like Shmuel's attitude towards not harming any life  - he said something about holocaust - that it was not only Hitler who committed suicide, it was the whole human species committed suicide -  that I can resonate with whole heartedly.

(Sorry I don't have the book at hand to type in - and Ginny, thank you for having typed in those quotes for me, I will remember to get on with that good habit).


hongfan

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #128 on: June 20, 2017, 06:13:56 PM »
while Sephardi speak Ladino, which apparently is the medieval Castilian spoken then in Spain

Is this Ladino in any way linked to Latin?

bellamarie

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #129 on: June 20, 2017, 08:13:05 PM »
Phew......  I just finished reading Shmuel's chapter, and all of your posts, and I am just blown away!!!  I can barely take it all in. I shall begin with loving how Shmuel relates to the prophet Jeremiah. 

pg. 50  "Shame on you, I tell him.  'Are you proud of that?  Do you think that's not a man lying there?  Are we less brutes than them?  In the Talmud it warns us not to treat even our enemies this way.'  To him I quoted this: '...You have tuned justice into poison, the fruit of righteousness into wormwood.'  From Jeremiah, the prophet."   I suppose they didn't thank you for your opinion,"  I remarked. 

"What could I expect them to say?  Should they thank me?  My presence pierces them like a polished arrow.  This happened also to our prophets, especially to Jeremiah.  With him I felt a great kinship always.  "They hate him who reproves at the gate.  They abhor him who speaks the truth.'  At least, I have the satisfaction of knowing I am in good company." 


Oh my, I am just simply in awe of Shmuel!  I love how he says:

pg. 46 "But I am not a Jew like my father.  He believed blindly.  For me, acts more than beliefs make a Jew.  Judaism means you know yourself, your traditions, your history, you live them.  To be a good human being, in the Jewish way, to believe in life, to believe in humanity, to follow the Ten Commandments, that is enough to be a good Jew."

So let me pose this question to anyone who is comfortable to answer it, yet not intending a debate....  Do you believe in your chosen religion "blindly", as Shmuel mentions?   And isn't faith about believing without seeing, which would appear, to be  "blind faith."

Hebrew 11:1  KJV  "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

This chapter is packed with so many great quotes.  I seriously felt like I was sitting at my church's Bible Study group discussing the Bible with all my fellow members reading this chapter.  Shmuel will stay with me far beyond the ending of this book and discussion.

Jonathan, you and I are more alike than I ever expected.  I, like you, would also love to live across the street of an elementary school just to sit and watch the children at play during recess time from my window, seeing the joy on their faces, and listen to the squeals of laughter.  Kenzie and her family just moved across the street from Frank Elementary school this past week end.  She is hoping to get to be assigned to do her student teaching in August at this school.  I hope you get your little piece of heaven one day, Jonathan.  As we have learned in this chapter from Shmuel, we need to live life each day, not wait for the perfect timing.

Bubble I am so glad you are here with us to help us along.  So, can I ask you a question, and if you don't know or don't want to answer it is perfectly okay with me.  When Shmuel said he did NOT believe in God, he was an agnostic, (which kind of shocked me for some reason) how does the Jewish synagogue feel about Jews who do not believe in God?  I know with Catholics we believe that we are to do our very best to inform and educate others about God and our Apostolic Creed, which is to believe in the Blessed Trinity.  Is there such a thing as with the Catholic church as excommunicating someone from the synagogue? 

This chapter is so packed with things to discuss I will have to take a break and let it all sink in and post again tomorrow.  I'm feeling overwhelmed and saddened all at the same time after finishing this chapter. 

Ginny,  You were correct in assuming we have not all had the chance to finish reading the chapter.  I can assure you as they do finish you will be hearing from them. 
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

Jonathan

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #130 on: June 20, 2017, 10:24:05 PM »
Spinoza was excommunicated. He was taken in by my anscestors who were protestant, evangelicals - as a boarder. No effort was made to convert him - not to my knowledge. Some of my family has now returned to the Catholic fold.  I love going to mass, especially when my granddaughters are part of the ritual.

so P bubble

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #131 on: June 21, 2017, 06:35:09 AM »

Bubble I am so glad you are here with us to help us along.  So, can I ask you a question, and if you don't know or don't want to answer it is perfectly okay with me.  When Shmuel said he did NOT believe in God, he was an agnostic, (which kind of shocked me for some reason) how does the Jewish synagogue feel about Jews who do not believe in God?  I know with Catholics we believe that we are to do our very best to inform and educate others about God and our Apostolic Creed, which is to believe in the Blessed Trinity.  Is there such a thing as with the Catholic church as excommunicating someone from the synagogue? 

Shmuel does not believe on God, but it seems that he knows his Bible by heart and follow many of its precepts.
He would have no problem going to a synagogue and no one would boot him out. I don't think Synagogues are as organized with strict rules like a church would be.  Many' neighborhood' synagogues here are just a prayer room in any apartment building - many in its shelter .  That is because you are not allowed to wall a long distance on the Shabbat.  I think there is a fixed number of steps but I really don't know.
It is not necessary to have a rabbi to conduct the service, one only need to have a quorum of 10 males.
I never heard or read about excommunicating someone from the synagogue, on the other hand some would object to a person disturbing the prayers with disparaging comments, but that is certainly not an excommunicating.

I read a quote today:
Life has no meaning a priori. ... It is up to you to give it a meaning, and value is nothing but the meaning that you choose. -Jean-Paul Sartre, writer and philosopher (21 Jun 1905-1980)

I think that for Shmuel, this apply to religion. God has no meaning for him.   He respect the sanctity of life and in his acts or interacting he seems to follow the commandments, but it is from his personal beliefs, not from what is ordered by God. I seem to agree with him.


while Sephardi speak Ladino, which apparently is the medieval Castilian spoken then in Spain

Is this Ladino in any way linked to Latin?

Ladino is a  Romance language as is French or Italian.  So many roots are similar and of Latin origin.
Unfortunately I don't remember enough Latin to give examples.
But Donkey in  modern Spanish is burro.  In Ladino (and old Castilian) it is asino, which in latin would be asinus.

so P bubble

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #132 on: June 21, 2017, 06:40:31 AM »
Jonathan, how can girls be part of the mass ritual? That surprises me, as I thought only boys could be choir boys or such.  Unless of course you refer to communion.

In the Catholic church, women could not conduct or serve the mass, right? Very similar to the orthodox religion here, where even at the Western Wall, men and women cannot pray together.
 

Jonathan

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #133 on: June 21, 2017, 12:27:38 PM »
Yes, thank you, Bubble. The girls served as altar-boys when they were younger. It's only a matter of time until women will serve as priests. Just as women are serving as rabbis in some Jewish congregations - not so? Thanks to you, I have a much better understanding of Shmuel's role in the community.

ginny

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #134 on: June 21, 2017, 04:22:09 PM »
I've got dilated eyes but I'll be back. Looks like a lot of great thoughts here, tho! Can't wait to focus on them. :)

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #135 on: June 21, 2017, 06:01:48 PM »
I'm loving this chapter - I love the ideas the ethics the philosophy shared by Shmuel - I can't help wonder if Fiddler on the Roof came first or after this book was published - what ever, the scenes must be a common composite of the European and Russian Jewish nineteenth century experience.

Still have 15 pages to read - hope to finish reading tonight.

Not sure i understand what all the information shared about NY is about - I had to double read to be sure and yes, this story takes place in California not NYC, so why, what did I miss?

ginny

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #136 on: June 21, 2017, 08:02:24 PM »
 I am, too, Barbara. It's so refreshing to find somebody talking about things that matter instead of Matt Lauer and the Bachelorette or whatever it is. I am like Bellamarie, it blew me away.

And I am loving saying his name properly, thank you Bubble!

That's a good question on NYC, I'll defer to Bubble who submitted it.  But it's good. I have to keep reminding myself, too, that we're talking about CA not NY, perhaps the Ashkenazi are the same everywhere, it certainly is beginning to look like it.

Ann had mentioned that she bet the Center was gone and that the location was Venice Beach. I don't suppose any of you are from that area or have been in it? I'd like to know the status now of the Jewish  community there.

Bubble and Bellamarie, as Bellamarie says  Shumuel said he was an Agnostic? That one is open to proof of the existence of God if it is provided to him, it's not like an Atheist, I think.

Bubble, you said English is not your first language, how interesting. Do you mind saying what is?

It looks like, tho, even in their humble (would you say it was humble?) existence things have really changed there in the last 32 years. It seems (page 48) there was a Chorus and all kinds of reading and discussion groups which have moved downtown and now are too hard to get to..."too hard to take buses after dark."
 
You have to wonder how this affects our retirees in the book.  And this makes me wonder about ageing in general...this loss of activities that we once thought nothing of going to, and which we enjoy, the "benches" in our own lives we enjoy participating in. How many of those activities  depend on our driving our own car?  Taking a bus after dark does not appeal to me, (but to be honest I don't live on any bus route way out here),  and they're both a lot older than I am. This one thing makes me think that retirement centers do have a place.  They provide transportation and other interesting people to talk to and be with, and things to do.  I do think that's important, do you?

If you are 40 years old and live in NYC you probably don't drive a car or even consider it, the rental for parking alone would impoverish a rich man,  so you can take all kinds of public transport (I'm writing about NYC because I can't speak to Venice Beach, CA, but I think it's the same anywhere in any town)...If you are 85 years old and live in NYC, you have the world of museums, entertainment, plays, everything on earth anybody could wish for, but you still have to get there, like Basha, on the bus or pay a driver.  If you live anywhere in the US you still have to GET where you want to go. I wonder how much this one thing: GETTING AROUND, matters in the overall scheme of retirement issues?

What do you think? If you have your health and enough to live on in your old age, what's the ONE thing you need the most after that? Can you get it living where you are?

We want to talk about the issues of ageing,  too,  to find a commonality in this as we learn how these folks are dealing with it. So far it seems Shumel has a very powerful spirit that keeps him singing in the shower each morning.  What would happen to him if he had no Center to go to?

How important do you think that spirit IS?

(Oh and I did go back on the Interstate the next day at 11 am and it was nothing. When you don't do something for a month it's scary. Interstates are scary, but now it's nothing.  I wonder what that says about adaptation in general).


I   thought this was quite something by Shumel: "For me, acts more than beliefs make a Jew. Judaism means you know yourself, your traditions, your history, you life them. To be a good human being, in the Jewish way, to believe in life, to believe in humanity, to follow the Ten Commandments, that is enough to be a good Jew."

That's beautiful.  I'm sorry there was nobody to dialogue with Shumel, and draw him out further on this subject, particularly of the Ten Commandments. I wonder what he meant by "in the Jewish way," what he saw as "the Jewish way."  Anybody have any ideas?

But he's gone.


Page 44: "You wouldn't know this but it gives out in the Bible that a pawnbroker cannot keep a poor man's caftan or cloak for deposit or for pawn overnight, because a Jew can't profit from someone else's need. 'You shall not sleep in his pledge, that he may sleep n his own cloak.' This comes from Deuteronomy, which no doubt you have not read."

You have to admire somebody who knows the tenets of his faith so well. How many of us could have quoted that passage without looking it up first? Had you ever heard of it?




Annie

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #137 on: June 22, 2017, 01:23:21 AM »
Ginny, I did say that we used to go Venice Beach on the weekend when we lived in that area. It's like going to a street fair.  All kinds of goodies for sale!  Also, there was an older lady down there only on the weekends who was a terrific skateboarder.  Fantastic moves! Since we lived there in the late '80's, I do doubt that the center was there. 
"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." Robert Southey

ginny

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #138 on: June 22, 2017, 08:37:29 AM »
It looks like there's something there.

Whether it's the same thing I don't know.


"Welcome to the Shul on the Beach!

We invite you to visit our historic Synagogue on the Venice Boardwalk.
Throughout the year, a vibrant community of all ages enjoys a wide range of educational, celebrative, and spiritual experiences. We welcome Jews of every background to join our “user friendly” traditional Orthodox services and celebrations."

"All services are at the historic Shul on the Beach
505 Ocean Front Walk - Venice Beach
Located at a convenient walking distance from both
Santa Monica and Marina del Rey.

For questions, please call:
https://pjcenter.shulcloud.com/"


and


"Hospitality

Whether you're just visiting or live in the area, the members of Pacific Jewish Center have a reputation for warmth, passion, and great food. If you are around and want to share  Shabbat or Yom Tov meals with members of the community, please contact our hospitality committee by calling or emailing the office.

It is our great pleasure to welcome all our visitors. If you are in LA for business or pleasure, we hope that your trip goes well and we are delighted to provide the venue for Shabbat on your trip. We are always grateful, as a small Shul, for any support we receive."

https://pjcenter.shulcloud.com/

ginny

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #139 on: June 22, 2017, 08:46:31 AM »
I found this on a website (when somebody starts out like that you know something possibly dubious is coming) called Judaism 101:

And I'd like to know if it's accurate?

Synagogues, Shuls and Temples

Level: Basic
   
• A Jewish "church" is called a synagogue, shul or temple
• A synagogue is a place of worship and study, and a "town hall"
• Synagogues are run by laypeople and financed by membership dues
• There are several important ritual items found in the synagogue
• Non-Jews may visit a synagogue, but dress and should behave appropriately
• The Temple is the ancient center of Jewish worship where sacrifices were performed

The synagogue is the Jewish equivalent of a church, more or less. It is the center of the Jewish religious community: a place of prayer, study and education, social and charitable work, as well as a social center.

http://www.jewfaq.org/shul.htm

so P bubble

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #140 on: June 22, 2017, 09:07:51 AM »
Ginny, yes that is a good  description of a synagogue, ' Synagogues are run by laypeople and financed by membership dues' .
It could also be used/rented as a hall for receiving people after a wedding or a bar mitzva and having a buffet there.

About your Shul on the beach, I can tell you it is a Askenazi synagogue
8:00 pm Shabbos Chodesh Tammuz Dinner
The pronunciation Shabbos for Shabbat  denotes that.

Annie

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #141 on: June 22, 2017, 09:18:34 AM »
Ginny and Jane, I just sent a link to the About Us section of your link. Wish I could go back to see what they are doing. 
"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." Robert Southey

ginny

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #142 on: June 22, 2017, 09:19:29 AM »
Well for heaven's sake who knew? Thank you!

And Ann writes that if we penetrate deeper into the webpage, that we can find  "the history of the old center and how it was saved." 

You all might be interested in reading the About Us history on that page, thank you, Ann.


http://pjcenter.shulcloud.com/about-us.html

bellamarie

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #143 on: June 22, 2017, 10:29:28 AM »
Bubble
Quote
In the Catholic church, women could not conduct or serve the mass, right?

Things have changed greatly where women are concerned since Vatican II.  Women/girls are allowed to be servers on the altar not just boys any more.  Women are allowed to do the readings and distribute communion, and interestingly enough the year my mother was dying in hospital, I missed our Ash Wednesday service, our nun Sr. Myra was able to give my sister and I ashes on our forehead.
Jonathan, you could be right in saying it's a matter of time before women are allowed to become deacons and priests, I just don't see it happening in the next decade or so.  I think there are very few times in today's practices where excommunication takes place.  I was just curious where the Jewish practices stood on Shmuel not believing in God.

Barb, to clarify for you the talk of NY, I confused my book I just finished reading with this book as far as where it was taking place and mentioned NY. 

Ginny
Quote
And this makes me wonder about ageing in general...this loss of activities that we once thought nothing of going to, and which we enjoy, the "benches" in our own lives we enjoy participating in. How many of those activities  depend on our driving our own car?  Taking a bus after dark does not appeal to me, (but to be honest I don't live on any bus route way out here),  and they're both a lot older than I am. This one thing makes me think that retirement centers do have a place.  They provide transportation and other interesting people to talk to and be with, and things to do.  I do think that's important, do you?

I wonder how much this one thing: GETTING AROUND, matters in the overall scheme of retirement issues?

I have to share with you my family friend Mariyln, who I mentioned in my earlier post, who a year ago began living in an elderly center who had a birthday yesterday at the center.  We were first having a lunch for her at a very nice restaurant, but she did not end up coming.  She has gotten so comfortable in her new environment she did not want to leave, not to mention she had the party to look forward to later which was a huge bash.  Here are a few pics I want to share to give you an idea of what their "benches" are like for gathering at the center, and how so many family and friends had the entire "boardwalk" so to speak to celebrate her special day with her.

http://s1382.photobucket.com/user/Marie_Patterfritz_Reinhart/media/19274889_10154845278487523_959442439899946902_n_zps8igulyu3.jpg.html?sort=3&o=3

http://s1382.photobucket.com/user/Marie_Patterfritz_Reinhart/media/19417499_10154845280137523_2771867152371831586_o_zpsoriffcyc.jpg.html?sort=3&o=2

http://s1382.photobucket.com/user/Marie_Patterfritz_Reinhart/media/19390580_10154845279672523_391948366503931134_o_zpsiluaub3x.jpg.html?sort=3&o=1

Marilyn has always been a very independent woman.  She was a nurse until retirement, owns a huge home on a beautiful lake in Michigan just an hour away from where she lives in Ohio.  Since moving into the center she has now become so comfortable with the activities, people, surroundings etc., that she has not been leaving as much as she used to.  Her family is more than happy to pick her up and bring her back, but they decided to have the party at the center since she did not want to leave.  This concerned them a bit, but it made me wonder......... in ageing do the elderly become more resistant to leaving their places of comfort?  I know my Grandmother rarely got out of her house and visited as she aged, we all came to visit her.  If my Mom could talk her into coming to our house she would get fidgety and want to go home.  But then I read where so many of you members are still traveling aboard and moving to other states and it seems not all elderly do need and want that level of comfort.  I wonder where I will fall in this in a few years, considering we are thinking of selling our home after being here since 1984.

Ginny, I do believe the "getting around" as we age has EVERYTHING to do with where we will live, and how much activities we will be able to participate in.

 
 
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #144 on: June 22, 2017, 11:57:58 AM »
As Bellamarie said in an earlier post - so many topics in this chapter - I like Abe's eulogy saying, Shmuel was "a man whose religion was the brotherhood of all people" not only for the thought but, how well it described Shmuel. This thought was an extension of, on page 73 when he says about the perpetrators of the "grievous blow", "They lost their humanity, we lost only our people and our way of life."

And it fits that Shmuel should think he is an agnostic - if he accepted and believed in the God described by many, he could not question and for Shmuel he questioned everything - as the author says, "He was a man searching, always searching in everything that went on for what life is about." 

bellamarie

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #145 on: June 22, 2017, 12:14:39 PM »
Before we leave this chapter I must make a note of each of the fantastic quotes Shmuel and Myerhoff gave us to ponder in our lives:

pg. 41  "Don't try to make them (people) stand still for your convenience.  You don't ever know them.  Let people surprise you.  This likewise you could do concerning yourself."

pg. 42  "Many people believe taking their picture captures their soul, and taking a life story is even more threatening."

pg. 44   "A coat is not a piece of cloth only.  The tailor is connected to the one who wears it an he should not forget it."
"The mind must be alive when you sew, if you are in a good shop or bad.  The outside conditions do not apply.  You must bring it
 up from the inside, looking always for a way to express yourself."


pg. 47  " The man who doesn't like his work is a slave, a slave to boredom..... in my life I have never been bored.  If you cannot tell a story to yourself when you are sewig, your are lost anyway.  The work has no beginning and no end, but the story is told, it goes on in the head.  A needle goes in and out.  You hold a thread in your fingers.  It goes to the garment, to the fingers, to the one who wears the garment, all connected.  This is what matters, not whether you are paid for what you do."

pg. 48  "It is a fact of life to be hurt by your children.  It doesn't matter how good they are.  That must be accepted, so if you have only your children in life, you will have only pain.  And after the children__it's still no-man's-land on the other side."

pg.  49 "Only life itself is sacred, not a nation."

pg.  54  " But people are formed by their passions, in the same ways, no matter how small or big is the place they live."

pg.  57  "I would rather see life in a way that is full of color, also full of shade, because without the shade we don't have the color."

pg.  64  " You know we have a saying, 'Az ikh ve zayn vi er, ver vet zayn vi ikh?"  Translated that means, "If I should be someone else, who would be me?"

pg.  67  "We boys would make a similar equation with drinking tea"The spoon, that is the man, the glass the woman.  We bring them together.  That's a union, so with the Lord and Israel."

pg.  71  "When you change your place, you change your luck."

pg.  73  "Although Hitler committed suicide, it was actually mankind who committed suicide, and this can never be undone."
"They lost their humanity, we lost only our people and our way of life."

pg.  75  "We must stay involved to the last minute."

pg.  76  "Shmuel was like a fine cloak, everything well-stitched together, good strong seams, cloth not fine but not cheap, long-lasting.  Himself, he was also like a needle-sharp, practical, quick, jabbing people sometimes because that was necessary.  He was a little man with a big history behind him."

"He made anything that was ordinary into something special in this way." 
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

so P bubble

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #146 on: June 22, 2017, 02:09:43 PM »
Ginny, I was born in the Belgian Congo - Zaire - now Democratic Republic of Congo. So my mother tongue is French.

About retirement homes - they do not attract me much: I much prefer being in a younger surrounding if possible!
But lately I have come to realize it does suit some persons.
I have a neighbor who lost his wife about 5y ago.  He always was a difficult man but  he became irascible, and unbearable rude. The he went downhill and was a public danger driving.  He was particularly scary when parking parallel to my car. One day he even parked so close that I could not even open the door, not even mentioning that I need  a wide space to access it with my wheelchair (and there are bold  white lines drawn on the pavement). My daughter asked him to move his car - he refused and said: you can call the police, I am not moving. etc. etc.
To cut it short, I did mention it to social services and they arranged for him to go every morning to a club similar to the one in our story.
You would not believe how the company of others, the entertainment, the meals he receive, all that made a drastic change.  Now he dresses properly, shave, and wait on time downstairs for the transport to take him.

Bellamaria - thanks for elaborating on the changes in the Catholic church.  It sounded so different from the school run by nuns where I did all my schooling.

.. in ageing do the elderly become more resistant to leaving their places of comfort?
 
This is certainly true for me. It tires me to travel now, although I liked it very much in the past. I still wish I could go around the world and visit the many friends I have  all over
                           
                     


Jonathan

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #147 on: June 22, 2017, 03:37:58 PM »
Thank you, Bellamarie. Fifteen super quotes. Is it any wonder that Myerhoff found him irrisistable and gave him a whole chapter. And yet I think Shmuel was a very confused old man. Almost as if the author is saying: 'this is what age can do to one.'

Shmuel himself admits: "I am finding myself carried back and back...I cannot  say goodbye to all that'...and we get a glorious picture of long ago (p73) What can you say about someone who felt that the needle was the greatest invention ever? And the thing he was most proud of? He never, in all his life, crossed a picket line. And Rebecca, his wife, is still working with migrant workers and has no time for The Center, where Shmuel himself is a persona non grata. Everything about this story is so Jewish. Just as Shmuel would have it.

hongfan

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #148 on: June 23, 2017, 07:25:24 AM »
”Everything about this story is so Jewish

Jonathan, what do you mean by "so Jewish"?

ginny

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #149 on: June 23, 2017, 07:46:39 AM »
Jonathan, what a provocative statement, And yet I think Shmuel was a very confused old man. Almost as if the author is saying: 'this is what age can do to one.'   You always astound me.

I read that last night because I have to go out early today and I like to think about what you've all said for a while.

Is this the reason you feel that way?

What can you say about someone who felt that the needle was the greatest invention ever? And the thing he was most proud of? He never, in all his life, crossed a picket line. And Rebecca, his wife, is still working with migrant workers and has no time for The Center, where Shmuel himself is a persona non grata. Everything about this story is so Jewish. Just as Shmuel would have it.

I don't see him that way, and what you said is a terrific point. But why do I hear Frank Sinatra singing?  I don't like Frank  Sinatra and never did.



For what is a man, what has he got
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way

I'll tell you what I see. He's near the end (actually he's kind of playing out the song in it's entirety, he's facing the final curtain, etc. I just noticed that. )  "My friend, I'll make it clear, I'll state my case of which I'm certain..."


I see a man who is taking stock of his life and making something of what he has done.  Forced to leave his beloved home, move to a new country, and to take up a trade to make a living in a new world, he took what he was given and made, to him, a world out of it.  Bloom where you are planted? Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all  thy might?

He might have been a tailor, like so many other Jewish immigrants, but he was a good one. He that is faithful in little is faithful in much.  His needle connected worlds, the person who made the garment and the person who wore it. He was proud of the work the did and he never betrayed that work by crossing a picket line. It's a statement of ethics and honor.

If he does have children, they have hurt him. Probably because of his unbending ways, or what he sees as his life ethic. He's got his scripture, he's got his wife, he has what he needs. He's got enough to sing in the shower.  He's looking at what he's managed to do over his entire lifetime and he's found what he feels proudest of having accomplished in that small paragraph you mentioned. He  keeps remembering his father and his homeland and his past.  I think that's normal for a person at the end of their lives, I hope I don't know that yet, but I've seen that a lot.

He's taken the sum of his own existence and found it good: he's still got his own integrity: he hasn't sold out.

Now the $64,000 question IS:  IS that foolish? IS that enough?

THAT is a question for all of us. What do you all think?






ginny

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #150 on: June 23, 2017, 07:48:26 AM »
I've got to leave now but I have a lot more to say  about what you've all said. I'm thinking about Bubble now (ZAIRE? I've got to hear more about that!)  and traveling,  Bellamarie's friend not wanting to leave her new retirement home, and the issues of independence.  I love these book  discussions, I really do. I'll be back tonight.

Bellamarie, I am not able to see the photos, would you please use the URL's that start [IMG ] which  Photobucket  provides and post them here? If they are too big I can resize them later on when I get back in. I'd like to see them.

bellamarie

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #151 on: June 23, 2017, 09:56:19 AM »
Jonahan
Quote
And yet I think Shmuel was a very confused old man. Almost as if the author is saying: 'this is what age can do to one.'

I saw quite the opposite of Shmuel.  He is very intelligent, clear minded and reminiscing at the end, of all that he held near and dear to his heart.

Oh Ginny I could never have found the profound words you did about Shmuel, but I am so grateful you did!  What a PERFECT song to fit to Shmuel..... I Did It My WaY!!

I found him as a man of integrity, loyal to himself, proud of his accomplishment of becoming a tailor in the New World which provided his wife and son a good home, and is still helping by sending the grandchildren money.  He is/was a man who had wisdom to know what he has lived through and to make his life better in spite of it.  The fact he was willing to sit with Myerhoff, to share his story, shows what a wonderful human being he is/was, and at the end this just moved me beyond words...

pg. 74  "We'll see.  Now, maidele, go home with all this package of stories.  I'm tired."  Shmuel had never used an affectionate term to me before.  I was touched by it, but remembering his discomfort with my "exaggeration,"  I refrained from telling him how much all this meant to me.

pg. 75  Three days later Rebekah called to tell me that Shmuel had died peacefully in his sleep two nights before.

We can't all travel the world, we can't all learn many different languages, trades and skills, we can't all do the things that others look at and say, "Wow they led a fulfilled life!"  Some of us are happy with our one skill, our one place we call home, our family and faith.  That's what I saw in Shmuel.  Rebekah is his yin to his yang.  Yes, this story is so Jewish, it is a Jewish community of elders who have come to the United States, and share their Jewish heritage and faith, that's the beauty of this story.  I am so honored to get to know more about them and their history and culture through this book and discussion.  It's only chapter one and I am already overwhelmed and excited to learn more.

Bubble
Quote
I much prefer being in a younger surrounding if possible!

I couldn't agree with you more,  I love the vitality of the youth.  I went to a Farmer's Market yesterday with my three granddaughters 21, 14, & 12 yrs old and we walked in the rain, giggled, searched for special flower vases to put our little succulents in, took selfies, and bought kettle popcorn, and I even purchased a baseball cap my granddaughter Kenzie showed me how to wear properly.  Who knew I thought you just place it on your head!    :o ;D  I love my family & friends who are my age as well, but something about being around the youth makes me forget what age I am.  An elderly family friend kept saying to me in the flower shop, "You are so cute, you can't possibly be their grandmother."  I'm supposing she saw that youthfulness come out of me, from being in the presence of my three beautiful young granddaughters.  We all went back to their house and danced around the pool deck with my other granddaughter Zoey who is only 6 yrs old to the song, "I've Got That Sunshine In My Pocket."
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

bellamarie

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #152 on: June 23, 2017, 11:36:56 AM »
I will attempt to post the pics and thank you Ginny for resizing, I have not gotten that part down yet.

This is what I suppose they would consider their outside boardwalk


She was surrounded by tons of family & friends to celebrate her birthday.


A very happy 88 years young Marilyn in her elderly center.







“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #153 on: June 23, 2017, 12:06:02 PM »
Seems we are each finding in the story of Shmuel something different - for me he is profound - what has haunted me so that I've been struggling, remembering the parts of my life that I prefer to get behind me and get on with having control, is "frozen into speechlessness" ... several times that has been my life - once I did not physically run but believed and really believed my body disappeared and all that was left were my eyes - and next, instead of running I walked but made sure I walked on an angle as if the wind was blowing my eyes then when I was too far into the vacant lot had to figure out a way to make it look like the wind blew my eyes back to the street - there were other times including as a young adult - where I may have not caused the death of another, out of fear I was not as forthright and brave as I wish and was not able to protect - Oh I do not want to go on - but this aspect of the story of Shmuel is a memory struggle. Reading further when Shmuel says the perpetrators of horror "lost their humanity" was a wonderful explanation that I had not heard or come to that thought myself - like the sun coming up in the morning with all the intensity of a red firebrand that is the hot hot summer sun searing windows red and chasing dark-blue shadows that statement seared many a memory.  Ah so... who knew... a tattered old used book would bring me wisdom. So yes, to me Shmeul is profound.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #154 on: June 23, 2017, 12:06:16 PM »
As to Jewishness, not sure since there are so many views of being Jewish - Shmeul reminds me of a retired collage professor who never made big dollars but whose life is richer than those in retirement who live on golf courses, or who spend most of their time in country clubs or on their yachts.

As to various views of being Jewish - I live in a part of town with several Jewish families on every street - only 5 streets away is a very large Jewish center, Oak covered acres of several buildings, indoor swimming pool, running trails etc. It is where we often have neighborhood meetings and where the political leaders speak to those of us in this area.

Over the years there has been a huge cultural change - For years previewing homes as a Real Estate Broker the Jewish families who purchased had to have an extra large dining room where as, the houses for sale, the dinning table sat minimum a dozen and more often 16 - and there was always the mezuzah at the front door.

Earlier, as a young women I was doing art - there were many neighbors in the art classes held in a nearby art museum and so we chatted and were in art exhibits together and their children were in scouts as were mine - typical suburban moms. Then about 10 years ago I have no idea what happened, maybe there was a new rabbi - but all of a sudden all these women dressed differently in long black skirts and white blouses, and put on a huge amount of weight. No longer did I see them at the local hair dresser where we all had our perms and nails done and the men, even their young sons, no longer in jeans but where wearing black with some sort of vest like garment with strings hanging on two sides wearing also tall black hats. Everyone was walking and one of the two local grocery stores, each part of a large chain, devoted a section of the store to kosher foods and NONE of the women I knew for years would acknowledge me any longer.

Then observing - an added phenomenon - about the same time as this public show of their faith we had a big influx of folks from India (High Tech towns have this happen) and within a few years we have had a small but steady stream of refugees from the Middle East - down the steep hill (I live on top of a mesa) is the middle school and this group of folks who I assume are Muslims but never asked, have their service on Saturday and they arrive in the most glorious colored silks and veils and the men wearing tunics and jeweled hats - and so walking down the hill past the middle school or using the school yard - (which is not the typical size but several acres that hold a track, a football field without bleaches - several soft ball fields, an outdoor swimming pool, the gardens and still lots and lots of grass area) - on Friday evening we have the now very Jewish folks in their special clothing and then on Saturday morning we have the Asian (India is considered an Asian nation) and the few refugees who are in more somber colors but still exotic dress (most of the Syrian and Afghan refugees in Austin are Christian) walking down to their service - they also shop in the HEB where the section is devoted to Kosher however, they seem to shop late at night when the store is practically empty (11: to midnight) - Talk about the divide among nations - I can do nothing but laugh at how we all cling to our 'tribe' and frankly, I understand but what I do not understand is the need to pridefully display to the community that you are different because of religion rather than, wanting to be a part of the whole so that all I can do is roll my eyes.

I guess it is no different than those who dress a certain way because of their job and then carry that dress into their daily life so that the work identifies the community and everyone shares the way of dress but I am having trouble seeing this over religion that separates - I remember that being an issue for nuns and that all changed during Vatican II - oh I can see the rabbi just as the priest and I am not sure what the religious leader is called among those who attend their service on Saturday but, for the whole religious community to identity dress???... because in this area, now the Jewish women, who no longer work outside the home keep to this dress 7 days a week. Amazing. Even more amazing is there are some Jewish woman I know who live in other areas of town and who do attend service here at the center near my home but who did not change their way of dress and we still talk and see each other as we always have chatting about our children and grands etc. strange... and so there appears to be many ways that Jewish people live and express their Jewishness.

Annie

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #155 on: June 23, 2017, 02:12:38 PM »
Oh Barb! What a thought provoking post! Beautifully presented!  Have you ever asked your old Jewish friends why they dress differently from the stricter Jewish Attendees at the service? Since they all go to the service together?  Do they have different beliefs?  Do they all observe Kosher practices?  Do they dissagree about keeping Kosher in their kitchens?

I was wondering if we all question our past and make judgements about what we did over the years? 

Bu'bl and Bella,
I love having my grans around me frequently and even though I am moving to an independent living place, I have already asked for rides to all local football games plus all the band concerts for the next two years.  I have one more band member to watch graduate from high school! I love my life🤓❤️❤️!  One of my future plans is to be a volunteer helping to take the assisted living folks on their day trips. That's a day out for me,too!  My brother has dimentia and last week he was taken to the Chilldren's Museum in Indy.  My SIL went along and took lots of pics and sent them to me immediately. It was so nice to see all the folks having a good time.
 
Last week, my brother and I  spent much time on the phone, watching the Stanley Cup playoffs and sharing our memories of going to hockey games as kids.  It was a warm expedience! I live in Columbus, Ohio and he's in Indy!



"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." Robert Southey

bellamarie

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #156 on: June 23, 2017, 04:30:19 PM »
BarbStA., 
Quote
Earlier, as a young women I was doing art - there were many neighbors in the art classes held in a nearby art museum and so we chatted and were in art exhibits together and their children were in scouts as were mine - typical suburban moms. Then about 10 years ago I have no idea what happened, maybe there was a new rabbi - but all of a sudden all these women dressed differently in long black skirts and white blouses, and put on a huge amount of weight, no longer did I see them at the local hair dresser where we all had our perms and nails done and the men, even their young sons, no longer in jeans but where wearing black with some sort of vest like garment with strings hanging on two sides wearing also tall black hats, everyone was walking and one of the two local grocery stores, each part of a large chain, devoted a section of the store to kosher foods and NONE of the women I knew for years would acknowledge me any longer.

This truly saddened me reading the fact the women no longer would acknowledge you.  Have you ever tried to ask why this change happened?   Thank you for sharing all the differences in Jewish behavior and practices you experience and see in your area.  We have a Muslim family living across the street from us, for the first few years they never spoke to anyone.  Recently the young wife with two small children has been talking walks with them, the little 2 yr. old boy has been very friendly to me and my neighbor.  He actually went up to my neighbor lady, said hi and gave her a hug.  The mother does not speak much English, but has attempted to speak with us as best as she can.  My neighbor and I later wondered why the the change in behavior. I know the husband goes back to Syria staying for long lengths of time, so maybe she just wants someone to converse with for a moment or two.

Annie, Good for you for preparing your transportation to all the activities once you move into your independent living center.  The fact that you will remain driving is wonderful.  I'm so sorry to hear your brother is experiencing dementia.  It's nice the two of you were able to talk about things that happened as children.  Marilyn was experiencing some dementia, this is why the family decided it best to have her move into the elderly center.  They are concerned her medication may be causing her some anxiety, which may account for her not wanting to leave or go to her lake any more. 

Yes, Barb, I agree, I see Shmuel as profound, and the thought of him being a retired professor rather suits him, but I could see him not especially liking that, considering how he constantly told Myerhoff she exaggerated.  He was proud to be a tailor and very knowledged in his Torah.  Why do I get the impression he would not have been a big fan of organized education.  Maybe it was the remark he made about his son, himself and his own father.  He was very comfortable with his choice to be a tailor. 

pg.  48  "It's not a disgrace to have a life like this,"  added Shmuel.  "My son a Ph.D, from me, a tailor, son of a tinsmith.  It could be worse.  All of this we have arranged and none of us have ever crossed a picket line."

Besides the fact he was a bit of a rebel, seemed to see everyone else as ignorant, and saw  himself as her refers to on pg. 50  "My presence pierces them like a polished arrow."

One thing I can say, I have a feeling had Shmuel put his mind and desire to it, he would have been a great college professor with much knowledge and wisdom to share.
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

Jonathan

  • Posts: 1436
Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #157 on: June 23, 2017, 05:44:34 PM »
What's 'so Jewish' about the book? I don't know, hongfan. I'm not qualified to say. It's my impression that the author, as an anthropologist is trying to find an answer to that in her study. Jews remind each other that's it's tough to be a Jew. Said in Yiddish it's hard to tell if it's meant as a confession or a kvetch. But as Bellamarie says, it's only Chapter 1. There's more to come. And Ginny is right in hearing the echo of 'I did it my way.

Shmuel seems to be a difficult character. He has enemies at the Center. They spit at him. They throw curses at him. 'He's no good. He's a Jew-hater,' says Hannah.

i don't like thinking of him as confused, but the alternative would be to see him as a fool - in the biblical sense...'the fool sayeth in his heart there is no God.' But Shmuel is no fool, obviously.

'You can see this is no observant home', he tells the author...'My son is a better Jew than me.' And then on the next page: 'It is a fact of life to be hurt by your children.' The son, it seems stays away and Shmuel and Rebekah never get to see their grandsons.

Then again, Jewish politics are incredibly complicated.

Does it seem strange that it took three days for the author to get news of Shmuels death? And why would she make a point of describing Rebekah as sitting 'composed and dry-eyed' at the memorial, while the eulogist was fighting back his tears? That observation was meant to be noticed.

BarbStAubrey

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  • Life is finding the magic that makes our soul soar
    • Two Sisters and a Hound!
Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #158 on: June 23, 2017, 06:50:22 PM »
I've noticed this is typical of most older widows - I wrote a poem about the face and composure of my dear friend after her husband of just over 60 years passed...

Receiving At His Wake

Her eyes, (tutelary spirits)
Guard drifting sky webs,
Drink mist drops of memory.
Her threaded face ebbs
Inward; pale lips mime
The speaking, her reality,
The murmurs of breathed
Eulogies that generously
Float while she sits erect
Pretending to reflect
Their ache, as her worried
Heart hunts a lost butterfly.

JoanK

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #159 on: June 23, 2017, 08:34:34 PM »
I don't have the book, but Path says I must look in, and comment, since there is so much close to my experiences.  am not Jewish, but my husband was, and  have lived in several places that were primarily Jewish, including Israel and Brooklyn.  hooped, skipped and jumped through earlier posts, missing a lot, but picking up some nuggets along the way.

Jonathan's comment "this book is so Jewish" :what does it mean? There is an (Ashkenazi) Jewish American culture: hard to describe, but you recognize it's flavor when you see (or read)it. it may include Yiddish words, like kvetch, but  think it's predominant trait is it's sense of humor. (it's no accident that so many comedians are Jewish.) t is a unique sense of humor that laughs, not only at things that are funny, but at the tragedy and irony of life, and always laughs with you, not at you (we are all in this crazy soup of life together - i 'd rather have mama's chicken soup).

To  get a sense of it, and learn some Yiddish at the same time. try Leo Rosten's book "The Joys of Yiddish." (I see it's been "updated -- don't know if that's good or bad).

r read Sholem  Aleichem.