Saturday, January 27, 2007

Saturday Feb 2

Enjoyed Installation Banquet
of Maccabean Camp at
Greenberg's Roumanian
Casino, and in company
of Miss Weisman.

Sent home today $5.00


Matt's Notes

This must have been quite a night for Papa. Not only was he installed as an officer of a B'nai Zion chapter he helped found, he did it in front of Miss Weisman, a woman who seemed to be an object of long-smoldering affection.

I wonder if the "longing to see Miss Weisman" after a "two-year lapse" he spoke of two days earlier (when she was a supporting player in the most dramatic and bittersweet episode of Papa's year) was in part triggered by the approaching installation banquet. Perhaps the prospect of attending such an event without a companion attenuated his sense of loneliness and made him need to see someone important to him, or perhaps, in inviting "Miss Weisman" to see him celebrated and honored, he sought some kind of denouement to their romantic relationship.

Either way (if I'm right) I don't think he knew why the urge to see her struck two days before the banquet; it just welled up and, as a romanticist, he saw any resulting satisfaction or poignancy as part of life's natural theatrical sweep.


Additional Notes

I've been trying to figure out what kind of rituals, speeches and food the Maccabean installation banquet would have featured, but I don't have much information yet. Since it took place in Greenberg's Roumanian Casino, about which I have no information, my mind turns naturally to Sammy's Roumanian Steakhouse as a point of reference. Thus, I think the banquet must have been a crowded, noisy affair, with schmaltz on the plates and schmaltz in the air, as it were. Then again, B'nai Zion's mission was serious and important to its members, so maybe the night had both sober and boisterous moments.

I did find one Jewish banquet menu from the 1920's at the New York Historical Society, but it's for the Temple Beth El Golden Jubilee Banquet and Ball, which, as a major celebration for a well-endowed Reform (i.e. liberal) synagogue, would have been very unlike Papa's event. The menu certainly doesn't reflect what Papa would have eaten at his own grassroots organization's banquet (for one, it appears to contain both dairy and meat dishes, which would not have been kosher, both literally and figuratively, for Papa).

Anyway, since I have the information I'll stick it up here for your enjoyment:

Temple Beth El Golden Jubilee Banquet and Ball at Hotel Biltmore

February 16, 1924

Fruit Cocktail

Cream of fresh Mushrooms a L'infanta

Celery - Salted Almonds - Olives

Cassolette of Sea Food Thermidor

Barised Sweetbread Montglas

String Beans au gratin - Potatoes Louisette

Royal Squab on Toast

Salad Palm Beach

Bombe Praline Fraisette - Cakes

Demi Tasse

Note that Temple Beth El that later consolidated with Temple Emanu-El, which occupies a much-admired building on East 65th Street.

No comments:

Post a Comment