Saturday, March 3, 2007

Sunday Mar 9

The unexpected happened
Brother Friedman's wife
died suddenly, and it was
my sad duty as a brother
of one camp to attend the
funeral, which depressed

I spent the evening at
Jack Zichlinsky's house


Matt's Notes

As noted earlier, Papa was an officer in a new chapter of the fraternal Order Sons of Zion (a.k.a. B'nai Zion) though this is the first time he referred to a fellow member as "Brother." Papa usually called his friends like Jack Zichlinsky (he of Sheepshead Bay) by name even if they were B'nai Zion members, so I wonder if Papa wasn't quite as close to Brother Freidman.

B'nai Zion functioned in part as a burial society (the rest of their charter included Zionist fund-raising, teaching Hebrew and providing life insurance) so maybe Papa went to Mrs. Freidman's funeral more out of official, "sad duty" than out of pure friendship. Jews require a minyan -- a group of ten or more men -- to say kaddish (the prayer for the dead) at a funeral. I expect B'nai Zion guaranteed such a quorum for the families of all its members, which may be the duty Papa refers to here.

Speaking of which, Papa noted the day before that he "found a message from Lemus" asking him to attend the funeral. This brings up a lot of little questions: How, exactly, did he find this note? Did Lemus slip it under Papa's door? Did he stick it in a mailbox? And who was Lemus? Was he an elected officer of Papa's B'nai Zion chapter charged with distributing notes under such circumstances? Was he the superintendent of Papa's building? Did people like Papa, who didn't have a phone at this time, typically communicate by dropping notes at their friends' and neighbors' apartments?


1 comment:

  1. Did you mention that Papa was a Cohen? All men have a duty to help form a minyan, but Cohens have a special duty. It's one of those strange things, they can't go near a dead body, but they're vital to the minyan that says Kaddish.