Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Saturday June 28

Went this morning to
Shapiro, and went to
services in a Borough Park
Temple, later visited with
him Harry Eisenkraft
and winded up the day
in Coney Island where
I went to the evening services
in a synagogue there


Matt's Notes

Papa hasn't mentioned his Saturday worship habits that much throughout his diary, so I'm not sure if he typically went to synagogue twice on Saturdays or if this day was an exception for some reason. As far as I can tell it was not a Jewish holiday (Shevuoth was three weeks earlier) or a notable milestone in his mourning process (his father died five weeks ago). If you can enlighten me in any way, please write or drop a comment.

We do know the locations of Coney Island synagogues of the 20's thanks to the fantastic Coney Island History Project (via a tip on the message boards) so do yourself a favor and check out some of the site's maps and information. For a number of reasons I think Papa went to the synagogue at West 31st street (listed on this map as Center Bikur Cholem) with his friends Shapiro and Eisenkraft, though I'd like to confirm this somehow.

Also among the throngs at Coney were 5,000 or so Democratic Convention delegates on an outing organized and led by New York's Mayor Hyland himself (according to the New York Times, they were "escorted by the Police, Fire and Street Cleaning Departments' bands to Steeplechast and Luna parks" among other distractions). They probably wished they could have stayed out there, too. The Convention proceedings at at Madison Square Garden had become rather sticky, due in part to 80-plus degree temperatures but mostly to the continuing battle over the influence of the Klan on the party platform. With balloting about to start, the Klan-induced schism was dominating all other Convention story lines, and delegates were digging in for a long fight.



Shows you what I know. My mother writes:

Religious Jews say Kaddish for the entire year, morning and night. When Papa died, Cousin Jeanie and Aunt Clara gave money to some organization on the lower east side, where aged men say Kaddish for the designated person, particularly if they are unfortunate enough to have no sons to do it.
I just remembered the name of the lower East side organization that said Kaddish for Papa. It was called The Old Sages of Israel.


The Coney Island History Project also has a photo of a brochure touting Coney Island's role as an entertainment destination for Democratic Convention Delegates.


Update 10/30/07 - After The New York Times Sunday City section published a story on Papa's Diary Project on October 14th, I got an e-mail from the grandson of the above-mentioned Harry Eisenkraft. It looks like Papa's father was the brother of Harry's mother (making Papa and Harry cousins and the man who called me my own distant cousin). The photo below shows Harry Eisenkraft and his wife, Jennie, on their wedding day.

1 comment:

  1. You are third cousins.

    The ritual of saying kaddish, with a minyan, for the year after someone dies, is difficult and yet healing. During the year after my father died, I stood up in shul and mouthed some words, but I simply could not read the words of the kaddish. Not even in transliteration.

    It's okay to get mad at G-d, because S/He will forgive. And I can say kaddish now.