Monday, November 12, 2007

Wednesday Nov 12



Matt's Notes

It's taken a while, but I think I've finally figured out what Papa means by "District."

Earlier on in Papa's diary, "District" appeared as the official term for a neighborhood chapter of the Zionist Organization of America. Papa wrote accounts of his recruiting efforts for the flagging "First District" of the Z.O.A., he wrote separately about the Second and Third Districts, and in one case reported on a "rather stormy" meeting of the "3 down town districts at St. Marks Pl."

As we've recently learned, the "St. Marks Pl." meeting most likely took place at the Downtown Zionist Centre at 52 St. Marks Place, which Papa mentioned by name in his November 2nd entry. Now I'm starting to think that all of Papa's "District" meetings took place there. In fact, I'd wager he identified the Centre so closely with District meetings that he just started to call it "the District" for short. So, at this point in the diary, I think any mention of "The District" or "District" refers to the offices, meeting hall, or whatever kind of space was there at 52 St. Marks.

Since Papa doesn't describe a meeting or event in today's entry, he probably just dropped by "the District" after work to say hello, plan his recruiting efforts, or see if anyone needed help with anything. What did it look like inside? Was it filled with boxes of files and membership lists? Did volunteers cluster in a corner around a mimeograph machine, cranking out fliers, stuffing envelopes, and sharing cigarettes? Did they all wear coats because they kept the heat turned down to save money? Did Papa linger there because it felt like home?

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