Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wednesday Nov 26

Visited Miss Schwarz during
her Shiva mourning, tried
to cheer them up.

Dist. Sisters & home


Matt's Notes

Miss Shwarz hasn't appeared in Papa's diary before, but if he called her "Miss" she was probably young and unmarried or maybe even someone he'd dated. Her "Shiva mourning," the tenseven-day period of intense mourning Jews traditionally observe after the death of a loved one (and more typically referred to as "sitting shiva") may have been for one of her siblings or parents. Papa, as we know, had sat shiva back in May after he received word of his father's death from the old country.

Though Papa was remarkably empathetic and caring, I wonder if his attempts to cheer up Miss Shwarz and her family suffered somewhat because he was far from over his own father's death; Papa struggled each day with the thoughts it raised about his own adulthood, his future in America, and his increasingly pronounced longing for a family of his own. Perhaps this need for family made his round of visits to his sisters' homes, a daily occurrence he usually didn't mention, seem significant enough to write about today. Perhaps it's also why he felt the need to visit the "Dist." (a.k.a. the "District," or Downtown Zionist Centre on St. Marks Place) where he'd lately found a surrogate family of sorts among his fellow Zionists.