Page 140 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 35

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
Even in Russia Nechame’s family served as host to many lead­
ers. Chaim Weizmann, Zvi Hirsch Masliansky, Shmarya Levin,
Nahum Sokolow, and other famous leaders visited at one time
or another at her father’s home. I t is therefore easy to under­
stand why in the Boston kitchen, hanging in a place of honor,
was a portra it of Theodor Herzl. When Masliansky spoke in
behalf of Zionism in Faneuil Hall (the cradle of Liberty) Charles
with both his parents attended. I t was a great occasion, and as
they left Jacob said, “T he ir ways are not my ways, bu t their
goals are my goals, too.”
Dos Yidishes Tagelb la tt
and
Der Forverts
were read daily
with tremendous zest by the family. They were both genuine
sources of Americanization, with articles on United States his­
tory and customs, with recipes stressing the use of vegetables,
and there was even reporting of court cases involving Jews.
“Alte Bobbe, my great-grandmother,” says Charles now, “was
in her middle eightees when she came to the United States. Her
zest for living was unconquerable. ‘Imagine a country,’ she
would say, ‘where there are sidewalks in the Jewish quarter.
Imagine a country where one doesn’t get off the sidewalk when
passing a policeman.’ She was flexible and remarkably modern
in her total adaptability.”
And Charles continues, “Bobbe, my grandmother, was all
mother, in contrast to Alte Bobbe, who, in addition to being a
mother of thirteen children (three husbands) also was a woman
of profound insight and understanding of the changing world.
All of us saw black persons for the first time in Boston. Alte
Bobbe, who had the curiosity of a young girl, always talked to
the blacks and also to the Irish neighbors in her Yiddish-English.
All people fascinated her.”
THE POLONSKY SAGA
Undoubtedly the best known and most significant of Angoff’s
writings is the story of the Polonsky family, as told in the ten
volumes (there will be more) known as the Polonsky Saga.
In to them has been distilled the “haimishness” of those forma­
tive years. T he warm characters, the family devotion and loyalty,
and the deep love of Judaism are all there. “Journey to the
Dawn,” which begins the series, bridges the Russian years and
the early years in the United States. T he Harvard years are