Children of the Ghetto eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 750 pages of information about Children of the Ghetto.

Hannah pressed her face to his in silence.  She could not speak.  She had not strength to undeceive him further, to tell him she had no care for trivial forms.  Besides, in the flush of gratitude and surprise at her father’s tolerance, she felt stirrings of responsive tolerance to his religion.  It was not the moment to analyze her feelings or to enunciate her state of mind regarding religion.  She simply let herself sink in the sweet sense of restored confidence and love, her head resting against his.

Presently Reb Shemuel put his hands on her head and murmured again: 
“May God make thee as Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah.”

Then he added:  “Go now, my daughter, and make glad the heart of thy mother.”

Hannah suspected a shade of satire in the words, but was not sure.

* * * * *

The roaring Sambatyon of life was at rest in the Ghetto; on thousands of squalid homes the light of Sinai shone.  The Sabbath Angels whispered words of hope and comfort to the foot-sore hawker and the aching machinist, and refreshed their parched souls with celestial anodyne and made them kings of the hour, with leisure to dream of the golden chairs that awaited them in Paradise.

The Ghetto welcomed the Bride with proud song and humble feast, and sped her parting with optimistic symbolisms of fire and wine, of spice and light and shadow.  All around their neighbors sought distraction in the blazing public-houses, and their tipsy bellowings resounded through the streets and mingled with the Hebrew hymns.  Here and there the voice of a beaten woman rose on the air.  But no Son of the Covenant was among the revellers or the wife-beaters; the Jews remained a chosen race, a peculiar people, faulty enough, but redeemed at least from the grosser vices, a little human islet won from the waters of animalism by the genius of ancient engineers.  For while the genius of the Greek or the Roman, the Egyptian or the Phoenician, survives but in word and stone, the Hebrew word alone was made flesh.



“Ignorant donkey-heads!” cried Pinchas next Friday morning.  “Him they make a Rabbi and give him the right of answering questions, and he know no more of Judaism,” the patriotic poet paused to take a bite out of his ham-sandwich, “than a cow of Sunday.  I lof his daughter and I tell him so and he tells me she lof another.  But I haf held him up on the point of my pen to the contempt of posterity.  I haf written an acrostic on him; it is terrible.  Her vill I shoot.”

“Ah, they are a bad lot, these Rabbis,” said Simon Wolf, sipping his sherry.  The conversation took place in English and the two men were seated in a small private room in a public-house, awaiting the advent of the Strike Committee.

“Dey are like de rest of de Community.  I vash my hands of dem,” said the poet, waving his cigar in a fiery crescent.

Project Gutenberg
Children of the Ghetto from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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