Academic journal article Shofar

Café in Maplewood

Academic journal article Shofar

Café in Maplewood

Article excerpt

He sits tall in his highchair, arms above

his head, kicking his feet, smiling at us

as we pass him. A waiter stops clearing

a nearby, abandoned table of its

dishes and cups to wave hello, calling

him away from the spoonful of food his

mother proffers and the napkin in his

father's hand meant to wipe his mouth - and when

he laughs we all laugh with him, as if the

day has turned out to be a grand success

although it is just past noon. And I guess

it has, the room filled with people at lunch.

We hover about our young. We welcome

them into their world, as wonderful or

terrible as it can be. Even those

who outlived the camps (on their arms those blue,

simple numbers) would smile at me as they

turned away from their conversation, a

boy seated in the warm kitchen of his

grandmother, where above the stove on the

wall a framed doily read, "If contentment

is the theme, life's melody is sweet." She

had set out from Russia, a girl alone.

She landed at Ellis Island and made

her way to Chicago and then returned

to New York with a sick husband and four

children, to the shtetl of Brownsville

in Brooklyn, to Herzl Street named for the great

Zionist. …

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