The day started with a walk to Pumpernickels where I bought my first selection of post-Passover bagels. I ate one, with a cup of coffee, and I must admit that I longed for the Strait’s Whole Wheat Matzahs that I have been eating for the past week. So much so that this evening I opened our final box of matzahs and ate one with dinner. The bagels will sit in the freezer for a while.
This afternoon, I went to my first Nationals game of the year, hoping to witness their fourth consecutive victory over Cincinnati. I was of course disappointed with the 8-5 11th inning loss. I had heard that there had been some changes at the stadium this year, but if so, none were visible to me. I did notice a large, new building being constructed just south of the stadium. I believe it will be residential. I also stopped, before the game, at the “Festival Grounds”, just north of the stadium, bordering Half Street, where you can get a drink (vodkas, hard ciders, beers, water, but no sodas) before the game, and can buy something to eat, spending a little less than inside the stadium. from one of the three food carts. They are Surfisde ( a Glover Park restaurant) where you can get fish or chicken tacos, a Hallal Grill cart, which has a large variety of choices, and Hot People, which appears to be Hawaiian, and which has fewer choices, but all of them looking interesting.
At Hot People, I ordered the “sassy” chicken with mango sauce, served with rice and home fried potatoes. The person behind me asked how big the portions were and the vendor told him that they were large enough for a meal and that if he ate it all, and was still hungry, he could get more at no cost. I thought this rather a generous offer (the customer was a pretty big guy), but after I got my food and sat down to eat it, I realized that it was not good at all, and that there was for that reason no chance that anyone would want any more.
The vendor, who looked like he may have been from Hawaii, asked me “how long will today’s game be?” I told him that it would probably be two and a half to three and a half hours. He said “wow, it’s a long game today”. Weird.
Tonight was a Study Group night, and the topic was supposed to be Jewish Americans after the civil war. We watched a portion of a PBS program, which followed the Solomons of Solomonville, Arizona, Sam Bibo of Acoma Mesa, New Mexico, and Wyatt Earp among other westerners, and also described the Plum Street Temple in Cincinnati, and the Seligman family’s unfortunate experience in Saratoga Springs, New York, where they were told that Jews were no longer welcome. This was a crucial event in American Jewish history, the first time anything like this had ever happened. Also learned that three Jews (father and two sons) died at the Alamo, and that there were many Jews living in California, in small towns – even more than in New York towns in the 19th century.
As to Rabbi Isaac Mayer Weiss of the Plum Street Temple, we talked about his attempts to create an American form of Judaism, with rituals not too different from Protestant rituals, and his development of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and Hebrew Union College to support this development. We learned aobut Kaufman Kohler and his Pittsburgh Platform, to give this American Judaism a creed (which would include tolerance, working to repair the world, and anti-Zionism. It was only when the Russians started to come in to the country that the development of a single American form of Judaism became impossible.