If education, culture, the higher life were shining things to be worshiped from afar, he had still a means left whereby he could draw one step nearer to them.
His struggle for a bare living left him no time to take advantage of the public evening school. In time he learned to read, to follow a conversation or lecture; but he never learned to write correctly; and his pronunciation remains extremely foreign to this day.
The apex of my civic pride and personal contentment was reached on the bright September morning when I entered the public school.
As we moved along in a little procession, I was delighted with the illumination of the streets. So many lamps, and they burned until morning, my father said, and so people did not need to carry lanterns.
The czar was always sending us commands – you shall not do this and you shall not do that – till there was very little left that we might do, except pay tribute and die.
The czar always got his dues, no matter if it ruined a family.
You went up to be examined with the other Jewish children, your heart heavy about that matter of your nose.
The first meal was an object lesson of much variety. My father produced several kinds of food, ready to eat, without any cooking, from little tin cans that had printing all over them.
Our mothers are racked with the pains of our physical birth; we ourselves suffer the longer pains of our spiritual growth.
In the evening of the first day my father conducted us to the public baths.