On a royal birthday every house must fly a flag, or the owner would be dragged to a police station and be fined twenty-five rubles.
You heard on all sides that the brightest Jewish children were turned down if the examining officers did not like the turn of their noses.
No, the czar did not want us in the schools.
One positive command he gave us: You shall love and honor your emperor. In every congregation a prayer must be said for the czar’s health, or the chief of police would close the synagogue.
We are not born all at once, but by bits. The body first, and the spirit later; and the birth and growth of the spirit, in those who are attentive to their own inner life, are slow and exceedingly painful.
There was one public school for boys, and one for girls, but Jewish children were admitted in limited numbers – only ten to a hundred; and even the lucky ones had their troubles.