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The Seven-Branched Candlestick The Schooldays of Young American Jew   By: (1890-1952)

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E text prepared by Bethanne M. Simms, Barbara Kosker, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team (http://www.pgdp.net)

THE SEVEN BRANCHED CANDLESTICK

The Schooldays of Young American Jew

by

GILBERT W. GABRIEL

New York Bloch Publishing Company, Inc. "The Jewish Book Concern" 1925

Copyright, 1917 Bloch Publishing Company

CONTENTS

I. BY WAY OF PROLOGUE 5

II. IN THE BEGINNING 16

III. FRIDAY NIGHT 25

IV. THE BOY AND THE SCHOOL 34

V. THE MILITARY ACADEMY 42

VI. MY STEERFORTH 51

VII. FRESHMAN YEAR 61

VIII. WITHIN THE GATES 70

IX. MY AUNT AND I 79

X. THE RULES OF THE GAME 88

XI. A MAN'S WORK 98

XII. THE HEART OF JUDEA 107

XIII. CHILD AND PARENT 116

XIV. AN UNGRATEFUL NEPHEW 125

XV. COLLEGE LIFE 135

XVI. THE HUN'S INVASION 144

XVII. MANY IMPULSES 154

XVIII. I STAND BUT NOT ASIDE 163

XIX. "BATTLE ROYAL" 172

XX. THE CANDLES ARE LIGHTED 181

The Seven Branched Candlestick

I

BY WAY OF PROLOGUE

"Years of Plenty" was the name an Englishman recently gave to a book of his school days. My own years of secondary school and college were different from his, by far, but no less full.

I shall only say by way of preface that they numbered seven. There were two of them at high school, one at a military school on the Hudson, and four at our city's university.

Seven in all. Because they were not altogether happy, I have no right to think of them as lean years. For each one of them meant much to me means as much now as I look back and am chastened and strengthened by their memory. Each is as a lighted candle in the dark of the past that I look back upon. And I like to imagine that, since there are seven of them, they are in the seven branched candlestick which is so stately and so reverent a symbol of my Faith.

For it was my school days which gave me that Faith.

Born a Jew, I was not one. And this I can blame on no person excepting myself. Before my parents' death, they had urged me, pleaded with me to go to Sunday school at our reformed synagogue, to attend the Saturday morning services, to study the lore, that I might be confirmed into the religion of my fathers. That they did not absolutely insist upon it was because they wanted me to come to my God gratefully, voluntarily, considering his worship an exercise of love, of gladness, and not a task of impatient duty. I know that it must have grieved them I know it now, even if I only half guessed it then in that distorted but instinctive way that boys do guess things and yet they said little to me of it.

Once or twice a year they took me with them to a Friday night service. I was too young, perhaps. I am willing to use my youth as an excuse for my falling asleep, or for my sitting uneasily, squirming, yawning, heavy eyed, uninterested, unmoved ... hungry only to be out into the streets again, and back in my own room at home, with my copy of "Pilgrim's Progress," or "The Talisman," between my knees.

At best, I can excuse myself only because I lived in a neighborhood distinctly Christian. It was on one of those old, quiet streets of the Columbia Heights section of Brooklyn that our house stood. There was a priggish sedateness to it. There was much talk on either hand of "family": the Brooklyn people of that neighborhood, anyhow seem to set much stock by their early settling ancestors... Continue reading book >>




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