Monday, October 20, 2014


The narrow place.

I'm taking a class on The Gospels.  Jesus Christ and all that.  I'm hitting them cold.  Certainly I am familiar with Christianity but I never sat down and read them.  About 25 people in the class, I'm the only access student, the other one bailed.

As I read Matthew, (and we have to read them in a hurry), one set of verses near the end of the Sermon on the Mount shouted out at me:

13"Enter by  the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go by it.. 14"Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who find it.

Since, much of the gospels were oral at the beginning, maybe performed at the Passover Seder.  The Jesus movement started out as a Jewish sect.  I thought, he's referring to Mitzrayim, the narrow place.

The seder features mitzrayim meaning the constrictions that we all feel.  We have to overcome mitzrayim, the narrow difficult place, to come into the promised land.  I have one of the books that compare the synoptic gospels.  The narrow gate is not in Mark, and in Luke, it's used in a different context, that the gate is narrow so few are let in.  Many try but few succeed.   The Christian websites, talk about believing in Jesus as savior gets you in the narrow gate.

In the Jewish tradition, Moses had to go through mitzrayim, and so do we all have to struggle in the narrow place.

I brought it up in class.  The professor, a senior scholar, likes it.  His question, would this narrow gate, this narrow place, have been part of the Passover seder in First Century CE?

That's hard to figure out!!

In other news, I talked to J, widow of one of my people on the L.P. Weil line and she gave me a lot of information.  Yay!  Now I know more information about Elizabeth Reich aka Betty Schaeffer, but I can't find her either.  It's just a step.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Charles Weil

A picture of my great grandfather Charles L. Weil, with his first grandchild Ruth.  dated 2/11/1920

Ninety four years ago.  Ruth was my aunt, born in 1918.  My mother was not born until 1924.  You know how it is, I just have pictures of Charles with my aunt, not my later mother.  His wife Delia had died in 1910, he would have remarried by now.

Does he look like anybody in the family?  I can't see it.

It's his grave spot that I'm after.  He and his borther Louis bought a plot in front of their parents in 1898.  But he's not there, he's down the way with his second wife Mollie.

I think he was happier in his second marriage....

Now, I'm going after Louis' descendants to see if there's anybody left and if they are interested in that plot.  I'm assuming not.

I have the widow of Louis' grandson.  I've tried calling but no response.  I do have an address.  Maybe I will try writing.  Still no breakthrough on Elizabeth Reich.  Probably married in NYC, sheesh.

I'm suspicious, a stranger.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


I bought the book "Gabriel" the slim volume of poetry by Edward Hirsch written in reaction to the death of his son at age 22 of a drug overdose.  Tremendously evocative portrait of trying to parent an acting out mentally ill son.  The story starts with a private adoption, the birthfamily exits from the story.  But the child is difficult from the start.  Won't sleep, thrown out of many schools, full of rage, never can think clearly.  I've seen that story many many times.

So much of the description reminds me of L, another troubled young man who died a violent death at age 16.   His mother talks about emotional disequilibrium.  Like Gabriel, no expert, no therapist could handle him.

An excerpt:

The population of his feelings
Could not be governed
By the authorities

He had reasons why
Reason disobeyed him
and voted him out of office

His constant companion
Made it difficult to rest

Unruly part of one
Forget about truces or compromises
The barricades will be stormed

Every day was an emergency
Every day called for another emergency
Meeting of the cabinet

In his country
There were scenes
Of spectacular carnage

Hurricanes welcomes him
He adored typhoons and tornadoes
Furies unleashed

Houses lifted up
And carried to the sea
Uncontained uncontainable

Unbolt the doors
Fling open the gates
Here he comes

Chaotic wind of the gods
He was trouble
But he was our trouble

Friday, October 17, 2014

Looking for Elizabeth Reich

Part of this Mishkan Israel cemetery project.  I really want to persuade 'the management' to let me us a cemetery plot originally purchase by my great grandfather Charles L. Weil.  However he is buried with his second wife 'down the way'

I'm really looking for Elizabeth F. Reich (maiden name) born around 1927  assuming F. is for Flora
Lived in Bronx at age 3 in 1930 census
Lived in NYC at age 13 in 1940 sentence

Daughter of
Ester Weil Reich 27 Jan 1899 - 2 April 1983  Last known residence 40 Halsey Dr Greenwich CT  retired school teacher
H. Julian Reich first name Harry born 1894; seems to be two of them???  died in 1943?

Did she marry and have children?

I'm really stuck on this.  Ideas welcomed!

The picture is my great great grandfather Paul Weil's monument, this plot is right in front of this.

Today, I did court support that never worked out.  But I did make two trips and sat a lot there.  It's not anybody's fault.  When you sign up for court support, you don't really know what's going to happen.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Digital Jewish History

Here's the result from the class I took last spring, Digital Jewish History.  Class members prepared four videos.  I took it as an access student along with 4 other undergraduates.  I teamed up with Katy, the only other woman in the class.  This is her video.  She included my name first which isn't really right.  I told her she could put my name as an author if she wanted.  I did a lot of the archive work.

The idea was to transform some of the material in Special Collections into a historical piece.  There's a lot there but it's hard to put it together into something that actually makes sense.  We knew there was a lot of Council of Jewish Women materials and they ran a Settlement House.  It was much easier for me to get to Special Collections, to sift through what was there.  Yes, there was many boxes but could you get a research question out of it?  I did a lot of the sifting of the materials, photographing then and sendigng them to Katy.  Turns out the most interesting pieces were the short annual reports that the Settlement House committee made to the Board.  Who knew?

I also went out to Bellevue College to the State Archives for a real estate appraisal picture of the Settlement House (cover picture).

But Katy put it together.  Some of the photographs were from other Settlement Houses.  She found the music and did the narration.  I helped a little bit on the recording.

Our technical difficulties caused Dennis and I to buy a new laptop as Katy didn't own one and our tablet did NOT do what we needed during some class work sessions.  A Technoloty FAIL, I told him.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A new relative!

Arthur I. Weil 1887-1957.

 A physician, may have practiced with his father in law. Lived in New Haven CT

Looking dapper in this picture that somebody posted on Ancestry.

He would have been my grandmother's first cousin. Which makes him my first cousin twice removed. I think. My best guess.  Most important to me, did he have any children? I don't think so. I see census records but no children. I am working on this cemetery project.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

911 casualty

Joanne Flora Weil.  1962-2001

A third cousin?  Aged 39.  Died in World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.  An attorney.

Did I already know this?  Don't think so.

The cemetery people point out that both Louis P Weil and Charles L Weil owned those cemetery plots.  Louis married his cousin Flora Rosenthal.  I've been looking for descendants.  I have an Elizabeth Reich born in 1927, did she have any children.  Can't find anything.

That's how I found Joanne.  An only child.  I don't think she had any children, none mentioned.

Monday, October 13, 2014

My sister singing

My sister singing in a period re-enactment event in Indiana.  Has a long name. Mississinewa?   Not the Feast of the Hunter's Moon.  It's the weekend or two after.  She's singing in the ensemble in the brown sitting on the stool.

She can sing.  I can't.  I love to sing, I just can't do it.  Tone deaf..

From the front page of a local paper.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Back to The Gospels

I can understand how challenging it must be to a serious academic scholar to present The Gospels as a subject to a class.  So many strong ideas!

My teacher has put the gospels in the context of other writings at the time.  Showing that just about everything in there also appeared in other writings.

Last week he started in about theories about how the four stories as well as the Gospels of Peter and Thomas fit together temporally.  There are enough theories (with attendant diagrams) to make your head swim.  He subscribes to the 'two source' hypothesis that Mark was first, then Matthew and Luke  Along with another source now lost known as Q.

One student reacted strongly.  How could anybody take this seriously when we don't even know if Q existed.  She seemed so upset; I think she's reacting to what she has been taught and believes that the Gospels are perfect and immutable.  If you believe that, you're not going to buy this analytical business and other sources. Everything is divinely inspired, right?  The teacher does not dispute that

From a website about the study of the Gospels
"There are no real contradictions among the four accounts. The four different perspectives complement each other and help to fill out the whole picture of His perfect life. Therefore, there is harmony, continuity and unity among the four accounts. It's profitable to combine the perspectives into an overall view, but it's also interesting and profitable to focus on one perspective at a time.
 Myself, I come from a completely different  space.  How could I ever be seen reading this material?  How do I feel even having it in my house?  Remember I bought a copy of a Bible from the Gideons for $2 in a thrift store in Coleville in the Antelope Valley in a very remote partr of California east of the Sierras.

Dennis and I went to Fidalgo Island with Teddy to Fidalgo Island to have lunch with our friends.  On an impulse, I stopped at the Rexville Grocery and bought two pieces of carrot cake to go.  They have dynamite carrot cake.  Which turned into our dessert for lunch.