Saturday, 22 March 2008

Letter 21 - April 04, (1919)

Zionist Commission to Palestine – Tel-Aviv, JAFFA, Palestine

Dear Amalie*,-

Your society column letter was duly appreciated by me. Now that everyone is getting married I’ll have to look around and provide for myself here, don’t you think so? You may depend on my usual good taste in choosing the victim% (I’m not used to this machine).

Lunch is just over and I’ve eaten too much. The food here is very good tho expensive. Custom however ordains that two or three hours be consumed here in eating of lunch and the absorbing thereof, so my rotundity is flourishing without restraint. We’ve been in Palestine a little over a month now, and every day we meet new and delicious local culinary productions which easily rival the height of American perfection and tastiness. Let me give you an idea of today’s menu - - some cold sardines with sliced beets, soup, a specie of egg-plant stuffed with some cut-up meat, lamb with potatoes, stewed fruit with cake, Turkish coffee, and oranges, - - all accompanied by the local beverage which is used as a substitute for water.

For the last week I’ve been really working. Our American representatives have formally taken control of the Commission and I am officially its Secretary. The job entails lots of work viz. I must receive, investigate and answer all correspondence; I must submit any questions of importance to the Executive Committee for their decision and take proper action in accordance with their decision; I must be in contact with the local British Govt. Authorities at all times; besides which I must take care of Dr. Friedenwald and make sue he eats three meals daily and that he doesn’t forget to stop work at a reasonable time, and handle his personal finances for him etc. It’s lots of fun and I’m having a good time at it BUT I’M NOT LEARNING HEBREW. You see I believed that the local people would only speak their own language here and I would be compelled to learn it; but with German and English there is absolutely no occasion for it, and I haven’t the time or the patience for a teacher.

The people in Tel-Aviv are a very nice lot once you know them. The chances are that in the very near future we will be moving to Jerusalem because of its more central location and I shall be sorry to leave. There are a number of nice girls and cute boys all of whom have a very good time together without such American necessities as theater, movies, cabarets, dances, operas, concerts. Most of them either play some instrument or sing or act or something. As a result they are entirely self-supporting in entertainments. And when pleasure of a more poetic and inspiring nature is desired- - the big bright local moon, the constant faint scent of orange blossoms, the distant murmuring of the lazy Mediterranean breakers along the sea-shore, the brilliant stars, all are fitting subjects for rhapsodic contemplation when in good company.

Write please lots and everything that’s happening. Home seems awfully far away and I haven’t received any letters in three weeks. They have been delayed in Egypt, because of the trouble there- -it’s possible that they’ve been destroyed

There are rumours in America I suppose that the local Arabs are growing dangerous and are threatening the Jews here. Of course Arabs resent the fact that the country in which they live may be turned over to a newly born nation. But the average of that race is inferior even to our average negro, and the race is entirely lacking in organizatory ability, so that I believe there is very little to ever fear from them. Besides they are a cowardly race, and the presence of three large British Battalions will constantly serve to dampen over-ambitiousness on their part inspired by the trouble in Egypt.

The Z.C has three ancient and honorable autos at its disposal. Each of the three has long been entitled to a decent burial but each of the three still manages to stagger about town once in a while bearing one of the dignified members about. How I miss my Ford, or even the Hudson.

Time for work! Love to everybody.

A kiss from Rudolf

There’s a little girl here who looks exactly like Buts.

*Amilie “Am” Katz nee Sonneborn:
-b. Baltimore 1902; Oldest sister

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