Hgeocities.com/candlemaker_kaprov/chapter12.htmlgeocities.com/candlemaker_kaprov/chapter12.htmldelayedx/zJn)OKtext/htmlPn)b.HSun, 24 Aug 2008 15:54:12 GMTMozilla/4.5 (compatible; HTTrack 3.0x; Windows 98)en, */zJn) The B'nai Khaim in America
Chapter 12 - The B'nai Khaim at Home and in the Community 

    What musical instruments do members of your family play? 
    (Who?) 
    Anybody in your family (a) sings; (b) paints? (Who?) 
    What special talents in your family? 

    We asked these questions of all our married females as representing 
the family.
    In 22 of 34 households of our native-born females one or 
both parents and/or growing children played a musical instrument-piano, 
violin, cello, trumpet, guitar, the saxophone. In only three 
of the 22 homes did children alone play musical instruments. 
    In 20 of the 28 households of native-born males (as reported 
by their wives) one or both parents and/or growing children 
played musical instruments and, again, in only three of the 20 
homes did children alone perform. 
    Altogether, instrumental music was played in over two-thirds 
of the second-generation B'nai Khaim households. (In many 
cases, of course, children were still too young to take music 
lessons.) In foreign-born homes the percentage was lower-56 in 
homes of foreign-born females and 54 per cent in homes of 
foreign-born males. 
    Several families were especially musical. The report from one 
of these reads: "Mother plays the piano, one son plays the 
clarinet and sax, one son plays the flute and piccolo; one, the 
drums. From another: "Husband and daughter play the piano 
and husband also the bass viol." 
    Recently a native-born B'nai Khaim mother wrote me: "All 
three girls take piano lessons, dancing lessons and attend Sunday 
School." The oldest is beginning to play the guitar and the 
younger two "enjoy strumming away at the autoharp." This 
mother is an accomplished guitarist. 
    The wife of a native-born B'nai Khaim reported one son playing 
the bass viol, one son the cello, one the piano and the harp. 
This mother is a professional singer and plays the piano and the 
organ. 
    In another family, the father is an accomplished violinist, 
although a mathematician by profession. His wife and son play 
the piano. 
    Two native-born male B'nai Khaim, one a mathematician and 
one a psychoanalyst, have held graduate fellowships in piano at 
the Juilliard School of Music. Both these pianists engage in 
playing non-professional chamber music, as does also the 
mathematician violinist. 
    Painting is an avocation for 36 per cent of the families. In 
two or three cases the avocation borders on the professional. 
Less than half as many, however, claim singing as an avocation. 
A very few - 16 out of the 111 families-lay claim to possession 
of special talents, in dancing, sculpture, "athletic sports," 
photography. One foreign-born female reports writing "short 
stories and poetry for my own amusement." One mother reports, 
"my son writes poetry," and another claims "a passionate 
love of music" in her children. (See note #1)
    The B'nai Khaim not only read, paint and play music but, 
like other Americans, also play games, and enjoy sports and 
many hobbies. They join lodges and clubs, and engage in 
community affairs in which they relate to their gentile neighbors 
and fellow-workers. The next table lists some of the sports, 
hobbies and games in which the B'nai Khaim and their spouses 
engage. (See table 19.) 
    Nearly 90 per cent of our native-born groups and 55 per cent 
of the foreign-born engage in these activities, varying from card 
playing and bowling to Mah long and chess. The listing covers 
only activities in which four or more individuals participated. 
    Bowling is equally popular with men and women. More men 
than women swim and play golf, while more women play cards. 
The surprising finding is that more women than men play tennis. 
    The foreign-born and the native-born differ in the choice of 
activities even more than men and women do, reflecting 
probably chiefly difference in age. The figures are given in Table 20.
    The foreign-born lead in card-playing and three of our four 
chess players are foreign-born. However, they fall behind the 
native-born almost entirely in sports requiring physical effort 
such as swimming, bowling, tennis. Probably they are getting 
too old for that. It is the younger, the second generation, that 
engages in physical sports, including baseball, ice skating, skiing - 
the women along with the men, except in baseball. 
    In addition to the above listings, the B'nai Khaim, or their 
spouses, variously engage in nearly 40 other sports, games and 
hobbies: fishing, hiking, photography, horseback riding, camping - 
acculturation in the raw. Other Americans may engage in 
these activites in different proportions than do the B'nai Khaim, 
but this is likely to be due mainly to differing environment. 
    Americans who live in the country are likely to do more fishing 
than those who live in the city. 
    Like most middle-class Americans, the B'nai Khaim seek 
social stimulation and community identification through 
associating with others in religious brotherhoods, in lodges and in 
secular clubs. Nearly 80 per cent of our people said they 
belonged to one or another of such organizations, generally to 
more than one. 
    As would be expected, the organizations are largely Jewishoriented 
or Israel-oriented: Temple clubs, Jewish community centers, 
B'nai B'rith, American Jewish Congress; Hadassah and 
other Zionist groups. Many, however, are non-sectarian, such as 
Masonic lodges and the charitable and philanthropic groups. 
    Very few of the secular "clubs" to which our people say they 
belong are of the usual restrictive variety. Mostly they are 
business clubs, such as "The Exchange Club," investment clubs, 
Lion's Club, realtor's clubs, etc. Only six may possibly be 
classed as restrictive social "country clubs," and all but two of 
these six, it seems, are non-sectarian. The two are exclusively 
Jewish, so "exclusive" indeed that only the very rich Jews in 
town are eligible for membership. Several B'nai Khaim, in 
addition, belong to University clubs. 
    Individually and as members of one or another of these clubs, 
lodges, and religious and secular associations, the B'nai Khaim 
and their spouses engage in voluntary activities of service to the 
general community. More than half of our 211 married B'nai Khaim 
and spouses participate in such activities, serving as 
hospital volunteers, collecting for various health drives, in the 
Red Cross. 
    As would be expected, our native-born and, in particular, the 
women, are most active in these services. One woman reported 
serving in more than five of these causes: United Fund, mental 
health drives, collecting for multiple sclerosis funds, the Red Cross, 
the City of Hope medical ship. Community Fund and 
P.T.A. record the most participants. Altogether, 109 B'nai Khaim 
and spouses gave free services to over 40 causes of benefit 
to the general community. When we recall how the B'nai Khaim 
were similarly active in service to the Jewish community 
(Chapter 10), we may conclude that our people are possessed of 
a high degree of civic conscience. 
    In clubs, in lodges, and in their volunteer community 
activities the B'nai Khaim rub shoulders with their gentile neighbors. 
We learned in Chapter 6 that 94, or nearly 90 per cent, of 
our families live in mixed or gentile neighborhoods. How personally 
intimate do they become with one another as a result? 
    "Do you have any close gentile friends?" we asked. "As close 
as your Jewish friends? Close enough to visit each others homes 
freely? Eat at each other's homes?" Table 21 gives the answers 
to these and related questions. 
    Respondents from as many as 80 of the 108 B'nai Khaim 
families who answered the questionnaire said they had close 
gentile friends, but only 55 claimed them to be as close as their 
Jewish friends. As many as 70 visited each other's homes freely, 
and 66 said they ate at each other's homes. Eighty-nine exchanged 
Christmas cards with their gentile friends,(See note #2) but only 
half as many exchanged Christmas presents. 
    From here on all gentile influence tends to disappear. Only 
six of our people exchange Christmas presents with other Jews 
and only five have a Christmas tree in their homes. Only 16 give 
Christmas presents to their children, but 59 give them. 
Khanukah presents. Of the five Christmas trees, three were in 
homes with gentile spouses, one in the home of a half-gentile 
spouse, and only one in a home in which both parents were 
Jews. In no case was the tree a religious symbol. In one mixed 
family the children topped the decorations with the Star of David. 
One child of mixed marriage, visiting an orthodox Jewish 
friend at Khanukah and learning that he will be getting a daily 
present eight days in a row, said to his friend's mother, "I am 
half - Jewish and get only Christmas presents. When I grow up I'll 
be all Jewish!" 

Notes to Chapter 12

(1) That so few as 16 mothers claimed special talent for their children 
    testifies not so much to a lack of such talent as, I would judge, to the 
    essential credibility of their responses. 
(2) In contrast, only 58 exchanged Jewish New Years cards with their 
    fellow - Jews.



CandleMaker Kaprov
E-Mail: CandleMaker_Kaprov@Yahoo.com

Main page