Can anyone identify all or some of the following items and explain the significance:-chicken man -tateh -chicken man -"mameh was his meal to america" -"contardiction lived and survived in its...

Can anyone identify all or some of the following items and explain the significance:

-chicken man -tateh -chicken man -"mameh was his meal to america" -"contardiction lived and survived in its essence" -" i was starving in another way" -"dont read that book no more" -"A jew discovered" -" the glory years" -"god made me" -sitting shiva -riding a bycicle -Peter


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Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Since I am Jewish, I can certainly handle "sitting shiva."  In Judaism, when people die, they are generally buried within 24 hours.  Jewish people do not embalm their dead, so a body really cannot sit around for very long!  Also, because Judaism arose in the Middle East, where it was very warm, there would have been good reason to bury someone quickly. I believe that followers of Islam, which also originated in the Middle East, have the same custom.

If you bury someone very quickly, there is not much time to for people to visit and console the family. Things are just moving too quickly. So, after the burial, there is a seven-day period called "shiva."  The word "shevah" means "seven" in Hebrew.  During that period, the mourning family stays at home and people come to call and say prayers with the family.  There are many rituals surrounding this custom.  For example, many families cover all the mirrors in the house during the seven-day period, because they are supposed to focus on their mourning and not on their appearances.  Family members are expected to sit on low, uncomfortable chairs, so they can focus on their mourning and not lounge in enjoyment.

Now, what does this have to do with The Color of Water?  It is my recollection that when Ruth married, her family sat shiva. Why?  Because when a Jewish person married out of his or her faith in those days, and sometimes even today, a very religious Jewish family would consider that person dead to them.  This probably sounds rather horrible, and it is, but in the past, many families frowned upon a child marrying out of the religion, whether it was Judaism, Catholicism, or any other religion.  I know of families who opposed marriages outside of their ethnic group, even though the religion was the same.  Now, given that atmosphere of intolerance, imagine Ruth's family when she not only married someone who was not Jewish, but she also married someone of another race who was a clergyman in another religion.

This was a world that was different from the world we live in today.  At least I hope so! 

jmj616 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Tateh" is simply the Yiddish word for "Dad," or "Father."

Yiddish was the language spoken by Jews in Europe (mostly Eastern and Central Europe). It began to develop over a 1,000 years ago when Jews first entered Central and Eastern European countries, particularly Germany and surrounding lands. The Holocaust killed the majority of Yiddish speakers, but Yiddish is still an important second (and even first) language for many Jews around the world.

The Yiddish vocabulary is a mix of German (roughly 80%) and Hebrew (roughly 20%) and a smattering of Slavic words.

The German words are pronounced ina peculiarly Jewish accent; for example, the German haus (house) becomes the Yiddish hoiz. 

The Hebrew words are pronounced in the Ashkenazic pronunciation, which differs from the modern pronunciation which is used today in Israel.  For example, the Five Books of Moses, referred to by Israelis as Torah', are referred to by the Yiddish speaker as Toyra

fresh271 | Student

u have to go to central lol im tryna do dat right now i can tell u da page the quotes r on

amameh was 15 29

i was 83

dont read 92

a jew 171 (da chapter)

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The Color of Water

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