Monday, January 20, 2014

Danziger Family Circle

We have recently come into possession (thanks to Mark Hammerschlag) of minutes from two sessions of the Danziger Family Circle meetings -- January 29, 1949 and February 26, 1949.

January 29, 1949

Our Chairman, Ralph Danziger, called the meeting to order. The minutes were accepted as unread.

The first point of discussion was the question of whether or not to have guests at our meetings. This was brought about by they fact that our Aunt Anna wanted to become a member of the D.F.C.

The following Suggestions were made:

Laura made a motion that we limit the membership of the D.F.C. only to the descendants and their spouses of Mr. & Mrs. Abe Danziger, but that the meetings be open to visitors.

Moe made a motion that there be a limited number of visitors at a meeting, mainly three guests to each meeting for the next year.

Laura’s comeback was that the number should not be stipulated, but that we notify the host or hostess, if possible, the number of guests he or she is bringing.

It was finally decided that there would be no rule as to the number of guests we were allowed to bring, but that good judgement was to be used in doing so. We are not to make a habit of inviting people to our meetings, but if the situation is so that it cannot be helped, it would be understood by all.

Mother’s familiar cry could be heard throughout the meeting, “Let’s Eat!”

A motion was passed that the Secretary of the D.F.C. send out postal cards notifying members of the date and place of the next meeting.

A motion was made by Helen and Moe, that there be installed during the course of our meetings, a period called closed time and open time. Once the closed time is in effect, we fine each member 25c for speaking out of turn, or being deliberately rude.

Our Chairman’s opinion was that he approved of the present attitude of the members, and that he finds it unnecessary to fine any member that helps to make the meetings more enjoyable and more lively.

A vote was taken and the result was 5 to 3 in favor of no fine. Therefore the motion was defeated.

A motion was made by Moe, that we hold our next meeting during the daylight hours, thus giving the children of the members the benefit of seeing how our meetings are conducted. This motion was defeated.

A suggestion was made by Howard, that there be an age limitation of 13 years for a child to attend a meeting.

A vote was taken, and the entire motion was defeated.

Howard made a motion that were begin now to entertain the idea of a picnic for all the members and their children.

A suggestion was made that we appoint a Committee to make plans for the picnic.

The motion was passed and the following was decided.

As per Moe’s suggestion, we will hold this idea off until about April and the Secretary will then bring this point out as new business at the April meeting.

At that time, all the members will decide exactly when is the best time for the picnic. In the meantime, we are to think about this idea and we can discuss it further at future meetings.

A motion was made by Margie that we hold all meetings at Mom’s house and all the members can bring their share of the food.

The motion was defeated, and it was decided that Mom would have her normal turn for a meeting and that a Committee of two or three, get there an hour earlier, to set up the food.

The next meeting which will be on Feb. 26th, will be at Mom’s house.

With another cry from Mother that we “Eat” and “Go Home”, the meeting was adjourned.

Sydell Danziger, Sec’y

February 26, 1949.

February 26, 1949 

Our Chairman, Ralph Danziger, called meeting to order.  The minutes were accepted as read.

Once again, we discuss the matter of having Mother’s Cousin and Anna at our meetings.

Laura’s opinion was that since Mother does not have very many relatives, it would be very nice on our part if we invited her to our meeting as a guest.

Ralph’s opinion was that anyone of the members that wanted to invite her should have the responsibility of taking her home.

Howard’s opinion was that we leave it up to the host or hostess to invite her if they feel that they would like to have her at their home,

Moe’s opinion was that he wouldn’t enjoy having any relatives at our meetings since we really have nothing to show them. He also said, “Up to this time we have not had a meeting that we can really call a meeting. Until the time comes when our meetings are conducted in a different fashion, I would not like to have any guests attend.”

Howard’s answer was that the purpose of this Organization was mainly so that the family would get together at least once a month, and also to build up a little reserve for any emergency that might arise.

Howard and Laura both stated that they were sure that Mother’s Cousin Anna would enjoy coming to our meetings, so so that she could see the family once in a while, and not just for the idea of seeing a meeting conducted.

Laura suggested that we put Anna on our mailing list and advise her of the meetings each month, but since she is not to become a member, no dues would be collected from her.

Amidst all this discussion, someone asked Mother to make clear to all of us, just exactly what relationship Anna is to Mother. At the last meeting se was called Aunt. However, we now know that Anna Goldstein is a cousin of Mother.

No decision was reached on this matter, therefore it is still open for discussion.

The subject of the Picnic was brought up. A motion was made that we hold the picnic at Frances’s house. This motion was defeated, because we all realized that it would be too far a distance to take the children in one day.

Murray told us that he had been thinking of giving the D.F.C. the necessary land needed for building a bungalow on his grounds, for the use of all the Danzigers. The money needed to build this bungalow to come from the D.F.C. fund.

Everyone thought it a very wonderful thought, but if we were to build the question arose as to whether or not Toms River would be the most desirable location for a bungalow.

Mother had already worked out one very important problem. We would need no plumbing. We could use Frances’ house for the out house.

Moe thought the house should be built in a Dormitory fashion, with one private bedroom, and we could all change off.

After such discussion, Howard agreed with Moe that with such talk, maybe we oughtn’t to have guests at our meetings after all.

Since the meeting was at Mom’s house, she wasn’t too much in a hurry to “eat and go home.” This time her cry was that the “potatoes were getting cold.”

It was finally decided that Murray think over his suggestion and that we would hold off the idea for a while.

We decided that Ethel and Renae should get cards advising them where each meeting was being held. This would serve two purposes. First, I’m sure they would like to receive the card, even though they could not attend, and second, it would be a reminder to them that they have to pay their dues.

Moe had another suggestion. He thought that Howard, Ralph and himself [sic], should get together and design some shield, or crest that would represent the D.F.C. and all the members wear it. These in turn would be passed down to their children and so on.

Suggestions were in order. Frances thought the shield should be like the picture on the telephone book cover.

Ralph suggested the head of a soda fountain, also an empty cash register.

Pa suggested a Hammer and Sickle.

At this point, Pa informed us that if the name Danziger was divided in two, in Hebrew it would mean “Right Judgement.”

Laura felt that the potatoes were really getting cold not, and that we should put the question of whether or not we want a shield to a vote.

But Moe was against this and wanted further discussion on the subject.

Murray felt that it was unnecessary, since this was only a family meeting and that the idea of a shield was much too sophisticated.

Moe felt that it would be something we would always have and that it was the basis for our family tree. He also said that our family had no more depth to it than the tie he was wearing.

Howard felt that the shield or crest was unnecessary too.

Moe then said something about intelligence, I don’t exactly remember how it was put, but Ralph wanted to know just how a shield or a crest would add to our intelligence.

Pa wanted to know why a shield would be any more binding to this family than the original idea of the D.F.C.

Moe explained that in time our shield could be respected such as the Masons or Odd Fellows.

Since no decision could be arrived at we decided to carry it over to the next meeting.

Sometime during the discussion of the shield, Norman made a motion that we trace our ancestors. This was ignored.

The next meeting is at Laura’s house on March 26.

A motion was passed that the meeting be adjourned.

Sydell Danziger, Sec’y
March 26, 1949
(transcription pending)

Danziger Family Circle 
March 26, 1949

The meeting was called to order by our hostess Laura Jacobowitz, who was acting as chairman in view of the fact that our President, Ralph Danziger could not attend the meeting.

The minutes were accepted as read. The attendance at this meeting was very poor, there were five members who were not present.

At this point a call came through from Cleveland and we were very glad to speak with Ethel, Leo, Renae & Norman.

Once again the matter of the Crest was brought up for discussion. Moe gave us his opinion on the matter. He felt that this crest or shield would someday give our children something to look back on, and that the children would know that they have a family background. Moe felt that the crest itself is not the important matter, but that the thought behind it would be important and that it would give us something to be proud of in later years.

Norman said that since it could not do any harm, and since Moe and others felt so strongly about it, he was in favor of it too.

Howard’s opinion was that it would mean nothing right now but that perhaps later on in years, it would mean something and the matter could be brought up at that time.

Helen felt that the idea should not be postponed, and that since the idea was a good one, we should get started on it now.

Moe too felt that this matter should be thrashed out now, and not be put off for an indefinite time.

Laura felt that although the basic though wasn’t insignificant, that the idea itself wasn’t that important to warrant all this discussion and that it should be put to a vote once and for all and then we would all know how we stand.

At this point, Norman thought that this important step should not be decided on with so few members present.

But it was finally decided that we had enough members present to take a vote.

A vote was taken and the result was 6 to 1 in favor of the shield. Therefore the motion was passed. Moe was appointed as chairman of the committee who would design the shield. He may appoint whomever he wants to help him in designing this shield.

Since this discussion was closed, Mother brought up the matter of the Danziger family building a summer home. It was decided that this matter be brought up at the next meeting, when we hope to have better attendance.

The following question was then asked, “What are we going to do about the lack of attendance at our meeting.”

We all feel that this one night should be important enough to put everything else aside, and to attend the meeting regularly. Of course the only plausible excuse would be illness in the family.

One opinion was that we should decide whether tonight’s absences were really unavoidable or not.

One opinion was that there was not enough importance stressed on the attendance of our meetings.

We decided that the only penalty we could impose on members who do not attend would be the lack of pleasure that they would get by not attending the meetings.

This originally started out to be a social evening and most of the members have a desire to attend the meetings, for those that do not want to attend, we can do nothing about it.

With this, a motion was made and seconded that the meeting be adjourned.

Sydell Danziger, Sec’y

Notes: Shifting demographics also led to new forms of organization. The “family circle” was a new type of society, close in spirit to the landsmanshaftn but more successful in attracting American-born Jews. Consisting of male and female descendants (and their spouses) of a common ancestor, these organizations were primarily a product of the 1920s and 1930s. In 1939, the WPA Yiddish Writers’ Project identified 166 family circles, 52 percent of whose members were American-born, with the majority in either business or the professions. While some such groups offered benefits similar to those of the landsmanshaftn, others were purely social, their periodic meetings provided a structured opportunity for family members to get together in each other’s homes or in public halls. The number of family circles continued to grow in the decades after World War II, and the new groups placed less and less emphasis on material benefits. In this respect they reflected the altered needs of their middle-class membership, which was more interested in reinforcing family ties strained by social and geographic mobility than in mutual aid.  Soyer, Daniel, Jewish Immigrant Associations and American Identity in New York, 1880 - 1939; page 191.


Zack Danziger said...

These letters are priceless and very funny.

Thank you Mark for finding them and David for typing and posting them for us.

let's eat !

Dan ziger = “Right Judgement”


"... Pa informed us that if the name Danziger was divided in two, in Hebrew it would mean “Right Judgement.”

so I researched this and cross referenced all my google translation searches.

below are my search results

danziger = דנציגר = danziger
dan = ו - = "and"
danz = אמנות = "art"
danzi = מחול = "dance"
danzig = דנציג = "danzig"
da zig = זיג = "Jacket"
daz = קרח = "ice"

but it was "futile", like playing scrabble, too "few tiles" ... (drum fill)

Anyways, I'm trying to be clever like my ancestors, but since the crest or shield was never decided upon, it was not handed down and the talent was lost, at least on me.

but didn't they have "spell check" back then? or "undo"?

let's eat !

David said...

דין תקין