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Tishah b’Av Tishah b’Av, ninth day of the Jewish month of Av. Remembrance of the destruction of the temples of Jerusalem. A date of much suffering for the Jews. The first temple crushed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 bc. The other destroyed by Titus in 770 ad. The holy Beth Hamikdash ravaged with much disrespect to the sanctuary. Fasting like on Yom Kippur. The holy day begins before sundown. Ending on the next day after the sun disappears. To remove the parokheth from the front of the Ark. To light candles at nightfall. To listen to the reading of the religious services. The Jews seated on the floor, beside the bottom of the benches. The benches turned upside down. Not to use leather shoes. On these sanctified days, no wine at all, and no meat. At the beginning of the evening, to listen to the kinot, hymns and prayers of mourning. Work is permitted. Not to shave or to have sexual relations. The study of the Torah prohibited, for being a pleasant activity. Assara b’tevet, the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. God offers good tidings. And man cannot refuse a legitimate pleasure. Refusing, he commits a sin. For having spurned what God offers. Hayoshev b’taanit nikra choteh. He who fasts due to torture is called a sinner. One mustn’t refuse what God offers willingly. Today my son arrives home. Teacher Nicota always says. Sir Solomon knew how to bring up Jacob. He treats the teachers with respect. Yes, ma’am, yes ma’am. Need chalk, I’ll get it. Need the ruler, the inkwell, the pencil, the same thing. On the day of no water, he took a can and went to fetch some in the river. And on top of it all he still asked, Don’t you need more water? Afterward the water carrier pours more. Teodoro always lacking in his duty. Sometimes not enough water even to drink. Very foolish of Teodoro. Puts the money in his pocket, disappears from work. Paulo Jacob excerpts from A Patch of Moonlight Fell on the Jungle 168 paulo jacob ‘What ya’re thinkin’, Jacob?’ ‘Want to talk more with ya’, Pa.’ ‘So talk.’ ‘I need adult clothin’, pants and jacket.’ ‘Why didn’t ya’ ask?’ ‘Thought Pa didn’t have the money for that spendin’.’ ‘Go over to Moses’s place and pick the cloth.’ ‘Can I go right away?’ ‘Yes, ya’ can.’ ‘And who’s goin’ to make the suit, Pa?’ ‘Cid Cabral works the sewin’ machine pretty good.’ ‘Thanks, Pa.’ Son is right. Man size, legs stickin’ out. And there’s goin’ to be anotherpartyattheAra újoFilhoSchool.Buytwosuits,twoshirts,twoties. Mysonneedstomakeagoodimpression.Andhadn’tnoticedthatyet. Short pants, hairy legs showin’. Feelin’ annoyed, ashamed even more ’cause of the girls. The pair of shoes with half a sole almost like new. A littleshoepolish,andit’llshine.Onlyoneyearofuse.Aholeagainand havetobuyanotherpair.Forthetimebeingit’llhold.Nouseinspendin’ foolishly. Solomon needs to hide his money. Jacob is goin’ to study in Belém.Eitherbuyahouse,puthiminaboardinghouse,orinthehouse of someone from here. To stop studyin’, not allowed. ‘Solomon, distracted, thinkin’ about money.’ ‘Thinkin’ about Jacob’s studies.’ ‘Didja hear the latest?’ ‘What happened, Presépio? Tell Solomon right away.’ ‘Ladislau was fired.’ ‘What in the heck, Ladislau as well?’ ‘He got into a fight with Odri ’cause of some papers he needed.’ ‘Who’d think a thing like that could happen? Odri’s best friend kicked out on the street.’ ‘And he says he’s goin’ over to the opposition party.’ ‘No way. He’s Odri’s friend.’ ‘Politics has these surprises, Solomon. When one least expects it, the politician changes his coat and his party.’ ‘And isn’t Odri goin’ to be kicked out on the street?’ ‘Some final arrangements have yet to be made. The boss is goin’ to speak again with the governor.’ Excerpts from A Patch of Moonlight 169 ‘Who’s goin’ to believe in those dirty politics?’ ‘Why all this lack of faith, Solomon?’ ‘It’s only rumor and more rumors. Just yesterday Gimica said that Odri was at political headquarters for hours. And when is it all goin’ to end? No way of telling up to now.’ ‘Politics is patience; it’s a game; ya’ have to know how to play. To put yar cards on the table. It seems like ya’ really don’t like Odri.’ ‘Solomon doesn’t like or dislike anybody. God save us from such a thing. Jews mixed up in politics.’ ‘But...

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