He has a museum of items appertaining to the Jew. A Jew’s harp, of course: four in fact, one dating from the 18th century, its tongue still miraculously intact. Three dried specimens of the Jew’s Ear fungus. He would like to have a living one, has tried on more than one occasion to keep one alive, but they grow only on certain trees and his apartment is small, with no garden. On his windowsill, however, high above Manhattan, careful tending has allowed a large pot of Jew’s Mallow to thrive; its furled yellow flowers return year after year. He does not know why it is better to have a living specimen than a dead one, only that it is so.
Other items have been easier to obtain and store. A lump of black, sticky Jew’s pitch in the …show more content…
The doctor told him the name and he looked it up in the dictionary. It was good that she died of cancer, slowly, and not suddenly like his father, because it gave her time to think of, and write, the list.
She stressed the importance of the list to him many times. She told him that she loved him, and that was the reason for it. She said:
“We have seen terrible things, your father and I.”
As though his father were still alive and standing behind her, silent as ever.
The list explains that certain things are important: it’s important to have a lot of money in the bank. It’s important to read the newspaper. It’s important to know what to look for. She has listed 17 pages of things to look for. She wrote them out over several months, thinking of a few more each day and adding them. In some places, where she thought of a lot of things that have to do with each other, her writing has crawled out into the margins of the pages, tiny letters bunched up against each other. They say things like: - if you should read that a man has been refused a job because he is a Jew - if you should read that Jews are a threat to the country, or to the world - if you should read a call for any Jewish practice to be outlawed (she lists 53 possible practices) - if you should read that Jews may not wear certain garments, or that they must wear certain garments
This last one is marked with a star, which means it is very important.
The list also