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More important for an insight into Ozick's temperament, they came from the Litvak [Lithuanian] Jewish tradition of that region.That is a tradition of skepticism, rationalism, and antimysticism, opposed to the exuberant emotionalism of the Hasidic community that flourished in the Galitzianer [Galician] portion of Eastern Europe.

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She remembers having stones thrown at her and being called a Christ-killer as she ran past the two churches in her neighborhood.

She was particularly uncomfortable school because she would not, on principle, sing the particularly Christian Christmas carols, and was made "a humiliated public example for that." While writing The Cannibal Galaxy, a novel set in a Jewish all-day school, she asserts, "I thought of my own suffering, deeply suffering wormlike childhood in grade school; of my mother's endurances in grade school as an immigrant child....

She recalls that the librarians would come into the Park View Pharmacy after their rounds to have a cup of hot coffee at the fountain.

Ozick would come in behind them, having chosen the two fattest volumes from the boxes of books and magazines offered to her.

Ozick describes her mother's life as a life of total generosity, of lavishness, of exuberance, of untrammeled laughter.

Her father, a discreet, quiet man, a talmid khokhem [a Jewish scholar], who also knew both Latin and German from his Russian gymnasium years, ground and mixed powders and entered prescriptions meticulously in his record book.

"Some day when I am free of PS 71, I will write stories.

Meanwhile, in winter dusk, in the Park View, in the secret bliss of the Violet Fairy Book, I both see and do not how these grains of life will stay forever." Ozick owes her metamorphosis into a writer to the fact that her mother's brother, Abraham Regelson, was a Hebrew poet of no mean reputation.

Ozick describes this feeling fleetingly in the short story "An Education," in which Una Meyer excels in Latin, and in the long novel, Trust, contrasting the heroine's fruitful academic experience with her other's empty-headed schooling at Miss Jewett's finishing school.

In a reminiscence she entitled "Washington Square, 1946," she tells how, eager for the new life awaiting her in college, she arrived a day early at the as yet unpopulated and therefore desolate campus of Washington Square College of New York University in Greenwich Village.


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