Tag Archives: Steve Posen

Hasmo Legends XXV: Lower Sixth, 1962/63

Ex-Hasmo Stewart Block (1957-64) has come forward with the following photograph, of the 1962/63 Lower Sixth, which I feel is worth posting . . . and not just because it contains a certain Stephen Posen.

Seymour Popeck and Alfie Hecksher (you can’t get any more kosher than that) must both – along with my old mate Pinchos Chalk – be strong contenders for the most original Hasmo name of all time.

And is that Keith Fisher of Brent Street hairdressing ‘fame’? An ex-Hasmo?! If you are reading, Keith, I would like to thank you (if somewhat belatedly) for Morelle, who provided invaluable “food for thought,” if you get my gist, in my frummie adolescence.

Back row (left to right): Seymour Popeck, Gabby Handler, Ronald Hoffbauer, Mark Schimmel, Keith Fisher, Stewart Block, Anthony Finn, Stephen Leveson, Robert Josse, Peter Bloomberg, Samuel Abudarham, Richard Feinmesser, Stuart Plaskow, Anthony Goorney, Leon Storfer. Middle row: Robert Lewy, Robert Coe, Howard Bluston, Alfie Hecksher, Monty Frankel, Michael Neuberger, Mr. Z. Greenbaum, Ronald Feutchwanger, Barry Schechter, Michael Schine, Steven Greenman, Geoffrey Gilbert, Lucien Jacobs. Front row: Stephen Posen, Jack Berger, Menachem Persoff, Ivor Mindel, Eliezer Grunwald, Nathan Schiner, Esmond Goldfield, Paul Cohen, Moishe Tesler. (Absent: David Eckhardt, David Lopian, Malcolm Lewis, Michael Harper.)

To view a larger image, click on the photo; or, for a clearer pdf, on the following link (and, if you ask one of your children nicely, I am sure that he/she will show you how you can zoom in) . . .

Lower Sixth, Hasmonean Grammar School for Boys, 1962-63

Thank you, Stewart (and for taking responsibility for name misspellings). If other readers are in possession of old Hasmo photos, or related memorabilia, the address is melchettmike@gmail.com!

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The Witriol Diaries, Part IV (Hasmo Legends XXIII)

CHICH, BOSOMS, AND A BEARDED COCKNEY: HASMO, THE NEXT GENERATION

Monday, 4th September 1972, 7.35 p.m.

Rentreé. Many new faces in staffroom; bearded rabbinical, mostly. I have no form this year. Rabbi R said I was being given a “respite”. Is this because Stanton is not sure that he can rely on my being available full-time this year, or because he thinks I was a lousy form-master? Ivan Marks said the latter inference was not necessarily drawable; he himself had not been given a form this year. Nor have I a Fifth Form this year. 5C has been given to a Miss Krollick, a dumpy, bosomy bespectacled girl who, I am told, took a degree in philosophy and Italian in U.C., has spent a year in Italy and a year teaching in a comprehensive school in Upminster. It may well be she will have them just where she wants them. All the same it seems wrong to give a young woman – and the only woman on the staff – a class with a high proportion of oafs in it. The only compensation for my ego, is that I have been given an “A” form, 2A.

In front of me at Mincha was David Marx [see 30th June 1972 in Part III]. I had a presentment, which proved correct, that he would say Kaddish. I wished him long life, for which he thanked me.

Monday, 2nd October 1972, 8.25 p.m.

School resumed to-day after a week’s Succos break, itself occurring after we’d been back only three weeks. One Peter Thomas, a local M.P. and a Cabinet Minister (“member of the cabinet” on the invitation cards – is there a difference?) spoke on Foreign Affairs to inaugurate the new hall. He was the typical Conservative Q.C.: well built, hair brushed back, plummy voice. However, he spoke well for half an hour, reading cleverly from his script. In spite of Schonfeld’s bumbling, there was a sense of occasion, and as usual Mitchell Taylor organised very competently.

Tuesday, 7th November 1972, 6.10 p.m.

I got up, if anything, a little earlier this morning, it being Rosh Chodesh. I arrived at school as usual, looking forward to my pre-Assembly siesta, only to find there was some marking I hadn’t done. I spent fifteen minutes on the marking, and had about five minutes shut-eye. I anticipated disastrous consequences, but the morning passed off peaceably. In the break, Chichios, the new P.E. man, a Cypriot, asked me if I would supervise the table-tennis club in the lunch hour. I agreed, and so forewent my lunch hour siesta. Again, the afternoon went off without incident, I was impressed by the fine fettle I was in. I was shouting of course, but in one of the lessons, at least, I had a distinct impression of possibly teaching someone something. When I came back [home] the reaction set in.

Saturday, 13th January 1973, 7.45 p.m.

Albert Meyer, a Yekke, who was in at the start of the Hasmonean Boys’ School and is in charge of the Modern Hebrew, Classical Hebrew and, jointly I believe with another Yekke, Leonard Cohen, of German (he does the A level literature), also music, after threatening a number of times to resign – all before my joining the school six years ago – “finally” resigned last term, only to turn up again on the first day of this term. I had been given his German O level and A level language class on the assumption that he would not be coming back. Having made the necessary emotional adjustment to giving up these classes, and having told myself that at my time of life I couldn’t care less whether I took the Upper Sixth or a second year C stream, so long as I got the money, I found myself retaining AM’s ex O and A level German classes. The latter consists of two lads, one a German boy, the other a Sabra who came over here when he was three, and who has no German background at all.

It is humiliating that I should have to owe any improvement in my teaching load to “Buggin’s turn”. Thirty years ago I would have enjoyed the “yichus” of a sixth form, but now, in my last year of full-time teaching . . .

AM’s case is peculiar. All right, as he once said, is it any wonder I’m “difficult” after all I’ve been through, but Cohn, presumably, and others, went through as much – and Cohn served in the forces and went on to get a degree at Birkbeck and yields nothing to AM in Orthodoxy. It appears that AM couldn’t stand certain things that went on in the school. I don’t know what things – he did start mentioning the subject to me in the last few weeks of last term, then had to go off to take a shiur. Apparently he complained about Stanton to Schonfeld, in a letter. The latter passed the letter to the former, who was understandably incensed.

I couldn’t understand how AM could afford money-wise to carry out his threat. He’s 58. I’d heard that he’d sought a post, unsuccessfully, at JFS. He hasn’t a car, so even if he’d got a job at JFS he’d have to face an irksome journey. As it is he’s always cadging, with scrupulous politeness, lifts to Golders Green. Rabbi Roberg said the financial side was not important, he’d got Wiedergutmachung, but Wiedergutmachung hier, Wiedergutmachung her, one doesn’t chuck up £2,700 a year or more. It should be said that although he is a man of fine culture, he has no English teaching qualification, so that I doubt whether he could get a job in a non-Jewish school.

Tuesday, 6th February 1973, 9 p.m.

Back to school today [dad’s beloved older brother, Sam, had passed away on 28th January].

Monday, 26th February 1973, 4.45 p.m.

First day of two-day mid-term holiday.

Letter from Stanton. He’s unable to commit himself to re-engaging me on the “39/55” basis I had requested. Sod. In many ways I’d like to teach elsewhere, but it would almost certainly be out of the frying pan into the fire. And I’ve got into the “observant” groove. I’ve tried to pin him down to offering me at least three full days, any days, but I doubt whether he’d even do that.

Tuesday, 8th May 1973, 7.10 p.m.

I had avoided making further entries till now [Max, my younger brother, had been in hospital for three weeks with peritonitis].

Stanton recommended Philip [me!] to do a reading at the Yom Atszmaut service at St. John’s Wood Synagogue on Sunday. Willy came into the Staff Room and said Philip had done very well, “nice boy”. Well, well, well. Anyway, as I told him, it’ll do him no harm to keep in with Willy. I can’t see him being Head Boy, I think this might go to a froom lad, but it will help with his UCCA form.

Am feeling generally virtuous. To-day was an easy day, it is true – only four periods teaching. Even so I spent the first of my two free periods marking, contributing to my feeling of virtue. I have three free periods to-morrow morning, with no marking to do, so that I could, and probably will, spend them preparing my afternoon lessons – whether the preparation will have any effect I don’t know.

Thursday, 13th September 1973, 8 p.m.

Started school last Friday. The rentreé was on Thursday [dad was now on a three and a half day week].

Thursday, 4th October 1973, 6.30 p.m.

Have been timetabled to do games with the 4th. I don’t think I’m really necessary. Chishios the P.E. man goes down together with Hacket, the one-day-a-week bloke, and Rabbi Schmall, ample staff for even eighty boys, which is the number who should attend. In point of fact, as a number of boys, including Philip, do art, we’ve only been having about sixty. When the sub-standard artists, including Philip, are weeded out, no doubt there will be 70-80 boys turning up.

Still, I have been joining in. Yesterday, I pulled a muscle? sprained? my thigh endeavouring to tackle Rabbi Schmall, who is quite an athlete – plays every Sunday at Stamford Hill. Actually your humble servant did not do too badly, for a sexagenarian; I managed to kick the ball well and truly at least twice, averted a dangerous situation by correctly kicking the ball to my own goalkeeper, and once charged nebbich, a dangerous forward, knocking him over. [Dad played for Birkbeck 3rd. Had it had a 4th, he always said, he would have played for it.]

Saturday, 27th October 1973, 9 p.m.

A Mrs Jones has taken over my fourth year French B group and I have been given a second year MH class and an Upper 6th MH group, consisting of Doron Segal, whom I took for German last year, Eli Joseph (the boy whom I invigilated in hospital [see 12th June 1972 in Part III], he’s a Revisionist, or Herutnik as I think they are these days) and Adrian Frei, a froomer, but whose MH is extremely good.

Tuesday, 12th March 1974, 6 p.m.

Poor Max in trouble. Found him facing the wall this morning. As Meyer pointed out to me “facing the wall” has terrible associations for Jews. I have in the past told kids to do so, but won’t again. Apparently he has a detention to make up. He complains that two other boys were let off but his J.S. master, one Roston, who seems, I must say, a very decent sort of chap – no beard, no protruding tsitsitt – not that these are stigmata of course – you know what I mean – said he would see that Max did not get off. Unfortunately, too, at registration this morning, he piped up with some facetious remark and Cyril, the —, gave him an eight-page essay.

Wednesday, 16th October 1974, 8.35 p.m.

On Monday evening I felt queer, though never actually reaching the point of vomiting. Yesterday was a ghastly day. Fortunately I had only four periods of teaching. (On the Monday morning I genuinely, but conveniently, forgot I had a 3rd year German lesson to take; Stephen Posen stepped in and said he enjoyed himself!) To-day, however, I was in brilliant form, taking everything in my stride, paternal, benevolent all through seven periods straight off the reel (the last period I stood in for the master who should have taken the first year and “did” a passage in their history books with them).

Sunday, 3rd November 1974, 6.15 p.m.

I am beginning to doubt whether I shall find much consolation in [my] kids. Of course, of course, health for them above all, but I am becoming less sanguine about their “making good” conventionally. Neither of the boys strike me as Oxbridge, certainly not Oxbridge scholarship material. Philip natters about doing A levels at Barnet College, he’s not interested in the idea of becoming a prefect (which might count in his favour). Max has no ideas about a career. Perhaps the simplest answer might still be to turn Philip into a solicitor and Max into a Chartered Accountant, and bugger Harrison’s mickey-taking of our Philistine (from his viewpoint, they’re not interested in King’s College, Cambridge – from the Orthodox Jewish viewpoint this is the last thing the Yeshiva Stream Boys are) “Char-erd Ekuntant.”

Saturday, 11th January 1975, 11 p.m.

In the event [dad had had a tooth extracted at an evening surgery during the week, having been unable to get it seen to during school hours] I was glad; I went into school and didn’t miss any lessons. I did go into the office to see if they had any aspirin, but Klein, the school officer, kindly gave me some of his own “Panedeine”, which I found analgesically effective. Though, as I always do when I’m a bit under the weather, I find it impossible to avoid laying it on in the classroom (“Of course, I know I’m a fool to come in”). What is interesting is that on Wednesday morning I was a bit late, so I took my coffee with the Panadeine, into my German class and, in an endeavour to המחיש “concretise” the lesson I drank the coffee (ich trinke den Koffee was tue ich?) in front of the kids. I couldn’t remember whether I had taken the tablets.

Sunday, 9th February 1975, 7.50 p.m.

Walking home from school on Friday, I found Maxie seated on the bench by the bus stop near Kinloss. I assumed he’d “bunked” – I had left early – but he told me he’d fallen on to the concrete and bumped his head while playing football in the P/G.

Thursday, 27th February 1975, 4.20 p.m.

Boobba’s [dad’s mother’s, our grandmother’s] Y/Z to-day. I stayed on at school last night for maariv, and went to school today for mincha. On the way to school I noticed a boy getting on to a bus, one Lorrimer, in the second year. He lives with an elder brother, having lost both father and mother. While I was in the staffroom last night the caretaker came in and said the brother was worried because the boy hadn’t arrived home – this was at about 5.30 p.m. As he was getting on the bus today I asked him why he got home late, and he said it was just the usual delay.

I was thinking, in my capacity of vigilant schoolmaster, of reporting the matter so that the kids could know that Big Brother is always watching (he may have had a legitimate excuse, of course). But Big Brother was watching. B.B. was Stephen Posen who caught Maxie bunking. The kid panicked and said he had a dental appointment and wants me to cover up, but I don’t see how I can really. Agreed, some kids can omit some lessons with advantage. Agreed the two periods of J.S. he missed are counter productive, but I have always stood for the principle that kids cannot just take time off when they feel like it. In Maxie’s case, no harm would have been done, as it’s unlikely he would have derived any benefit from the missed lessons, and he was productively or at any rate harmlessly occupied at home, but one can’t run the risk of hordes of schoolkids roaming all over the place between the hours of 9 and 4 p.m.

A few days ago Maxie fell on his nut again – he came home early then, too, whether with or without permission, I don’t know. It’s all a shame, I received complimentary remarks from Dr Gerber, who takes him for maths – he said Maxie was the only one who could answer a question he put to the class, and it’s a good class – and from Ivan Marks on his English.

I saved the cigar we received [at a wedding] and, ministered to by Philip, took one or two puffs at it, whereupon I was told enough! Philip was violently sick in the night. He too bunked on Monday last, but he wasn’t caught.

Wednesday, 30th April 1975, 9.30 p.m.

Yesterday went with 70 3rd year boys to Leith Hill on Lag B’Omer outing. In charge was one Paley, a bearded Cockney character who is froom. Strange combination. He is obviously an experienced orienteerer, if that’s the word I want [footnoted correction, over a year later, to “orienteer”]. He had prepared a number of neat route-maps. His intention was to send the boys off in groups, each group to find its own way cross country with the aid of the “drawrin”, a procedure which to me seemed very insouciant. He did in fact do some to-and-fro-ing getting everybody together. We did a fairly stiff scramble up a slope at one time in the course of which one boy, very much overweight, panicked and was unable to dodge some stones dislodged by boys in front. He was bleeding a little and was generally in a bad way. However, I told Paley he was “covered” as – he said – he had told the boys there was an easy way up (though I hadn’t heard him). Moreover, he was to have had Chishios (the P.E. man) with him, as well as Rabbi Angel and myself, but Chishios was unable to come as he had sprained his back. Incidentally, full marks to Rabbi Angel. I saw him gallantly worming his way up the slope. He is a tall, saintly-looking man, and I’ve no doubt he could have avoided going with us had he wished – but perhaps he didn’t envisage the terrain being so difficult. As I said, Paley is rather a curious combination. He had all the boys up by the tower at Leith Hill and said that “in our religion we attach great importance to nature” and that “God is redeemed from the ground over which a Hebrew prayer is spoken” and so perhaps God might be redeemed from this spot where perhaps for the first time the sounds of Hebrew had been heard. We benshed, led by a bruiser called Brown who I fortunately don’t take but whose reputation had preceded him – he benshed excellently. A very enjoyable day, it was gratifying to find that the jaunt seemed quite mild to me [dad was a keen rambler]. On the way back a boy, Solomon Cohen, engaged me in fluent French conversation. His accent is impeccable, but other boys in his group are better at the written work he tells me.

Wednesday, 25th June 1975, 10 p.m.

A somewhat heartening incident yesterday. I take 3C for French. There are about 35 boys on the register of whom about 32 – eventually – turn up. I should say at least ten boys are without text-books, as I am (if one asks Sam Balin to do something about it he will discourse on the iniquities of Roger Gothold who “looks after” stock, on his (S.B.’s) multifarious responsibilities – so I don’t approach S.B. on the subject). Ten chairs, at least, have to be brought in. One or two of the kids have behavioural problems, a dozen are completely uninterested and natter, fidget with complete indifference to the teacher. Some of the boys, it is true, are very keen and exemplary in behaviour, though very, very weak. To cap all, we have been minus a door. The last few days an elderly carpenter has been fixing up a new one for us.

At the end of yesterday’s lesson, he said: “I’d like to be one of your pupils.” Why? Because I had spoken interestingly about French deriving from slang Latin (tête < testa, cheval < caballos, etc.). “Of course,” he said, “I shall soon be 79, but that’s no reason why I shouldn’t carry on learning.”

This morning I tried to exploit the tale in class, without much success (“If he’d been doing his job, he wouldn’t have heard what you said”). You can’t win.

[For The Witriol Diaries, Parts I – followed by A (Hasmo) Son’s IntroductionII and III (of V), click here, here and here. Coming soon on melchett mike . . . The Witriol Diaries, Part V: Goodbye Joe.]

Hasmo Legends XII: Flops, Greater and Lesser

It is something of a truism that Hasmo boys fared far better in maths and sciences than in the arts and humanities.

This owed rather more, however, to factors extrinsic to Hasmonean – such as the greater emphasis placed on the former in most (especially more traditional) Jewish households – than to the pedagogical skills and talents of the school’s maths and science teachers.

In fact, Hasmonean should have churned out ambitious would-be physicians, scientists and mathematicians “for fun”. But, for all the geniuses that we all knew from our Hasmo days – the four and five As maths and science A-Level students – how many went onto careers (never mind distinguished ones) in those fields? With the raw talent at their disposal, Jack, DJ, Steve, Flop and crew should have produced numerous top academics and professionals, but these ‘educators’ did not foster love of their subjects, merely high levels of competence in them.

HopelessIn spite of my late father having been a brilliant mathematician and physician, I was hopeless at both maths and the sciences. Indeed, Hasmo’s science labs were as uninviting to me as its gym was for some of the more pasty NW11 and N16 frummers (the sensitively-named, by Chich, “spastics”). I hated the places (my only enjoyment being to poke a sharpened pencil through the inviting – what other purpose did it serve? – slit  in my neighbour’s high stool).

So, if you have been eagerly anticipating a warm melchett mike reminiscence about Hasmo’s maths and science teachers, stop reading now – revisit, instead, my posts on Cyril, Chich, Sid, and Big Al – because, with the exception of DJ, I was utterly indifferent to nearly all of them. (As always on melchett mike, however, if you have warmer recollections of these individuals – or tales of those I have failed to mention in detail, or at all – please post them as comments below.)

As well as the absence of truly unforgettable characters (such as the aforementioned), my indifference was also due to the attitude and/or incompetence of Hasmo’s teaching staff in those, my weaker, subjects. Like the advice on how to make a million dollars in Israel – make Aliyah with ten – it is oft said about Hasmonean (correctly in my view) that, if you came with ability, you did well; if not, they would let you rot.

I have received more “When are you going to do Flop?” queries, since my first Hasmo Legends post, than I can recall. I have been rather reticent to write about Lionel Finkelstein (middle row, extreme right [ignoring the little fella], in the staff photograph in Hasmo Legends I), not out of any sense of loyalty to him, but because he is still apparently squawking and spluttering his way through the physics syllabus on Holders Hill Road. I was even contacted by someone senior at today’s Hasmonean, specifically requesting that I let him off the hook for that very reason. And the truth is that I originally agreed . . . though I am no longer quite sure “Whyyyyy”.

No Nobel Prizes in Physics for guessing how Dr Flop earned his nickname. I vividly recall even the (what should be) perfectly straightforward Ticker Tape Timer experiment – for measuring velocity – going horribly and repeatedly wrong. And it was often Hasmo’s poor, meek lab assistants, Mrs. Kadoo, though more usually the hapless Michael (I don’t think he had a surname) – neither of whom were ever heard to utter a word – who would have to shoulder the blame for this incompetence. Indeed the oft-heard bellow, from the physics laboratory, of “Miiii-ccchael” usually bore all the reasonableness of Stalin’s scolding of his mistress, Getya Keksov, for the relative failure of his Second (1933-1937) Five-Year Plan.

BissliFlop, in appearance a kind of Semitic Brian Blessed, was a strange bloke to say the least. His behaviour could vacillate between the genial and the almost cruel (sideburn yanking being his punishment of choice), and his fondness for Bissli snacks (barbecue flavour) usually resulted in more finding their way into his unkempt beard – nestling there for the remainder of the school day – than into his not insubstantial stomach. And those squawking noises – “Urrrggh, Isaacson . . .” – have not been heard outside the Star Wars movies or Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.

Inadvertent followers of Nachum of Golders

Inadvertent followers of Reb Nachum of Golders

Hasmo’s other physics teacher was the unassuming Nachum Ordman (middle row, seventh from left, in the aforementioned staff photograph), the younger, more reserved sibling of Jack, head of maths. It is a little known fact that the ubiquitous Na Nach mantra and stickers, visible all over Israel, relate to Nachum’s slight stutter rather than – as believed by those loony, pogoing Chassidim – Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. Nachum always seemed the most gentle of men, so it would be a shame to waste any more melchett mike inches on him.

Another oddity of Flop-like proportions was Hasmo’s biology teacher, Steve Posen (middle row, third from left). Apparently, Steve can still be seen belting along Bell Lane (Hendon), destination unknown (even to him), sporting his bright red shirt on Rosh Chodesh. Steve’s behaviour also spanned the full gamut, one minute warm and approachable, the next wielding his favourite slipper as if he had shares in Dunlop. Even his attitude towards the biology lab’s living creatures – and I don’t mean Hasmo boys – could suddenly swing, with no apparent warning, from the gentle to the brutal.

Steve’s straight-man sidekick in Hasmo’s biology department, Liam Joughin (back row, fourth from right), would observe his colleague’s oddball performances with a deadpan expression, never betraying the absolute incredulity he must have experienced on a near daily basis. A man neither loved nor loathed, Joughin was best known for his dry sense of humour and expressions such as “leave it a-lone” (despairing at Hasmo boys’ insistence on fiddling with apparatus before experiments had even begun) and “minkerisation” (Joughin for mincha, the afternoon prayer).

In fact, so remarkably normal, by Hasmo standards, was Joughin – and a good teacher to boot – that one had to wonder what he was doing at the nuthouse, when he could so easily have been enjoying a position amongst “his own” at a decent English grammar school.

At one stage, Joughin shared the role of Deputy Headmaster of Hasmonean with chemistry teacher, David Jacobson (front row, third from left), known to all merely as DJ. My opinion of this man is well known to readers of melchett mike, and I don’t intend to darken my summer mood by expanding on it here (though, again, readers’ comments and stories will be gratefully received).

Whilst Hasmo’s other chemistry teacher, Kevin O’Connor, seemed a genuinely nice bloke, even the Dalai Lama could not have tempted me to spend a second more in DJ’s classroom than I absolutely had to, and I “dropped” the subject as soon as I could.

Find x.For five long, unforgiving years, I sat in the maths B group of Simon Lesser (back row, fifth from left). If he had explained his algebra and geometry in some obscure dialect of Urdu, I would have had no less idea of what he was on about. And, for half a decade, my end of year maths results always hovered around 30 to 35 percent.

Less than six months before the O-Level examination, one of my mother’s bridge four, Wendy Lederman, who taught maths at Hasmonean Girls’, offered to “have a go”. I got an A. What that says about Mr. Lesser’s teaching (as well as Mrs. Lederman’s) I leave to you, the reader.

At some point, we stopped being deterred by the lines Lesser would dish out like an overzealous Nigerian traffic warden slapping out parking tickets in Central London,  and – unsentimental teenagers that we were (how sentimental could we be about a man who would make us write “Homework must be done and submitted on time” two hundred times and more?) – started taking advantage of his failing eyesight and hearing. Our class even formed an instrument-less jazz rhythm section, employing mouths, hands, heels and desks to perform improvised compositions, as Lesser – in an attempt to decipher figures – pressed his nose against textbook or whiteboard.

In cricketing terms, Jack Ordman (front row, second from left) was Hasmonean’s Geoffrey Boycott or Graeme Hick: one of the finest maths teachers of his generation, but – like Boycott and Hick, batsmen who didn’t quite fancy it against the very toughest of bowlers – Ordman only took on the ‘challenge’ of the A group. This was the kind of perverse arrangement typical of Hasmonean, allowing Ordman to preserve a very fine, but somewhat misleading, average.

“Uncle” Jack did, however, teach Gemara to our delinquent Yeshiva Stream group after school, displaying that very same caution and/or fear that prevents him from going down as a true great: for the last fifteen minutes of every class – in an attempt to wake us up with some actual interaction before our journeys home – he would conduct a question and answer session on halacha; but, whenever we would pose even the most slightly problematic of questions, he would proclaim “Boys, I am not a rabbi. The school has got a very good one. Ask Rabbi Cooper.”

This seemed to defeat the very purpose of the session . . . though, couldn’t that be said of nearly everything that went on at Hasmonean Grammar School for Boys?!

[REMINDER: In keeping with Hasmo Legends ‘rules’, comments must be truthful, with true identity of commenter provided.]

Next on Hasmo Legends, Part XIII: A Legend (Osher) Strikes Back [followed by The Background]