facility. In the early 1900's the men of the Jewish community conducted the services. These men were older, recent immigrants from Europe and were well schooled in Judaism, the reading of Hebrew, and the interpretation of the prayer scrolls. A minyan, a quorm of ten male Jews, was and still is required for religious services. Therefore, the early "Jews were able to hold services whether there was a rabbi or not.
Much of the early learning for Jewish children took place in the home. Phyllis Dumes explained that as a child she was often brought to Vincennes or taken to Terre Haute for synagogue services, but her father was a very, very learned man who could recite all the prayers in Hebrew. Therefore, the Abel home was the center of her Jewish learning. Her beautiful description of their Sabbath meal follows.
Every Friday night was very special. We always had a lovely Friday evening meal with the Sabbath candles and challah, (the very soft, delicately flavored braided loaf of white bread glazed with egg white), the traditional meal of chicken soup and matzoh balls, and either gefilte fish or -chopped liver. We had lots of company, and we would sing songs and have a lovely evening.
Saturday was very quiet. The law declares it a day of rest, and this meant no work of any kind. It was very peaceful and serene, and when I look back it holds perhaps some of the loveliest memories because we were always together. We talked, and walked, went to the library, read books...we really were a family together and that is something that is very rare today.
The Rosenbergs recalled similar Sabbaths in their own home, and Phyllis' experience was typical of other Jewish families