Edited by Father’s Club, Madison House, 226 Madison St., New York
The Father’s Voice, was the first newspaper produced by the Father’s Club of Madison House Settlement, March 31, 1935
I am very glad indeed to write a short forward to the first newspaper of the Fathers’ Club of Madison House. While I am, of course, a firm believer in the old Biblical precept, “Honor thy father and mother,” I also believe that the reverse is true. We of the older generation must respect the views and opinions of our children; we have a great deal to learn from them. We must take them into our confidence and discuss with them not only their problems bur our own problems as well. This should not be limited to a mere discussion of their school and everyday experiences but, I believe, a full and frank discussion of our own business and personal affairs as well.
Fortunately, Madison House offers a common meeting ground for father and son; our club and forums are open to all; if the House has done nothing else than to provide a place where parents and children can meet to discuss the common problems confronting them, it will have done a worthwhile job.
In conclusion let me say that it is my hope that the Fathers’ Club may grow and prosper; that your sons might soon have their own young Brother’s Club to meet and discuss their varied interest with their children under our roof. By this continuous interchange of ideas at the House we will, I know be able to successfully combat the problems which are always with us.
Leo M. Klein
A MESSAGE TO THE FATHERS’ CLUB
As a member of the Fathers’ Club, I am thankful that a new vista unfolds itself before us, beckoning us to partake socially, culturally, and educationally of the sweet fruits now ripening in the orchards of a full life. As head of the House, “I welcome your rebirth under the inspirational leadership of Tom Raab. The mere fact that this issue, your first, has come about so early during Mrs. Raab’s leadership bodes well for the future of the club and the House.
As I look back on the last few months of the club and see it engaged in an active program, one that encompasses social and political discussions, a very successful banquet, an increased membership, a realization that through the dental clinic and gym, you are aware of the physical needs of the membership, I envision a strengthening of the purposes and ideals of the House. And a great sense of gratification comes over to me to know that laboring people and artisans innately “the salt of the earth” can, despite terrifically depressing economic conditions, find a common meeting ground to give vent to their finer senses and feelings.
The staff and I am sure the entire House joins me in wishing for the club a continued happy existence, one that will enrich not only its own existence, but must in the very nature of things, bring joy and comfort to all of the younger groups in the House
Philip Schiff, Headworker
With the birth of this issue, “The Father’s Voice” becomes a matter of record. It’s a brainchild of the Fathers Club of Madison House conceived and created by them to be nourished by them as an expression for all the fathers and mothers and children of the East Side. There’s not a professional in the whole lot. It’s solely the work of men who daily are beset by the pressing needs of making both ends meet.
Whether it’s to portray the tragic end and comic realism of cur everyday existence or wallow fanciful flights of the imagination, this paper now gives the opportunity.
It’s my fervent wish that it will ever stand as a monumental tribute to the fortitude and courage of these Madison Fathers who can still glean a measure of romance and beauty out of the scraid economic worries and problems that is now their usual lot.
It gives me much pleasure to be privileged to be the president of The Fathers Club of Madison House.
This pamphlet “The Fathers Voice”, being an organ of our activities is composed entirely by our membership, and we sincerely trust that our articles will interest you.
In this our initial issue, I want to take this opportunity to acquaint you with the ideals of our organization together with its goals.
Several years ago, a handful of adults in our neighborhood thought it wise to form a sort of a “club” where we can meet regularly for the purpose of bettering ourselves socially and also help our community rid of its slum conditions.
With these ideas in mind, we organized our “Fathers Club” and met in the Madison House under the able guidance and leadership of Mr. Harry Pincus, Jr.
For many years, Mr. Pincus has devoted his time with us, and through his full-hearted cooperation our membership has grown and our activities have increased. It required much more work than we at first realized, but we went through our planned work systematically and we have Mr. Pincus to thank for our start and growth.
About six months ago, when Mr. Pincus informed us that he could no longer devote his time with us, due to living in New Rochelle and other business engagements, the Fathers Club lost its first leader and co-worker. However, Mr. Pincus has given us enough of a start, and has taught us sufficient decorum on how to conduct ourselves that we were able to take care of our work until we secured the services of a new leader.
Mr. Philip Schiff, the managing-director of the Madison House has always taken an interest in our activities, and when this occurred, he was good enough to assist us by having Mr. Thomas Raab assume the leadership of our club.
We are pleased to report that our members are very enthusiastic about the new leader, and we feel certain that we are fortunate in having such a man as Mr. Raab to help us.
Mr. Raab is very familiar with our work and in the short time that he is with us has displayed unusual tact and cooperation.
The community needs more clubs as ours, and leaders such as Mr. Pincus, and Mr. Raab and community houses like the Madison House, to better our conditions on the East Side.
Each year the Fathers Club has an annual banquet and all our members together with their wives and friends join in a real festive affair. Ask any member about these banquets and he will tell you what a fire time is had or these occasions.
Among the privileges of our membership, which costs only 25 cents per month, we have the full use of the Madison House gymnasium, showers, English Class, citizenship classes, lectures, musical treats by prominent musicians, shows and hikes.
If you are interested in joining our Father’s Club, simply attend one of our meetings and see for yourselves what we are doing. We meet every Thursday evening, in the playroom of the Madison House, 226 Madison Street, corner of Jefferson Street N.Y.
Zellie Golcstien, President
Fathers Club, Madison House
Being born and raised on the East Side, I naturally take pride in its’ development, accomplishments and also in its’ problems of which there are many at the present time. The problems of modern housing, the easing of depression, the wiping out of crime and others. The above mentioned are I know, in capable hands, and are being fought with the able and active cooperation of our people to speedy and successful termination.
But, there is one problem of major importance to us, who live within the radius of Seward Park, and that is the growing menace of the tramps and whiskey-guzzling hobos who are rapidly infesting our Seward Park in ever increasing numbers, thus depriving mothers and children from deriving the benefits of fresh air, sunshine, and the advantage of being in a place removed from the danger of traffic. At best, there are very few parks; and to be deprived of one of them by undesirables in an outrage. The police try to do their duty as they see it by arresting these offenders, but no sooner are they brought to court, than they discharged by our magistrates. One policeman humorously remarked to me, that the discharged bums beat him back to Seward Park. Then there is the fact of a few speakeasies operating around Seward Park unlicensed, going in full blast, despite many arrests. Why have these two conditions not been remedied? What is the reason for the negligence on the part of the magistrates? Well it’s about the time that mothers and fathers clubs, Mr. Schiff, and the Public Relations group, get together and help stamp out this rotten situation, which I know through their cooperation will be accomplished in a very short time.
By all means let’s settle this problem as quickly as possible, and prevent a repetition of the recent tragedy at Seward Park, where a little child was shot to death because of a drunken brawl between two undesirable “Gentlemen.”
One Observant Father,
THE FATHER’S CLUB:
WHAT’S THAT? By: Max Brencer
The other day you asked me why I talk so much about my Father’s Club. You even told me not to rave so much about it. Well sir, I can’t help raving about it, here’s the reason why.
As you know, we both belong to a fraternity which has about 400 members. And some of the members are of the so called better type. Others are pretty well to do, etc. As we enter inside of our meeting rooms, we find all kinds of signs, slogans, greetings, etc. Signs such as “Greeting Friend”, “Love Thy Neighbor as thyself”, and a good many other well known sayings, rhymes and whatnots. And yet my friend, with all that splendor, glamor and pomp, one feels that all in all its no more than just that, outer polish, outer pomp, but at no time does one feel that one is among real friends. Yes sir, I’m sorry to say it, but if you’ll stop to analyze the organization as is, you will find that I’m right. And here’s where my beloved Father’s Club differs so much from the other organizations.
To begin with, we only have about 70 members, and unlike some of our Lounge members, nobody considers himself “the pillar of society”, or so important that the organization could not get along without him. On the contrary, each and everyone knows and feels that he is only one of a grand many who helps to make this wonderful Club just what it is, a friendly, jolly, constructive and educational body. True we have no so called slogans printed all over the place, but we have a grand body of intelligent men, men with a heart of feelings for one another, men who in their own humble way, are accomplishing more, better and bigger things on the East Side, than any other club has ever done. In short, my friend, I belong to one of the finest body of men a man would ever wish to belong to, and that’s no other than my one word only, Father’s Club. And boy, no matter how much I keep talking about it, I can hardly express the feeling that I have for this club. All I can say my friend, to belong to the Father’s Club of Madison House, is an honor, as well as a pleasure, and I’m mighty proud to be one of the many members. Now do you wonder why I rave so much about my club?
TO THE FATHER’S VOICE
Here’s to the Father’s Voice
God grant it never be stilled
That it may shout louder and louder
Until its wants are filled,
For instance there is a menace
To our children, in the gambling lure,
We have to stamp out, loathful pool rooms
And make them fewer and fewer,
Then there is proper housing;
That our people may live content
And not in tenements and firetraps
That greedy landlord, have for rent.
May we help, stamp out Racial prejudice
No matter what the creed,
May we help promote general happiness
And also help plan the seed,
Planting the seed is not enough
We must strive to supply the power
By poetry, press and editorials,
And in time t’will be a beautiful flower
So let’s wish long life and success
To you, the Father’s Voice
And may you forever be to
The multitude, the first choice.
THE ANGEL’S PRAYER
by Charles Lipschitz
An angel who dwelled up in heaven above.
Amid peace and laughter, happiness and love
Decided to leave his heavenly portal
And live on this earth as a common mortal.
Dawn he flew with great expectations
Hardly concealing his great impatience,
Until he reached his goal, the earth
Expecting to find all joy and mirth.
He stopped at places where millionaires dwell
But saw in each face a life full of hell
He saw through their smiles that hid all their tears
He saw greed and vanity, saw strife and tears.
He felt all bewildered but not quite let down.
“They’re just a few of the many round town”,
I’ll seek other places and I’m sure I will find
People whose faces are loving and kind”.
He looked about him, but all in vain
Each face was masked to hide their pain.
When all of a sudden he heard a sound
The thing he was seeking, he knew he had found.
A peal of laughter had reached his ears,
Laughter so joyous, devoid of all tears
The poor little angel so happy again
Knew that his visit was not in vain.
He looked at him and thought with a grin,
What a curious place to find laughter in;
He noticed a man who in haste seemed to fly
Right into a building that stood quite nearby.
The man seemed so eager that it shone from his face
Said the angel, “I’ll follow him into this place.”
The man knew his way and in no time at all
Came to a place like a gathering hall.
He entered the room so carefree and gay
Gone were the cares that he had through the day.
The angel looked round and then understood,
This feeling of friendship, of true brotherhood.
Though everyone’s face was tired and worn,
He saw that their spirits were this night reborn.
With a prayer on his lips and tears in his eyes
The angel once more soared to the skies,
He was tired but happy and wanted to rest,
But the Father’s Club with his whole heart he blessed.
“Please God take care of the father,” he prayed
“Help them in everyway to make the grade,
Lessen the cares of those brave and true men,
Please God take care of these Fathers, Amen.”
MY BAR-MITZVAH BUCHAIR
His speech was finished. He was no longer my little boy—he was now going to be my mainstay and my young confidante. Suddenly deafening applause and congratulations burst upon the supreme quietness of the house of worship. Unaccountably, a lump rose in my throat, I had lived to see this day. To see my little son enter manhood, To see the stumbling baby grow tall and strong like a beautiful tree, To hear his soft lisping voice become deep and cultured. To see him in his long trousers, a skull-cap and a tallit and Tefillin on those strong young arms.
Tears slid unnoticed down my cheeks. I was wondering were not some of those tears sad ones? I opened my heart and found there a deep remorse for losing my baby. Little tender memories which I had thought were long forgotten and buried came to light. The thrill of his baby mouth pronouncing that traditional god-like word, “daddy”. The first time he rushed to me when I entered my house after a hard day’s work. How he would seek me for consolation and sympathy when he was hurt or troubled. The terrible days of agony and worry during his childhood illnesses. Those sleepless nights of nerve-wracking thoughts, planning, always wondering, how I could manage to get him a warm cap, a much needed pair of shoes, but always for him, for he was my beacon that lighted the way to a future of happiness and contentment.
Could I really part with my little baby? My heart bled almost as if I were enduring physical pain. It felt like I were tearing part of my body away from the rest of me. A warm glow lit up in my insides, a flicker of pride flared up and reflected in my eyes–which father had a son like mine? I looked about me as I decked myself in imaginary robes of triumph. Why he was really a man, a friend.
I rushed up to him and shook his hand. A soft tear fell on my check. My man was crying. I looked up curiously and found a pair of tear-dimmed eyes and trembling lips repeating over and over again, “Father, Father”.
God was kind for he had given me back my little boy, who would always need me, and I have found in my little boy – a man.
“FATHER”—The supreme height of success and triumph.
Source: Philip Schiff’s personal files shared by his daughter, Mrs. Jeanne Talpers