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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Jewish New Year

Monday 18 September 1944, 9:15 AM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Good morning, Sweet. Just got a letter from you, the first since Friday and already I feel better. I've been quite busy since I wrote yesterday morning. With having liberty every other day, my working days have been pretty full. In addition one of our boys got into a fight with a Marine and got his mouth all cut up. I had to use five sutures to sew him up. Then one of our boys stepped through an open hatch and fell down the equivalent of about four stories. He had a couple of ugly cuts in his scalp which were taken care of but seemed unhurt otherwise. However he later developed symptoms of skull fracture and was sent to the hospital.
     Last night I attended the New Year Service here at the base. The Chapel is lovely and it was filled to overflowing with enough men left outside to fill it again. I got there late and stood through the whole service. There were at least 350 officers and men including two nurses. The service was very simple but we did enjoy the singing of two Marines and the organ accompaniment. The only similarity between this service and the ones at home was that it was hotter than Hades if that is possible. As I looked around I could just pick out the homesick faces. You just couldn't miss the faraway reminiscing look on their countenances. The sermon itself was informal and to the point. No lectures on sin and the punishment for those who imbibe in it. No pleas for money or other support. Just a heart to heart talk between one Jew and another. If we had more sermons like that in civilian life, religion would take on another meaning, at least to me it would.
     Got another letter from Libby this morning. She writes about twice a week whether I answer or not. Yesterday in a few spare moments I dropped a line to the Gindoffs, Gelman and Rabbi Lifschitz. Gradually, I'm catching up.
     Now for the "Eversharp program." When I'm at sea again I can study and will. The accordion belongs to one of the sailors but he is letting Hansen use it and that gives me the chance I want. We have music but the numbers are pretty old. By the way Dear, talking of music, as Welfare Officer, I am making plans for recreation when we are at sea. Will you buy and send me some song books suitable for community sings for men. I've looked all over but can't find any. If I can get the words and music, we'll mimeograph a batch and have a little fun while we are out. Yes the rash is gone. In fact I'm sure now it was not a rash but an insect bite. We all had the same complaint. No shots yet.
     I wish you enjoyed a drink now and then. Really when those you love and need you are far away and you are in a place like I am, having a few drinks is the least of the "bad" things a fellow can do. From the plans we are making however we'll be quite busy after this war is over to make up for all the things we are missing now.
     Do you remember how I would wake the whole family up Sunday morning when I went to play golf? Well after this war, I've got other plans for Sunday mornings.
     Well darling, my love, my own, time to go back to work.

Your lover

Gil
Lt. (j.g.) G. Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot
F.P.O. San Francisco