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MS137_AJ95_150_2
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compelled during the summer to sleep 011 the terraces or in the courts. The people change their linen but once a week, and the men do not bestow much attention on their hair.
Condition of the Women.—This is about the same as with the Turks.
Education of Children.—The education of the children is entrusted to the mother; the father never returns home before the evening, when the children are asleep. At the age of three years, boys and girls are sent to a maestra. This is a woman who receives in her house about thirty children, makes them sit on the ground either in a corner or in the courtyard, and leaves them there from morning until evening, sometimes in the burning heat of the sun, while she attends to her own business. The children are early accustomed to habits of sobriety ; their breakfast consists of a piece of bread with a morsel of cheese. Their supper is of a similar description, and in many households meat is only seen on the Sabbath. There is no mid-day meal. The men do not return home, and the women eat something when and where they can.
Schools : Girls'.—When the children have reached the age of five or six years they are taken away from the maestra, and the boys are placed in the meldars, or Hebrew schools, the condition of which in Smyrna, as indeed everywhere else in Turkey, leaves much to be desired as far as teaching is concerned. The girls are kept at home, where they assist their mothers in the household duties. Young ladies of the better Jewish families may not unfrequently be seen sweeping the courtyard or scrubbing the floor, helping their mothers in the washing, or baking bread. On Saturday one is transplanted into another world; everything is quiet. Everyone is well-dressed. Men and women are to be seen at their doors or windows eating melons or other fruit.
Occupations of the Boys.—At the age of 12 or 14 years the children leave the meldar. Those whose parents have a fixed business go to them, help them, and by degrees learn the business. Those, on the other hand, whose fathers have no certain employment are left to themselves, run about the streets, and sometimes pick up a few pence by blacking shoes.
Marriages.—Between the ages of 18 and 20 the youth marry. One circumstance which, to a great extent, is the cause of the misery of the Jews of Smyrna, is. that there are more girls than boys. The consequence is, that every young man marries early, and soon a new family is reduced to misery.
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