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This is a manuscript of instruction, divine and kabbalistic names and other meditations (kaṿanot) for the Passover Seder. The manuscript begins with an introduction ("Berikh shemeh", f. 1r-2r), and is followed by instructions with headings used from the Passover Haggadah; begining the Kiddush order with a specially created Aramaic poem after the Atḳinu seʻudata stanza (f. 2r-3v), followed by a long supplication (f. 3v-4v); following this is the scheme of the Seder with instructions and verses ("Ḳadesh urḥats karpas yaḥats" etc.). The Seder ends with the abbreviation a.k.y.r. (amen ken ye-hi ratson, f. 12v), after which begins a final poem and prayer set, with a short introduction quoting the anonymous Sefer Zekhirah and R. Menaḥem Azariah da Fano (Fano 1548-Mantua 1620) before a poem for late at night after the Seder (f. 12v-15v).
When it was absolutely certain that a V-12 unit would be assigned to the University, the library chime rang out with "Anchors Aweigh" and "Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow." Unwittingly the music reflected the dual meaning of the V-12: to furnish preliminary training for potential officers--the official aim--and to assure the survival of men's colleges for the duration of the war. Banner headlines in the New York Times on July 1, 1943--the day the V-12 arrived on the campus--read: "M'Arthur Starts Allied Offensive in Pacific; New Guinea Isles Won; Landings in Solomons. Sicily Hit at Both Ends. Heavy Allied Bombing of Germany. Russians Repulse Nazi Attacks at Leningrad, Smolensk, and Kursk. $76 Billions Spent in U.S. Fiscal Year. Public Debt $140 Billions." "The Pacific Stalemate Ends," announced the Times editorial leader reassuringly. Representatives of Rochester service agencies greeted the out-of-city V-12 trainees at the railway station and whisked them off to the Gymnasium or Dewey Hall, whose first floor had been converted into Navy headquarters, occupied by Lieut. Commander Neill and a staff of about thirty, a medical officer, a Wave paymaster, and a director of physical training among them. (A collection of books on naval affairs was placed in Dewey.) Beds mostly in double-decker bunks were assigned to the men in the dormitories, the commandeered fraternity homes, and the Gymnasium; Navy instructions to quarter three men in most of the rooms in the residence halls were scaled down to two when it was pointed out that otherwise there would not be space for study tables. Numbers were assigned to the erstwhile fraternity houses, D.K.E. being "1" and proceeding counter clockwise around the quadrangle to Delta Upsilon "7;" the sacred, mysterious "Tab" of Deke was converted into a brig for men under serious punishment. Whereas Theta Chi housed twenty-eight men, seventy-two lived in Theta Delta Chi; fraternity furniture not required by the V-12 was stored in lounge rooms and kitchens. The tardy arrival of equipment for sleeping purposes caused nightmares. Bunks, mattresses, and pillows, supplied by the Navy, reached Rochester in freight cars only the evening before the descent of the trainees; next morning, the entire University maintenance staff, working feverishly, installed the furnishings in the rooms, and in the afternoon unheralded trucks pulled in with blankets which were issued to the men on the spot. The Navy also provided wardrobes or double-sized lockers, eating utensils, mess trays, and additional equipment for the kitchen of Todd Union, where meals were eaten. Instead of apprentice seamen exclusively, as had originally been expected, about 370 marine privates, along with sailors, checked in. Statistics on the actual complement vary from "just under 800" to 803, a majority of the men coming from New York State, but twenty-three other states were represented. Approximately a fifth came directly from secondary schools and nearly all the others hailed from fifty-two institutions of higher learning, diverse in character and quality; the largest groups had studied at Fordham and Syracuse Universities and over forty were U. of R. undergraduates. All in all, the first contingent of trainees on the "Good Ship Rochester" anchored beside the Genesee, and organized in five sailor companies and three of marines, exceeded the peacetime residents by nearly three times. Floors of buildings became decks, stairways companionways, and men on liberty "went ashore." They marched in orderly ranks to "chow;" "flunking" became "bilging" in naval slang and the victims were ordered to boot camp. A section of the gymnasium was blocked out as a "sick bay" or dispensary, and arrangements were made to care for cases of serious illness at the Strong Memorial Hospital. At least once during the V-12 era, navy dentists, practicing in a spacious trailer truck, visited the campus to look after the teeth of the V-12 men. II Upon registering, each man was handed "A Welcome to Rochester," a brochure containing pictures of the campus, its buildings, University personalities, a historical sketch and map of the city, a list of entertainment and church opportunities, a benign "Father Rochester" beaming joy over the newcomers, and a glossary of navy terms. "We are delighted to have you with us," President Valentine wrote, "We plan to do all we can to make your work and your spare time...as successful and pleasant as possible...We welcome you as full-fledged students and potential alumni...We want you to take with you warm memories of campus life, lasting friendships, and esteem for your teachers and your University. The Commanding Officer assured the men that "the University provides splendid physical facilities, ideally suited to your needs. Even more important, the University's academic standard is one of the highest and its faculty ranks with the best...Give your best effort in order that this unit may be one of the most outstanding in the country." And a third writer anticipated that the V-12 would "create for some future scribe...one of the best and noblest chapters" of the University's history. Deeply impressed by the publication, Washington naval authorities requested copies for distribution to other V-12 colleges. Feeding the men confronted the administration with perplexing and endless problems. It was not always possible to obtain the foods wanted or in the desired quantities, kitchen help was in short supply, and even after some remodeling of Todd, eating areas were badly overcrowded. Shortly after arriving, the trainees were vaccinated, took psychological and physical examinations, and signed up for courses, which, in view of the wide diversity in previous educational experience, presented enormous scheduling complications. Instruction got underway on July 5; about 220 male civilians likewise enrolled for study. Inescapably, the advent of the V-12 was a hectic, if epic, experience, which Dean Hoffmeister likened to "the eruption of a volcano, " but in a few weeks the President was able to say that the corps had "shaken down with a minimum of disturbance" in contrast to the situation at many other colleges where preparations for V-12 units had been inadequate. Quite appropriately, Valentine bestowed warm praise upon Lieut. Commander Neill (he was promoted to the rank of Commander during his Rochester stay) for his share in getting the V-12 launched and moving. A product of two proud schools, Virginia Military Institute and the U.S. Naval Academy, Neill had resigned his naval commission and gone into business. After Pearl Harbor he returned to active duty, and following a short stint of teaching at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute he was posted to Rochester as V - 12 commanding officer, staying on until the war was over. Not only University administrators, but the faculty, and the staff and men of the V-12 group respected and liked Neill, and the University counted itself singularly lucky to have so competent and genial a person in command; as a disciplinarian he was firm but considerate of human frailties. V-12ers tagged him "the Admiral of Dewey," or, less elegantly, the "Skipper." In a faculty tribute Neill was saluted as an individual of "character and decision," familiar with the nature and aims of collegiate education. Intensely interested in sports, he was not above reproaching referees for faulty decisions in language that all present could hear and interpret. An experienced Rochester reporter and shrewd judge of men, Henry W. Clune, sized up Neill as "a man whose sympathies for youth are keen and whose understanding of them is broad and deep. He has...a sense of humor; he is affable, kindly, and courteous; and very much of a human being, for all the gold braid on his cap." Lt. Clinton C. ("Snuffy") Nichols, a key figure on the V-12 staff, in civilian life a Maine schoolmaster, functioned as executive officer responsible for educational affairs until transferred to the Pacific war theater in the summer of 1944. Definitely a martinet, Marine Captain Herbert W. Coulter was written off by his men as "a bad guy." 1 III It is not possible to reconstruct a fully accurate account of the numbers of "men on board" throughout the V-12 period, because changes in the personnel occurred every four months, some men who lacked officer qualifications were sent to boot camps during term time, others came to the University from sea duty at odd times, all of which produced divergences in statistics. Approximations on newcomers, mostly straight from secondary schools and classified as sailors, ran as follows: November, 1943, 143 (145); March, 1944, 204 (211); July, 1944, 332 (340); November, 1944, 45 (50). At that point the unit stood at about 487, sailors exclusively; companies were reduced to four, and all V-12 men were quartered in Burton and Crosby dormitories and one fraternity house. In July, 1945, the last contingent--fifteen--came on board and the complement dropped to around 300. From first to last, the V-12 students totaled somewhere between 1542 and 1564; of this number perhaps as many as 639 finished their training to the satisfaction of their teachers and the V-12 headquarters. The remainder consisted of men who had been transferred to other institutions, or who had been found unsuitable as officer material, or who belonged to the unit at the time of its discontinuance. Under the V-12 program about a dozen men were stationed at the Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, and since they were being trained as naval chaplains, they wore uniforms at all times. A bronze plaque at the School reads: "This Mark of Commendation is awarded to the Colgate-Rochester Divinity School for effective cooperation in training naval personnel during World War II...Navy V-12 Unit (theological). James Forrestal Secretary of the Navy." 2 By the terms of the so-called G.I. Bill of Rights, V-12 trainees were eligible for most of the benefits, though not the educational ones unless they had seen service with the active armed forces for at least ninety days. The Bureau of Naval Personnel in Washington had jurisdiction in everything pertaining to V-12 curricula and training. It issued "A Manual for the Operation of a V-12 U.S. Navy Unit," which prescribed three terms of sixteen weeks each in a calendar year, beginning in July, November, and March. Curricula, oriented to wartime needs, were designed for potential deck officers, engineers, and prospective physicians and dentists; mathematics, engineering, the sciences, English, and certain naval specialties were emphasized. Trainees were required to study "The Historical Background of the Present World War" (as taught by Professors Perkins and Van Deusen, American democratic ideals and foreign policies were stressed) and a second course on "Naval History and Elementary Strategy." The size of classes jumped to double or more than the pre-war level, the history course in one term soaring to 575. Credit toward a bachelor's degree was granted for all courses completed satisfactorily. For purposes of indoctrination recourse was had to motion pictures. 3 Many V-12 men had had little previous experience with quality education and found academic work at Rochester very hard; the proportion of unsatisfactory performers ran high. On the other side of the desk, teachers had to shape their methods to meet the requirements of a different student body with different backgrounds and different goals; freedom-loving faculty spirits disliked the navy rule that attendance had to be reported after each class meeting. "The general shaking up has been good for us all," President Valentine thought. "We have had to break away from old routine...The experience should be invaluable to education in readjusting to peacetime needs." And he added, "Our College faculty has never appeared in a finer light..." Thanks to its "human assets," which displayed "good old-fashioned qualities of loyalty, industry, cheerfulness, and teamwork," the work at the University had been maintained at a "high qualitative level." At the beginning of the V-12 era, over thirty teachers were brought to the faculty, principally in the sciences, mathematics, and English, and they were reinforced by instructors recruited in Rochester public schools and industries. During the first term certain courses were conducted in the evening; but later only delinquent students attended night classes. For faculty members not engaged in research, twelve hours a week in the classroom was the normal stint, and they carried on for eleven months of the year. Compensation for the increased time devoted to instruction was marginal; when Valentine learned of professorial grumbling about money he was filled with sorrow and anguish and excoriated the dissidents, for whom the war had involved few hardships, as "not patriotic enough to teach without extra pay." 4 IV For the trainees, naval and marine standards of discipline reigned. They were forbidden to smoke or eat on streets, to lounge about on the campus grounds, to gamble or drink excessively, or to show "undue signs of affection in public with women." Two demerits were chalked up for untidiness, ten for absence from a class, twenty-five for gambling, and fifty for drinking at an "off-limits" establishment. Penalties, as a rule, took the form of limitations on "liberty" time, but if a first-year V-12er accumulated more than 150 demerits--half that for more advanced students--severe punishment was imposed; actually, in the first period of V-12 eighty-five percent of the men had no demerits at all. A Student Discipline Board, set up in 1944, recommended penalties if men arrived late for "chow" or lingered too long in the "sack" in the morning. The intrusion of "undesirable women" on the campus led to restrictions on visitors after six p.m.; guards patrolled the ground s all night long and no one was admitted without a pass. A bugle sounded reveille at 6 a.m. and the trainees promptly "hit the deck" for vigorous setting-up exercises; lights out at 22:00 was the rule though on Sunday the hour was 24:00. Barracks were inspected daily to see that everything was tidy and clean; if not, or if there was noise at night, demerits were handed out. At the outset, only fatigue uniforms were issued, the white-garbed gobs being nicknamed "street cleaners" and the marines "garbage men; "morale perked up when "blues" were shipped in for the navy and "greens" for the marines, who eventually got storm hats and fur-lined vests as well. During the early weeks of the program, the men were not permitted to leave the campus. Later "liberty" was granted at mid-week and from 5 p.m. on Saturday to Sunday at 11 p.m., and still later extended liberty was allowed once a month, though it could only be spent within twenty-five miles of the University. If academic work and personal behavior were satisfactory, a leave of three days was permitted at the end of the term--and even longer when the picture in the fighting theaters brightened. At least two men who violated the regulations on liberty were summarily dispatched to boot camps. Cheating on academic work reached a point where the situation was described as "critical;" more cases were investigated in the first V-12 term than in the six preceding years. The faculty Committee on Academic Honesty was raised from three to six members and six students were added; proctoring of examinations was tightened up. 5 Very popular was payday, when each man received a cheque of fifty dollars from the Wave paymaster in Dewey Hall; but after deductions for insurance, a war bond, and the compulsory laundry service, not a great deal was left, though a few trainees somehow contrived to save as much as $1,000 in the course of their V-12 careers. Protests over fees to pay for athletic contests, student publications, and Todd Union were loud and long. Yet sailors and marines responded unanimously to appeals for donations of blood ("Blood ran like borscht," it was said), surpassed the quota for "The March of Dimes" to fight infantile paralysis, and some of them helped in harvesting crops and in canneries. Aside from military drill and maneuvers--held sometimes at night-physical conditioning had an important place in the V-12 program. Every man had to pass a swimming test, work one hour daily in the gymnasium, and take a strength test every four months. To the south of the campus playing fields an obstacle course was laid out, where the sailors crawled through "a rabbit run," swung on an overhead ladder, and climbed a ten-foot wall, all at a fast pace. For the winter months a miniature commando course was laid out in the gymnasium field house. To teach how to abandon a ship and how to return, a platform twenty feet high was erected on the edge of the swimming pool. From it the trainees learned the safest way to jump into the water and to scramble back on cargo nets. It was proposed that boats should be procured for training on the Genesee, one advocate, tongue in cheek, claiming that "If the Genesee can be mastered anything can," but the idea died still-born. Intercompany competitive sports included games, boxing, wrestling, and judo; rivalry was keen and the Rochester Rotary Club awarded trophies to the winning companies. Rifles did not arrive until May, 1945, and then instruction was given in the manual of arms. Customarily, a weekly review of the V-12, accompanied by band music, was arranged. And on more formal occasions full-dress reviews and parades were staged, as was true, for instance, on Memorial Day, 1944; at that time, the University alumni presented a handsome U.S. flag and a distinctive blue banner with a large white anchor in the middle," on it was inscribed in bold white letters "U.S. Navy V-12 Unit" and "University of Rochester." Throngs of onlookers at the review were impressed by the smart execution of maneuvers by the trainees. On D -Day, when the Allied forces stormed onto the beaches of Normandy, the companies were drawn up before Todd Union to listen to talks about the momentous adventure, and to the library chime playing, "O God, our help in ages past." An elaborate review was put on when the commanders of all the V-12 units in the Third Naval District met in