Mr. Malter returns home from the hospital but is still too weak to do anything. Rav Gershenson now calls on Reuven regularly and Reuven always answers well. Reuven comes to accept his silence with Danny and they now communicate with their eyes, nods, and gestures.
Reuven’s life is starting to come together again after all the turmoil of the last chapter. Reuven is learning the skill of communicating with silence and he realizes that it can work, although it is still only a weak imitation of conversation.
The violence continues in Palestine, and the Zionist groups become more active. They take off some afternoons to help pack supplies for the soldiers. Mr. Malter tells his son that he was asked to be the Zionist General Council in Palestine for the coming summer before he had his heart attack. He is clearly sad that he will now no longer be able to go.
The community is acting like they are involved in a war effort much more than they were during WWII. At that point they followed the war but now they are active participants in the war’s aftermath.
In the second week of May, Israel becomes a country and Reuven and Mr. Malter weep with joy. But the Arab attacks against the Jewish state continue. Mr. Malter becomes grim and Reuven worries that he will fall ill again from worry.
The good news is followed by bad. Mr. Malter is personally affected by what occurs in the Jewish homeland.
A graduate of Hirsch college is killed in the fighting around Jerusalem. Reuven did not know him but it makes the violence seem very close to home. There is a memorial service at school, and Reb Saunders’ anti-Zionist league dies on that day.
The plight of Israel becomes personal when someone connected to the school dies. The personal impact on characters is inseparable from larger events in Jewish history.
Reuven does very well on his final exams and he goes to the cottage with his father for August. In September, Mr. Malter resumes teaching and Reuven enters his third year of college. He greatly enjoys school and he is now studying philosophy because symbolic logic is a part of philosophy. The war in Israel continues but it is now run by Israelis and is less a worry of American Jews. Then, one day, Danny comes over to Reuven’s lunch table and asks him for some help with math.
We truly know when the tension has started to calm when Reb Saunders allows Danny to speak to Reuven again. Danny speaks to Reuven again as if he had never stopped, showing that it was never his choice in the first place. The battle over Zionism has cooled, at least among Brooklyn Jews.