Roz Grossman (ז”ל)


It was in the early days of the Club, when I was still living in the US — but played at the Jerusalem Club any Tuesday night I was in Israel.  One time, introduced by Sam as a Visiting Expert, I was set up with FIVE simultaneous games.  Three of my opponents were Palestinian — a nurse from Nazareth and two young men from East Jerusalem.  It was shortly after Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem, so when I found the letters AANRW on my rack, I rearranged them to spell ANWAR, and showed the three Arabs.   “A man of peace,” I pronounced.   “Before he went to pieces,” sourly punned one of the two men.    And in my ear came Sam’s voice:  “Just play Scrabble and stop with the [bleeping] politics!”


I received an SOS from Sam.  The Club needed dictionaries — it was OSPD1, in those days — and there were none to be had.  I called a bunch of New York stores and, sure enough, no one had any.  Until a small bookstore in Long Island confessed to a cache of 15.  “Hold them!”  I urged.  “I’ll be there tomorrow.”   The timing was perfect, I was going to Israel the day following.  But that night, New York got six inches of snow.  This was something for Chester Collins.  A fellow Scrabble-player, he’s the kind of guy who does the difficult at once, and needs only a little longer for the impossible.  As soon as he heard the Jerusalem Club needed dictionaries, Chester swung into action.  He trudged from his Queens home to Long Island and back again, the dictionaries stowed in a plastic US Mail sack.  (It was never clear to me if this was borrowed or stolen.)  Next day, I made the 45-minute drive between his home and mine in a snowy three hours, and boarded the Tel Aviv plane, the dictionaries safely in my suitcase.