We were halfway to Gettysburg—our troop spring trip—when our scoutmaster said we would stop for lunch at the next Roy Rogers. While the two patrols wolfed down fried chicken and hot roast beef sandwiches, Grossmann stayed in the van with his Matzah crackers and canned tuna because it was Passover, and also because he had kept kosher ever since returning from a trip to Israel that previous summer.
Before we left for Gettysburg, our history class completed its chapter on the Second World War. Grossmann, however, wasn’t as excited for European history as he was for honors chemistry, and that semester, we didn’t discuss the Holocaust as much as we discussed the flawed 48th Article of the Weimar Constitution, which allowed Hitler to consolidate his power after declaring a state of national emergency.
Grossmann never showed much of a sense of humor, but he did bring a joke back from Israel. He would ask me: “What do you call a hundred Palestinians floating face down in the Red Sea?” I shrugged indifferently every time he asked me. “A good start,” he concluded.
I must’ve heard that joke a dozen times during our troop’s trip to Gettysburg. Grossmann never let me forget it.