July 19, 2024
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July 19, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Every Erev Rosh Hashanah we take out the silver chest which holds the sterling silver cutlery Nina’s grandparents used for many years in Berlin and eventually was passed on to Nina’s parents who lived on Long Island. When Nina’s mother moved out of her house she told our daughter Chavie that she wanted her to eventually have the set of silverware. Chavie in turn gave it to us and wanted us to use it for as long as we are able. The silverware is very ornate and we always laugh about the size of the soup spoons and wonder if it is possible that many years ago in Germany people had larger mouths or perhaps they only put the tip of the spoon into their mouth. Whatever they did is certainly not something that we are accustomed to today.

As we look around our home we notice other reminders of the homes that our parents and grandparents lived in. We have paintings, Royal Copenhagen and Meissen China, silver Kiddush cups and many other things that have travelled across oceans to be a part of our lives. We often ask ourselves what will happen to these beautiful reminders of our past. Will our children savor the memories of where these things came from and the importance that they have meant to us over the years?

To this day Nina uses her mother’s rolling pin when she needs to roll out dough. She still has the same chopper that her mother used to chop liver. In this generation of disposable everything what will really matter in the future? There are other less tangible reminders such as the continuation of no one ever sitting in our chairs as we never sat in those of our parents, the making of horseradish which Mordechai watched his father do each year and which our grandchildren have continued to do, the occasional singing of the German Shir HaMalos which Nina’s family sang each week, playing hoppa reiter, a German game which bounces small children on laps. None of us really know the words to hoppa, hoppa reiter so we all improvise and the improvisation as the generations grow has become less and less familiar to the original words but the tune and the antics remain the same.

Each year it was our parent’s tradition to use sickle pears as their new fruit of the year. We have yet to see anyone use these pears any more. Instead fruits with names that most of us cannot even pronounce and prices that most of us would prefer not to spend are decorating our yom tov tables. We did notice the poor sickle pears sitting in the fruit sections of the stores but sadly no one is bothering with them anymore. We guess they are not exotic enough.

We think that Rosh Hashanah and the next days until Yom Kippur are times for us to strive to be better and to remember where we came from and what our families sacrificed for us in order for us to become what we are today. For some of us, grandparents hid in forests when they were 11 and 12 years old to escape the agony of war. For others, grandparents and parents that never saw the beauty of Yiddishkeit in their homes are now living Torah committed lives.

Where will the coming year take all of us? Most importantly we will strive to be better people and to appreciate the sun, the rain, the snow and anything else that comes our way. We should remember the relics and memories of the past and try to bring them into our everyday life especially at Yom Tov. We will take out the huge soup spoons and talk of those who used them across the ocean a very long time ago and we know that if our grandparents were alive today and were to see the beautiful Torah family that has evolved over the years they will be shining down upon us. Shana Tova.

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

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