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About the Contest
Whether it is on your dining room table or deep in a box in Aunt Sarah’s basement, chances are … your family owns heirloom Judaica and the National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP) wants to reward you for its safekeeping!

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Kiddush Cups Set

Eight children and their two parents huddled together by a ramshakle wood-burning stove on frigid nights in Lagow, Poland. Their tiny two-room home and dependence on crop farming for survival was a far cry from the world we live in today. But every Friday night, Mama Gittel would take out the shiny Kiddish Cup set to welcome in the Sabbath Queen. It was one thing the children could rely upon each and every week. That little silver set was the one constant in a world of rapid change.
Though the set was very plain and simple, the family must have known it was special. For it was the one nonessential item that was wrapped up and stuffed into my grandmother's small bag that arctic night in 1939 when she boarded a boat to Panama. As the fourth of the eight children to leave, she was the last one out.
For nearly three decades, as assimilation felt compulsory for my grandparents, the set remained wrapped up and stored away. The tiny cups hadn't experienced the coolness of the Shabbos wine, nor heard the kedusha of the Friday night blessing in far too long. Two generations void of Shabbos observance had allowed the silver set to fall by the wayside.
Though one of many grandaughters, as a young adult I was the only one to return to my Jewish roots. When I began to keep Shabbos, and then my grandmother passed away shortly after, I was the obvious choice to inherit the set. I longed to once again breathe life into the special cups. Though notably tarnished, I was determined to use the set on my own Shabbos table every week. Using an object for a Mitzvah which was given by a person who has passed away is a big merit. It is said this elevates their soul in heaven. My grandmother must be soaring high.
I want my children to feel the connection to the grandmother that escaped Jewish oppression and came to this country to give her family a better life. Most importantly, despite her hurried departure, she was blessed with the insight to grab something that held spiritual signifigance then, and still does to this day. Though the two families who used the set every Shabbos are world's apart, we are connected not only by blood, but by a tradition so strong, not even Hitler could keep us apart from it.

--Clifton, NJ



Could I have waited any longer to submit this entry? Here it is, December 31, 2007, at 5:12 PM. Part of the reason why it took me so long to get this together has to do with my great-grandfather's legacy.

Isadore Singer, my maternal grandfather's father, was a cavalryman in the Russian army under Czar Nicholas II. His prestigious position was very unusual; in fact, he was the only Jewish soldier in the cavalry. Due to persecution against his family and community, Isadore decided to make a run for America. Around the year 1902, when he was about 21 years old, Isadore escaped to America. He deserted the army in the middle of the night, said good-bye forever to his only brother Benjamin, and took only one object with him: his menorah. It took him weeks to get to Germany, and from then on to the United States through Ellis Island.

Isadore Singer came to this country so that I could be free, even though he never knew me. He risked his life for an idea, a place where Jews could live without persecution. Not that my grandparents didn't have to put up with discrimination, and not that I didn't encounter the occasional rude and ignorant comment growing up; but every time I think about pogroms or the Holocaust, I thank G-d my great-grandfather was brave enough to risk all. I grew up lighting his menorah every Chanukah, and so the holiday came to mean more than religious freedom from the ancient King Antiochus, but also tangible religious freedom for my family and myself.

His legacy: four sons, three of whom went to college, of which he was enormously proud. (He hung their diplomas on the outside of his front door so all the neighbors could see.) His oldest son, Benjamin, my grandfather, passed away more than ten years ago, but his youngest son, my great-uncle Meyer, is still my pen pal from New York. We just got together this summer at my brother's wedding.

I know that I am also part of Isadore Singer's legacy. And so it is that I sit here at my computer more than 100 years after he came to the United States, typing this entry, a 'typical' harried American with a gazillion things to do. That's why he came here. So I could be me.

Thank you for reading this.

--Sacramento, CA


Stones From Temple Mount

As the van rumbled and bumped over the sand, I was still complaining about going. By going, I thought I was "signing up" for an unexciting day that I would get nothing out of. I was 12 years old and this was my families' first trip to Israel. We were going to sort bits and pieces from the Temple Mount that the Arabs had escalated to enlarge their mosque and dumped somewhere. I was upset that we would be sorting priceless artifacts and wouldn't be able to keep a single one. Oh, how wrong I was! We finally arrived at a large tent with sifters along the sides. At the back of the tent there was a presentation waiting for us. The staff showed us the history of the Temple Mount-from the Canaanites to the Israelites to the Romans to the Muslims and Crusaders. It was fascinating! Then the employees told us how to sort the artifacts-one jar for the mosaics, one for the glass, and one for the clay. Then they assigned us sifters and we got to work. The "work" was actually incredibly fun. It was unbelievable to actually be handling pieces of history, things that you would look at in a museum behind thick glass. I was humiliated when I actually thanked my dad for something I had so objected to at first.

While I was watching what was being done with the artifacts, I noticed that the most precious things of all, the unaltered stones from the temple mount, were just being tossed outside to be discarded. But what value they held, they were the stones that G-d had promised us. My forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had walked on. That King David had fought for, that King Solomon had built the temple on, and King Harod had expanded the temple on, that Jews over the centuries had cried over. They are the stones that my forefathers had for generations, been praying to be able to see and to ascend on. They were the most precious things in the of the excavation, but they had been put out as ordinary rocks. We asked the head of the excavation, if we would be able to take a few, and she agreed. They are proudly displayed in a glass bowl, to remind me of G-d's promise, our history, our future and unexpected endings.

--New Hempstead, NY

Silver Candlesticks

My grandmother, Rose, came to America in 1905, never to see her family again, and met my grandfather soon after arriving. Her mother, my great grandmother, sent her a wedding gift: A beautiful pair of silver candlesticks.

The candlesticks became Rose’s most precious and valuable possession. She faced terribly hard times, but never parted with them, although there were many instances when the money they would have brought would have been very welcome.

While in her twenties, Rose was left a widow with four young children, and no family to rely on for help. She worked hard, doing anything she could to feed her family. Her sons began working when they were not yet ten years old. Yet in spite of the poverty they faced, the candlesticks were on the table every Friday night, as a symbol of love and hope. Even though this family never had many material possessions, they were close-knit and happy, and my mother related many stories depicting the happiness and laughter that permeated her childhood.

The depression passed, the children grew up, and the financial situation eased. However, lack of poverty did not bring happiness. In the midst of WWII, Rose’s youngest son was on his way home for Rosh Hashana, having obtained a ten day pass for the holiday. With a train ticket in his pocket, he was offered a place on an army transport plane, which would get him home several days earlier. The plane arrived at its first destination without a problem, yet after take-off for the second leg of its trip, got only sixty feet in the air when it exploded, killing all on board. Rose lost so much that day; not only her son, but her faith, and her will to live. When Rose contracted stomach cancer a few years later, her death came quickly.

My mother had married just a few months before Rose’s death, and the candlesticks were now in her home. Although the deaths of her brother and mother nearly destroyed her faith, they were lit every week, not as a sign of religious observance, but as a way to connect her to her past, to those she loved and missed so much. I grew up knowing that one day the candlesticks would be mine, part of my history and legacy.

Although I grew up in a traditional, but not religious, Jewish home, I returned to Orthodoxy while in my teens. When I got my first apartment, I asked for the candlesticks, knowing that I would always light them, on time, to welcome the Sabbath, as they were intended to be used. My mother would not even consider it, insisting that no one would ever get those candlesticks while she was alive. When I married, I again asked for the candlesticks, the reason being that I did not want to get them only because my mother died. Instead, I wanted to have them when she could see me use and enjoy them, but she once again refused.

Life, however, takes some unexpected turns. My mother, a victim of Alzheimer’s, moved into a nursing home. For the first few months, she asked repeatedly about the candlesticks, often calling in the middle of the night, unable to rest until she was sure they were safe. When her mental status deteriorated to the point that she forgot about them, I knew that I had lost her forever. When she died, I had the image of the candlesticks engraved on her headstone, the one way that she would forever be close to them.

I am finally in possession of the beloved heirlooms, but have never been able to bring myself to light them, even after her death, and they remain locked in a safe.

Perhaps anticipating the ongoing disagreement regarding the candlesticks, a much loved cousin gave me a pair of my own when I turned sixteen. It is these candlesticks that I light weekly now. My youngest daughter is named for this cousin, and we only recently realized the connection. Her name, Meira, means “a shining light”.

We are now planning Meira’s Bat Mitzvah, and she has chosen to learn about the mitzvah of Hadlikat HaNerot, lighting the candles. At her celebration, I am going to give her the candlesticks that were given to me by my cousin, the wonderful woman for whom she is named. Then I will resume lighting the candlesticks that have been passed down from generation to generation in my family, and will do so not with sadness, because I have lost my mother, but with joy, because my youngest daughter will now be recognized as an adult, by HaShem and Klal Yisrael.

--Teaneck, NJ


Sephardic Borekas

From the glorious days of Renaissance Spain to the expulsion of the Jews during the Spanish Inquisition in 1492, our ancestors, originally from Zaragoza, Spain, fled to Greece and Turkey, essentially leaving everything behind except for Jewish traditions and memories. At the end of WW II and the Holocaust, the Saragoussi family again immigrated in the 1950s, this time, to the US seeking a better quality of life. With cherished family possessions lost or stolen during the war, my family arrived in New York City by way of the Italian ocean liner, Andrea Doria, with only clothes-filled suitcases, traditions, and memories. One of those saved traditions is the rich, unchanged recipes of delicious Sephardi cuisine. Borekas, a Sephardic delight and staple whose unwritten recipe has passed through the many hands of the Saragoussi family, are still lovingly prepared and savored in our family’s homes today.

I remember watching my Turkish-born grandmother, Nona, who journeyed with our family to America and lived with us during her twilight years, preparing all the ingredients to make the tasty borekas. With nothing more than a fork, knife, bowl, a smooth glass cup (used to cut and roll the dough), and her strong, skillful hands, Nona would swiftly prepare the dough, then mix chopped beef OR feta or kashkaval (a robust Greek yellow cheese), or even merenjena (eggplant) with eggs, scallions, and a dash of pepper into a bowl. Then, one by one, she would flatten the small rounds of dough, fill and form the half-moon shaped borekas. Depending on the filling, Nona sealed the edges of the dough differently to identify its contents – cheese edged with fork marks, meat finished with the edge tightly twisted. Finally, once the borekas were arranged on the baking sheet, Nona would dip her fingers into the egg wash and carefully “brush” the top of each boreka. A half-hour later, with the house filled with the familiar scent of freshly baked pastries, my sisters and I would congregate in the kitchen, eagerly waiting for Nona to serve us fresh, hot borekas.

What makes these unique and delicious Sephardic pastelles so meaningful and so part of our family’s Jewish identity is, unlike the foods of Eastern European Jews, the Sephardi incorporated ingredients available in the Mediterranean region – feta cheese or eggplant. More importantly, my Nona, and now my mother, aunts, and my sisters and I, all prepare borekas for Shabbat meals, Jewish holiday gatherings, and as a special treat for company – a way in which our family shares our rich Sephardi tradition with guests.

Borekas were and are still such an important family food, that we bring them on trips, picnics, school and work lunches. We have even sent them through the mail to our children in college! As our latest family’s generation is further removed from the original Zaragoza family, all of my living relatives continue to bake with our youngest family members passing on the tradition of making delicious borekas – using the same ingredients and skillful hands!


Shabbat Lamp

“Would you like a Sabbath lamp that used to belong to your grandfather?”

“Heavens yes!” I replied to my aunt, calling from Seattle.

Why me? flitted through my head, but I knew the answer. My aunt’s one child was no longer Jewish. I was the “religious fanatic” of the family. That meant that we lit Shabbat candles, recited Kiddush, and sent our son, the only child old enough for school, to Hillel Academy. My aunt didn’t know – and maybe we didn’t either, yet – that we were on our way to keeping kosher.

The 19th century Sabbath lamp proved to be almost identical to one my husband and I had admired in the Milwaukee Public Museum. Its tapered, fluted vessel held enough oil to light a room far into the night. Originally the oil had flowed into arms that radiated horizontally to form an eight-pointed star. Hooked to the center point was a drip catcher. By the time I received it, a thick electrical cord almost obscured the square-linked chain on which it hung, and round light bulbs had replaced the wicks.

When my mother saw the lamp hanging in our Milwaukee living room, she recognized it instantly despite the updated plastic wiring and thin, flame-like bulbs.

“When I was a child, this used to hang in an alcove off the living room,” she told me. “Before dinner on Fridays, Dad would saunter over and click on the light.”

Knowing that Friday had been just another night for her privileged, Reform family, I was intrigued. I asked my grandmother, then in her lively, opinionated nineties, to verify Mom’s little-girl recollection. “No such thing!” She remembered the lamp, but the Friday-night detail had escaped either her notice or her memory.

My grandfather, whom I knew only as a photograph on my grandmother’s dresser, must have been a forward-thinking man to electrify this lamp in the early 1900s. Yet, judging by my mother’s account, he had clung to a piece of the tradition that had motivated his family to carry the lamp across the ocean in the mid-1800s from Bavaria to the far western shores of the new world.

This family heirloom became important to my family’s growing Sabbath observance. As each child grew tall enough to reach the switch, turning it on before Shabbat became his or her special job.

Now, each week I click on the Shabbat lamp before holding a match to my white candles. Past merges with present as I circle the flames with my hands to draw their light and serenity into my soul. I say the blessing, then pray silently for the people I love.

Four decades after I first unwrapped it, the Sabbath lamp glows long after my candles have burned out. Someday, it will light a child or grandchild’s home, a symbol of this recovered tradition that will, I hope, continue to my grandchildren’s grandchildren and beyond.

--Rochester, New York


Kiddush Cups

I am a Holocaust survivor from Eastern Poland. After liberation I returned to my hometown hoping to find remnants of my family, but it was not to be.

I had no possessions, not even a blanket or a pillow. I remembered that my parents gave some items that they were able to hide from the Nazis to our former Ukrainian maid for safekeeping.

Literally taking my life in my hands again, I set out on foot to the village where she lived. There were rumors that survivors who tried to retrieve their possessions often did not get what was rightfully theirs and were brutally killed, but that did not stop me.

When I entered her cottage, she crossed herself and murmured a prayer. Did she think I was a ghost or was she happy I survived? I explained that I only came to get some bedding and that I did not want anything else. I did not know what my parents left with her.

She started to take out silverware, knickknacks, and my parent’s precious Kiddush cups. I immediately recognized the familiar pieces. My throat closed, I could not utter a word. Memories flooded my mind of my mom lovingly polishing my father’s Kiddush cup, her cup and the cup used for Elijah the prophet on Passover. I cried bitterly, touching each piece, as, in my mind I saw clearly my father lifting the cup and saying the blessing over the wine.

The cups and the tray are all I have left from a home rich in Jewish tradition – my parent’s legacy. Although our maid was willing to give me other things, I took only these items and some bedding since I did not know where I would go or how I would live.

From that day on, the cups were with me through all the hardships that came. The journey was not easy to leave Europe and build a new life out of the ashes. I was married for 44 years to a loving man who also believed in tradition. Together we raised a wonderful family.

The Kiddush cups graced our table on holidays and special occasions. Recently my grandson got married and he and his lovely bride drank wine from my father’s cup under the “Chuppa”.

I hope my daughter and son, and their children after them, will cherish the Kiddush cups as tribute to their grandparents and great-grandparents.

--Upper Montclair, NJ


Kiddush Cup

"Do you have The Cup?," my father asked me, panicking that we could not find The Cup. This was the Friday night after my older son's bris, which had taken place that morning. The Cup has been used for generations for such occasions and my father had my brother bring it from New York to Pittsburgh to continue this tradition. The Cup was on the dining room table, safe and sound, but we were all a bit nervous until it returned to its proper home in Far Rockaway.

This silver Kiddush cup belonged to my great great great great great grandfather. No, those are not typos. My 5th great grandfather Joseph Strauss was born in 1750 and died in 1827 in Schollkrippen Germany. We don't know at what point he received the cup and we don't know how he acquired it, although it may have been made for the family as we had silversmiths amongst our kin. What we do know is that it has been passed down from son to son again and again for seven generations. The silver on this simple yet elegant cup has been worn down from usage over the years. These days, The Cup only comes out for brit milah and for Pesach. But it is a living thing in our family and needs to be used, even if only sparingly, to keep it healthy and well.

The first known instance of its use was for the bris of my great grandfather, Louis Strauss in Schollkrippen. It was used for the bris of my grandfather and of my great uncle in Schollkrippen. But in April of 1938, the conditions in Germany forced my Opa out of his small town and The Cup was one of the few pieces he was allowed (and encouraged by his parents) to take with him to his new home in the United States. He
married and continued the tradition by using it at the brit milahs of his two sons. It was used at the bris of my brother and again more recently at the brit milahs of my two sons, the younger of whom was born in July of 2007 and is named for my Opa and his brother. I know that the grandfathers of my family would be thrilled to know that their Cup has seen the family through so many simchas. May the tradition and The Cup continue for many generations to come.

-Pittsburgh, PA


Spice Box

Jewish ceremonial objects made of carved wood from pre-war Europe are extremely scarce. This spice tower is of the utmost rarity, as European spice towers that have survived the millennia were made in brass or silver. With a great deal of skill, the artist of this piece carved two separate pieces of wood, so that the entire top half can be lifted off, and spices inserted. This tower, with its delicately carved spires, is topped by a flag upon which has a Star of David. Each side of the tower also has a Star of David. This rare survival of Polish-Jewish woodcarving is intact only because it arrived at Ellis Island over 100 years ago. I purchased this tower from an elderly woman in 2003. She received it from her mother-in-law on her wedding day in 1952. Her mother-in-law had owned it since she was a young woman, it being a gift from her grandfather, who carved it while living in Poland, the land of his birth, and later brought it with him on his trip to America. This elderly woman was quite sad to part with it, as she first offered it to her children as an heirloom, but they did not want it, even stating “its junk, throw it away”. This lady told me that she thought it must have some value due to its age, so she kept it, until I made her acquaintance, and purchased it from her.

Not only am I happy that this woman “rescued it” from the trash, but that through fate, or more likely, “Divine Intervention”, I was able to buy it, as I appreciate its rarity and importance. On a personal note, my maternal grandmother was born and raised in the town of Oswiecim, which is in Poland. If this town sounds familiar, it’s because that is where the infamous concentration camp Auschwitz was created. My grandmother, Nechama Fleisher, survived five years (!), of slave labor at various camps in Poland and what is the present day Czech Republic. For me to own this rare piece of Jewish woodcarving from Poland, the birthplace of my grandmother, and my other relatives who did not survive the Holocaust, means the world to me.

-Long Beach, NY



Pictured lighting candles from left to right P.G.(mother), S.S. daughter) and P.S(grandma)

P.S.’s Aunt Ruth (of blessed memory) received the candlesticks from her mother before leaving Russia as a teenager just after the turn of the century. Ruth never married and on the occasion of P.S.'s 25th wedding anniversary, Ruth gave the candlesticks to her. Subsequently, P.S. has given them to her oldest daughter P.G. S.S, our daughter, seen in the center will one day receive them from P.G.

These candlesticks often adorn our table for Shabbat and holidays, which we typically share with .....[extended family.]

Also shown is a wine cup from P.G's Grandfather , the challah cutting board, which we purchased in Aruba on our honeymoon and a ... Siddur, which we use to recite the blessings.

-Annandale, Virginia


Grampa's Menorah

In my family, there are precious few "religious heirlooms". In fact, other than this menorah, I can only think of my Grandmother's small, white, swan-shaped porcelain honey dishes used by my mother each Rosh Hashanah.This menorah is not much to look at. Although it is pure silver, it is small, a bit slanted to one side and it's missing the shamesh.

But to our family, it's the most beautiful menorah around.My mother still remembers that cold winter day when my Grampa brought the menorah home. He was wearing his trademark silk and wool scarf which was easily one and a half times as long as he was tall. He entered the home, menorah in hand. No wrapping paper, no cushioning, heck, no bag. Just the menorah in his shivering hand.This menorah came with silver caps so that you could put the oil right into the cup, place the wick in the oil and thread it through the silver cap. However, by the time Grampa got home that windy evening, a few of the caps had blown away. And, so, the caps were never used. I'm not sure what happened to the shamesh but I wouldn't be surprised if that blew away too!Grampa Aaron was something special. He was about as close as I ever got to "the old country". He had a heavy accent and his English was liberally spiced with Yiddish. He wore long underwear (longe gotkes) all year round including in the summer. He would cross major thoroughfares with absolute disregard for traffic signals and vehicular presence. Holding both armsstraight out to his sides as a stop sign was sufficient. When frightened he would say "Oy, I almost became a hearts attack." He couldn't understand why ice cream had pits (chocolate chips to me and you) and he, quite simply, did not hear too well. In the summer, Grampa Aaron would sit outside our bungalow in a brown chaise chair, taking in the country air and smiling. He quickly became popular with the colony kids who knew that a quick hello and a smile would yield chocolates, sucking candies and a few quarters for the pinball machine.

I'm not quite sure what it is about this menorah that makes it so special. Perhaps it's because, like Grampa, though it may be small, old and a bit hunched to one side and though it may be missing a few pieces, beneath it all, it's pure. And I guess it's because this menorah is one of the few remaining links of my family's Jewish past.

--Great Neck, New York

An Airport Grager

We were in Poland in September 2003 and went to an open air antique market.We spotted this [grager] and felt that no matter what the value it should be in a Jewish home.The vendor seemed to understand how badly we wanted it and kept reassuring us that it was very valuable and so would not come down in his price.We decided to walk away from his table hoping that when we returned he would give us a better deal. We went straight to a money machine – we felt that cash would make our case stronger, but when we returned to his table about twenty minutes later to our horror the [grager] was gone!! We were so upset and asked him what had happened to it and he told us he had sold it to another couple while we were gone. At this stage we would gladly have paid full price for it and more, much more! As we walked away very dejectedly the vendor roared with laughter and held it up- he had hidden it away from us. We are now the proud owners of this exquisite piece of Judaica –as we polished it up and saw the markings on it we were so excited. We don’t really even know the value of it but it has silver markings

- Houston Tx


They are not beautiful or shiny like other candlesticks you may have seen. As a matter of fact, they wobble a bit from side to side – uneven in their old age. And as I look at my grandmother’s brass candlesticks, I know with all certainty that they are priceless.

Dorothy Malkin was love. She was pride. She was confidence and humor. She was intelligence and dignity. She was Dove soap and Clinque face cream. Broiled salmon and steamed broccoli. Story teller. Advocate. Secret-keeper. Junk food dealer. Dream believer.

When I got married, she gave me her grandmother’s candlesticks. I am not sure if my grandmother lit candles each Friday night, or whether her mother did. It is possible these tall and solid pieces were not used regularly for decades. Before the wedding she told me that they were to be my gift. She shared that she had intended to leave them to me when she left the world but a friend suggested she give them to me then and there…so that she could watch me enjoy them. And in my home, the candlesticks have been put to use each Friday night.

She was there for all of my dance performances and school plays, my graduations and applications. Banged up bicycles and backflips. Bellyaches and boyfriends. She was there to walk down the aisle and to share in the joys of my new marriage. She was there to witness the birth of our miraculous firstborn. To rock and sing to him, feed him cheerios and laugh at his energy.

And then, she was gone. Taking with her all of the light, joy, and miraculous ability to make each and every person in her path feel entirely perfect and wonderful and special. And she was not here when our second beautiful son was born. She was not here for the purchase of our first home where the candlesticks proudly stand. She was not here when I started a business inspired by hers. She was not here for the birth of our precious baby girl Dorothy, named after her, just months ago.

But each Friday night, I light. I light the candles she gave me and I pray a special prayer for each child. And I know that one day our little Dorothy will light candles in these very special candlesticks. I pray that through my genes and Hashem’s miraculous wonders … each of our children, and their children and theirs and on forever…will have as much of my grandmother in them as is possible - that candles in these candlesticks will continue to shine bright on Friday nights far into the future.

They may not look worth their weight in brass but they are priceless to me.

--Bergenfield, NJ


The Leather Suitcase

My father and his parents arrived to the United States in the late 1950’s after surviving the Holocaust. Although my father learned to speak English fluently my grandmother, Zsofia spoke only very broken English even up until her death at the age of 102. It was evident though, after my grandfather Miklos’s death in the 1970’s, followed by my father’s death in 1987 that my grandmother was in pain not only from losing two of the most important people in her life, but also having lost siblings and other relatives in the concentration camps. Growing up I remember my grandmother sharing countless photos with me of relatives, and can now only guess their relationship to me by the few, legible handwritten notes in Hungarian on the backs of them. She kept these in a brown leather suitcase which told its age by the weathered scratches, and string in place of where a handle once was. Each time I look at it now I am reminded of the scene from Schindler’s List when Jews boarded trains, and their suitcases were thrown into piles which would later be raped of their belongings. Upon my grandmother’s death I was given this suitcase, but didn’t realize until after having gone through it just how special the contents were to her. This brown leather, scratched suitcase with withered stitching around the edges was much more than a box where she kept her memories. It was filled with photos,
passports, a name change document, European travel authorization letters, handwritten Hungarian recipes on paper so frail it crumbles at the touch, and a Hungarian Passover Hagada. It truly represented a time capsule of her memoirs.
What I find to be so extraordinary about how she kept her most valuable possessions is that she didn’t know how valuable they were during her life. Everything in this suitcase is her history. Points of time filled with joy and sometimes even heartbreak will be passed down to future generations so we will never forget. We can never forget where we came from and how important it is to remember.

--Sandy Springs, GA

1896 Hungarian Hagada

There, buried amidst my grandmothers most valuable possessions, in a simple brown leather suitcase, I found this amazing Hagada dating back to 1896. It’s delicate purple cover with gold embossed lettering with binding so frail it almost crumbles just looking at it was simple, yet powerful. Anyone looking at it knew it had been through , many generations, crossed oceans and told its readers each year of the storyof Pesach.I do not know how this sacred book got into my grandmother’s ownership before she emigrated to the United States, but I can only imagine and feel in my heart that my great ancestors once held it in the palms of their hands as well. How they shared wonderful meals, wine, songs and of course the Four Questions with family and friends throughout these joyous celebrations makes this cherished book havesecrets only those carrying it will recognize, understand and be able to identify with.I feel as though it is one of few treasured pieces they were able to leave Budapest with after having survived the Holocaust. For over a century of Seders my ancestors held this divine script. Hitler passedover my grandparents and father during the Holocaust, as G-d passed over our ancestors homes as thestory of Pesach is told. How blessed I feel to have this brilliant heirloom.

--Sandy Springs, GA