I never knew my grandparents very well.  My grandfather was from Odessa Russia, and so was my grandmother.  They struggled in Russia and later they would escape the struggles of the Pogroms.  Their lives were quite difficult, knowing that they must leave the city at night, but could come into the city by day.  My father was born in Russia, although he claimed in his lifetime, that he was born in England. Not so.

My grandfathers name was Harry and My grandmothers name was Bluma.  They ultimately got to America, with thousands of other Jewish Immigrants, who escaped the horrors of Russia.  My grandfather was a fine tailor and my grandmother a housewife.

I knew them as a child.  I still remember sitting on my grandfathers lap, and I was about 4 years of age.  My grandfather was a very strong man, in heart, body and soul.  At that time, he drove across the United States, and back.  That was in the l930’s.  He died when he was in his 50’s.  My grandmother Bluma died shortly after. I do remember the holidays, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.  My grandfather, Harry help build the first synagogue in East Los Angeles.  The synagogue was Orthodox, and as a child, I remember sitting in the hot balcony with my mother, and grandmother.  The men sat on the first floor, praying, and my first memories were of the intense heat, the intense warmth of their hearts, and even sitting in a high chair in their modest home in East Los Angeles, during the Jewish Holidays, and on Friday Shabbat.  My grandmother would cook all day with her chicken soup, and her matzoh balls, and her homemade Challah.She had light brown hair.  She would collect the eggs from the chicken coups in the small yard, and sell some, and keep some for food.

Because my grandfather was a fine tailor, he had made a beautiful velvet envelope for his Tallis.  The tallis was marked with a Jewish Star, and my own father used it on the Jewish Holidays for his own Tallis.  That beautiful velvet envelope lies in my bedroom drawer, filled with my memories of my grandfather, and then my father.  I handle it gently, and I care for it like it was a fine gold piece.  It too is very old, but not tattered, but lies in my drawer.  I take it out once in a great moon to smell, the smell of the memories, and to feel the smooth velvet, and thank God that I too have survived, and have what I have.

What I have in my possession is her candelabra, (the candlestick) that she said the Shabbat over, lighting the lights, to glisten, and a sign for Shabbos to begin,  every Friday night at sundown, with her homemade soup, so hot and tasty, and her Challah, so gentle and warm when the bread hit your mouth.  The candelabra  is very worn,  I have had it repaired numerous times, but it too is old.  I handle it like it is a fine piece of art, or glass. because it is so fragile, but it is still bright and shinny, and in its glory as it is sterling in more ways than one.  If the candelabra could talk, the stories it would tell, from the horror of Russia, crossing to America, and bringing very little, but the candelabra was obviously a possession to be cherished for ever.

I still find it amazing that I remember their smell, their house, their bedroom in front, but ever so small.  Before I was born, my parents lived there with my brother, as times were bad for them too.Most of all I remember the food, the holidays, the moving of all chometz or (bread) from the house before passover.  I remember the hot chocolate, as I sat on my grandfathers lap, before he died. It is very different these days, as Shabbat is celebrated very little.  People have no time for these wonderful traditions, to take time every week, to thank God, for what we have, and say “Good Shabbos,” for the week to come. DI