Sunday, September 28, 2008

My Heritage

I was shopping at BJ's the other day, and of course I found myself browsing the books, as I always do. Most of you that read this and know me know that I do have an addiction--to books. The smell, the sounds of pages rustling, the crackling of a brand new book being opened for the first time, the feelings stirred (or not depending on the book lol) upon reading the first few words shared by another human being. As usual, I digress from my orginal writing for today. There is a book I've been wanting, Jewish Literacy, but I'm waiting for my dear husband to buy it for me because I can't rationalize spending it myself. Yes I could get it from the library, but then its not mine to go back to over and over again. Another book caught my eye, "Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family". That's my maiden name!!! Of course I had to buy it. Little did I know what was in store for me. As I began reading, I realized this isn't only a cookbook--its an anectdotal Jewish history book starting with the 1800's in Russia to the family's current stories here in the US. Understand prior to reading this, I had no idea that Rabinowitz is a very common Jewish name. Growing up as one of two (I think?) Jewish families in Marlton, I certainly didn't think it was common! (yes, Marlton--way way back yonder...) My Mom's mother died before I was born, her father in 1980, and my Dad's mother 1981, his father 1982. I didn't get to know them as an adult, and its a longing, a yearning, that is so deep there are no words to describe it. Even with Aunt Martha, it wasn't until after she passed away that I realized the lost stories that were hers. As I read this family's story in the cookbook, I am feeling this stirring in my soul, as if I'm connecting with the lost heritage of my own family. I don't mean that in the way of hidden heritage, just lost along the way somehow. (Aunt Reba--a book of the geneology research/stories you've compiled is waiting to be written..........) These stories of marriages, celebrations, hardships, pogrammes, emmigration, extermination, loss, love, survival--they are connecting me back to what I know is there in my own family roots. I am determined to build for my kids strength and joy in their heritage, and humor, too, of course! So far I've made cousin Carole's crusty potato kugel, and read Mama Hinda's (my grandma Helen's Hebrew name also was Hinda, hmmmm...) tips on getting the most height from your Challah (I was reading it and exclaimed out loud "so THATS how you do it!", Dylan came into the kitchen asking what?, I told him, he was like "oooohhhhhh, that's how you do it!", so now my challah won't be tipping over, maybe, anymore). Today I'll make Irene's old fashioned honey cake, and later in the week we'll make Aunt Sally's ultra-extra-special noodle pudding with homemade noodles (my mom has told me that Mom-Mom Fay used to make her own noodles). While cooking and baking, I will tell my kids my own stories; I'll share and share, stories they will roll their eyes to the sky because its the 18 millionth time I've told them, or stories maybe they've never heard before. The stories will become ours, rather than mine, and together, we'll build the next generation.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11

In our hearts, on our minds--where the memories of the events of 9/11/2001 should be. Time does heal all wounds, but still, we MUST remember, so that it doesn't happen again. As the time of the morning approaches the point when the first plane struck, all of my being is taken back. My heart rate is quickening, hands are sweating, as if it is all about to happen again. I think of Sondra, who was at my house that morning--neither having any idea initially what was going on, until I finally answered the phone, she her pager, and together in horrow we watched what was happening. She sat frozen on the couch as the Pentagon was hit, knowing her son was there. Thankfully, immediately she received a call that he was okay, and she returned to her job, stunned, numb, thankful, yet terrified. I spent most of the day on the phone with Chonny, as together we decided we had to have our kids with us. (Z and M were home, but D and A were at school). Whatever was going to happen, I wanted us to be together. Chonny and I were back on the phone, fearful of whether or not our husbands would be sent off somewhere, trembling each time we heard a plane fly overhead (before airspace was finally cleared), and wishing like heck the President would leave Florida to make us less a target! Eventually, Rodney and Jim were able to come home, we were the fortunate ones. Never will I forget the feeling in my heart and soul that I felt upon the realization of the amount of people killed. Sitting here, I feel it, I need only close my eyes and see the images of that day, and think of each person that lost his/her life, and pray for them and their families.
Remember, reflect. Remember, remember, remember. Our great country goes on. Flawed? Without a doubt. But still we go on, as the greatest free nation in the world.
A moment of silence for the moment of impact of the 2nd plane. I stood, eyes closed. Images of the day flew through my mind. The sick feeling of realization that this was not an accident, it was some kind of attack. I stood here in my living room, wondering how many people stopped for that moment. I am so grateful to God that I could take the moment, a simple minute out of my day, out of my LIFE that thankfully I have.
I'm struggling for the words to explain to Mall what happened that day, to explain it in a way that doesn't terrify her, yet convey the sadness and seriousness of the day. We've been talking, and it seemed sh was picking up on it and processing it. As a matter of fact, she just asked "can we have pancakes since its a special day?". Ah, leave it to children to bring us right back into the present, and right back into joy. ;)
More later, I'm sure.