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Grandmothers

Grandmothers

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You never really knew what happened to your oldest brother, Chaim. Did he, too, perish in the war? Perhaps he survived and changed his name?
Winter 1945. The Death March. For those who weren’t there, no words can truly describe it, and for those who were there, no words are needed.
It seemed to many like a happy ending: a museum working to find the paintings’ rightful owners; a German government committed to righting the wrongs of the Nazi era; grateful heirs finally reunited with their plundered property. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy.
Although I never met my grandmother, I believe that if she could see me, she would be proud that I have continued her legacy of kindness—one that is deeply embedded in the Judaism she practiced.
I had three maternal great-aunts, matriarchal figures who were treated like priceless antiques.
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s story is unusual, but her family situation reminded me of my grandmother’s. My grandmother and her parents also left Austria at the last possible moment. They also left behind relatives and friends. Grandma even initially lived in London for two years, at the same time and in the same neighborhood as the Prawers.
I wish you could have felt her gaze on you, full of wonder and love, making you feel protected and cherished, as I did throughout my life. She would have thought you were little miracles, just like I do . . .
For us, it was, indeed, a life-changing moment. But in truth, there wasn't much to report about the whole event. It was a textbook delivery of a healthy baby girl...
My little girl, who just yesterday was crawling on my kitchen floor, is going to be a mommy. How is that possible? She can’t even make dentists appointments for herself...
I was lectured, scolded, and told I might never be allowed out of the house again... her precious daughter was imperfect. Grandma Rachel finally intervened and suggested I visit Grandma Bella till the crisis passed...
Her mother had given her a Jewish soul. But it was these four parents of her parents who reached across a generation to give her the gift of a Jewish heart...
I thought about doting grandmothers who ask, “By the way, have I shown you the pictures of my brilliant, gorgeous grandchildren?” Was I ready to join the ranks of the silver-haired, mah jong playing, picture-toting club?
As interpreted by someone halfway there...
My journey has often been marked by sharp, uneven pebbles, other times lined with blooming flowers; the wisdom I have acquired along the way may be useful to some of you...
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