Messages from a Jewish grandmother to her granddaughter
Hello my sweetest bunchkie.
When I was 6 years old….not so very long ago…I had bangs!
..and I was a little Jewish girl who didn’t celebrate Christmas.
Looking back on kindergarten and first grade it was quite normal that myself and my one Jewish friend Jeri did not celebrate Christmas…after all, we had Chanukah and EIGHT nights of presents…and a beautiful menorah with colorful candles we got to light each night before we would get a gift. The gift was small…like chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil…(ask me my thoughts on that some time in the future…) or a plastic dreidel to play a game…
No plastic Barbie houses…they were not invented yet…or a gaming station…nope, also not invented yet…and forget about electronics of any kind…but I digress…
As I said, the gifts were small.
Chanukah is one of the most benign Jewish holidays and based on a war…
Not the birth of a man gifted and cursed with saving the world.
I knew my celebrations were different from the time I entered school and became aware people ate foods I was not allowed to, and prayed on their knees, while I sat and stood up for the important stuff.
All seems silly now, but as I have grown up it is always the differences that have defined me.
I will tell you Charlotte, you are born for and of greatness. Do not take this lightly as it will serve you well to embrace your histories.
The Jewish you have received from a long line of very strong women…look at Great, great Grandma Esther on your wall…perhaps the most valiant woman of all…in my lifetime…
Being a Jew means you are strong by nature…and made stronger by your environmental surroundings.
I was mostly silent about my Judaism and being a Jew…hard to believe because as you know I am VERY vocal about most things.
I remember being in first grade…we all made these wreaths made out of elbow macaroni glued on a cardboard circle…and then we spray painted them with gold paint and sprinkled glitter all over them.
They were a gift to take home…
I cried as I told the teacher I did not have wreaths at my house…she shrugged her shoulders as if to say: ” poor little Jew”…atleast that is what my 6 year old mind heard…forgive me not…because that is what my almost 70 year old mind still hears.
I cried some more tears as I walked home from school and tossed it in the woods….(I hope some animal didn’t get sick from eating raw, glittered and spray painted elbow macaroni.)
So; I was a troubled, confused Jewish girl…it was hard…it is still hard because being a Jew we listen to a world that tells us every day the people of the world have been trying to take away our history since the “creation”.
I would encourage you to learn your History of the world, and our difficult journey.
Remember some are stories…yet our History is well documented.
We are a people…with tremendous values. We are smart, charitable and we have a will to survive you can not dismiss.
Stand up for who you are, ALWAYS.
Ask the difficult questions…search until the answers make sense…and share with the communities you live and will live in.
I remember being in Hebrew school and being your age…the Rabbi Lazarus told us all that we are the Chosen people…
I still question this statement…I encourage YOU to make sense of it…
Being Jewish means being strong and educating your friends and relatives about your ethnicity and ALWAYS standing proudly because of all you are.
Make the world better…STAR ON!
From my heart with love,