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Saturday, June 20, 2009

End of the Year Celebrations -- Part II

Despite my best intentions to post Part II the next day, it has been more than a full week since I posted End of the Year Celebrations -- Part I. Life has been busy!

The Kfitz Kfotz (gymnastics) performance ended at 7:15 and the Erev Shorashim (Evening Celebration of our Family Roots) began at 7:00!!

Even racing out of the gym, we did not arrive at my eldest's school until around 7:45.

We immediately went upstairs to the students' exhibition of items that have special meaning to their families. The large lobby was laid out like a museum, with artifacts mounted on the walls and on special stands, with printed explanations about the special significance of each item to the student.

I joined up with Moshe, who was there from the start. I only managed to view a few items (a volume of Gemara rescued from the floor of an antique shop in Europe after WWII, a challah cover, a Yemenite outfit embroidered by a student's grandmother), before we were directed to the auditorium for the program.

The girls put together a well balanced program, combining Divrei Torah (Jewish teaching) from the principal and several teachers, musical interludes by different groups of students, personal stories from a student (Treppenwitz's daughter, who spoke about her Aliyah experience) and several parents, and a dance performance celebrating the diverse backgrounds of the students.

All the different facets of the evening were woven together to create a sense of entertainment and community.

Afterwards, we joined together in the downstairs lobby, to taste the different foods that the girls brought, representing some of their families' special recipes. They prepared recipe books for us to take home as well!! Yumm!!!!

Before going home, we went upstairs to see the rest of the exhibition. Most of the items were already taken home by the girls. But some things were still there (a sari from India, a special Moroccan outfit worn by a girl's father for Leil HaSeder, candlesticks, silverware, childhood dolls, and a unique work of art juxtaposing a glass etching of a concentration camp, a stone from a bunk in the camp, and a picture of the grandson of the survivor of that camp in an Israeli air force uniform (this last item was brought by the daughter of one of the nurses who works in my chemo ward)).


My daughter brought a small Aron Kodesh (Torah Ark) that used to contain a miniature Kosher Torah that her great, great grandfather, Rav Ze'ev Wolf Gold, brought with him when he went to visit small communities in pre-State Israel. The Torah itself was "borrowed" by someone in the Jewish agency who never returned it.


When my daughter first asked me about a special family food, I could not even think of anything. Then she thought of the special herring salad that my Omi (grandmother), for whom she is named, prepared for breaking the fast of Yom Kippur. Our family still prepares and eats this dish after every Yom Kippur.

The thing is, it is a very unusual dish, combining herring, onions, apples, pickles, cranberries and sour cream, served cold, over hot boiled potatoes. Oh yeah, did I mention that the color of the salad is fluorescent pink? Over the years, most of our guests would pass on that part of the meal. So we were skeptical about how well that dish would go over at her school's communal dinner.

In the end, my daughter chose to make her Safta's (grandmother's) famous salad, which is a beautiful green salad with vegetables sliced julienne style, in a light vinaigrette dressing. Originally, she was going to make it together with her grandmother (Moshe's mom, who lives in Beit Shemesh). Unfortunately, her Safta did not feel well and we did our best to replicate her wonderful salad. We must have done an OK job, because the salad was gobbled up within minutes!

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


Karen said...

The herring salad sounds fascinating, even though I don't like herring. Do you think it would work with pickled salmon?

RivkA with a capital A said...

Hey Karen -- I have never had pickled salmon, so I do not know. What I do know is that the herring salad is only good with the white herring (not the pink).