Sweet, Sweet Memories


She’s coming!

She’s coming!

And beautiful, poignant memories fill my being.

Mother and daughter

Cleaning the kitchen together

Changing the dishes

Excitement filled the air.

All the time

Enjoying one another.

Every holiday was like this

Transforming the kitchen into sacred space

For years my job

Was to crack walnuts,

Pick out the nutmeats and,

Using the “hocker” and special wooden bowl,

Chop what felt like zillions of walnuts

(shelled walnuts were quite expensive then)

Dish after dish was prepared with such love

The table was set so beautifully.

Each year, mom would give me a dollar or two

And send me to the florist to see what I could buy

It was a mile walk there and back

From these flowers,

She would create a beautiful centerpiece

Filling in with cuttings from our property

Mom taught me about Hiddur mitzvah-

Making the fulfillment of a sacred obligation

As beautiful and joyful as possible

These are the sweet memories

That have sustained me through hard times

And which brought Judaism to life

This was the tradition we created

It wasn’t about gourmet food

Nor was it about which Hagaddah –

Of course we used the Maxwell House Haggadah

That we brought home from the grocery story

And with every wine stain or lingering matzah crumb

It took my family on a journey to freedom

That formed, connected and blessed us

This precious Torah of my mother.


Wishing you and those you hold dear a sweet and freeing Pesach,

Rabbi Nina J. Mizrahi, Community Rabbi

12 Nisan 5776/ 20 April 2016


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