New Year


To listen to this post in French, click below

The Jewish New Year has come and gone and I am so far from Jewish traditions these days that I would have totally missed it if it were not for reading blogs and watching TV news.
Jennifer’s post on This time of Year set me remembering.

Gitta serving the mealI do have such good childhood memories of those festivities
As I said earlier, my parents were both Jewish, my mother was a Jew from Poland/Belarus, an Ashkenazi, and my father was from Bulgaria, therefore a Sefardic Jew.
Neither of them was really interested in religion. My mother said that she used to eat kosher food at home when she was a girl, but when you consider that the food was cooked by a non-Jewish servant, her beloved Fiokla, I don’t know how kosher that would be considered by traditionalist Jews 😉
On my father’s side, cooking Jewish Bulgarian food was usual, but neither my Aunt Fanny, my father’s sister, nor my Uncle Victor, his brother, ever kept kosher or was even mildly interested.
However, twice a year, the family gathered, once for Rosh Hashanah, and once for Pessah, and in those occasions, my mother cooked her home specialties.

1978, Joseph reading a prayer
I still have the fragrance of chicken soup and kneidlachs that Gitta, my mother, cooked on those two occasions, just because everyone loved it. Without kneidlachs, a festive meal would just not have been as festive. There would also be borscht, made with beetroot, the only way I can stomach beetroot.
Then would come the gefilte fisch, and finally the cheesecake that Gitta made so well.
Unfortunately, I haven’t kept any of these recipes, although I did help along, Gitta never really did the same twice in a row, and I guess in those days, I felt like she would always be around!
I don’t want to forget appetizers like gehakte leber, which along the years was in the company of more sefardic things like burriquitas, or home-made tarama.

My father would preside at the table and read some prayer written in Latin letters as he couldn’t read Hebrew letters then the dinner would start.
Sometimes, I’m sorry I didn’t carry on any of these traditions, but with a totally secular marriage, and being an absolute non-believer and a lazy cook, it couldn’t have happened.

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6 thoughts on “New Year

  1. I am like you, pretty much a non=believer. I was raised Catholic with all the Holy Days of Obligation and all the traditions. I miss it sometimes, but have come much too far in my thinking to ever go back. I raised my children in a secular home and they have wonderful values and ethics.

    When I was a young teacher in Topanga Canyon, California I lived in Woodland Hills right down the mountain, so to speak. I was the only Gentile in the neighborhood and I have the fondest memories of my neighbors. They so often included me in their holidays and loved to tease me about not keeping a kosher home.

    So here is a belated Roshashanna to everyone.

  2. Some people love tradition and will do the same thing year after year. Personally I prefer to experience different ways to celebrate Holidays. I do like to read about ethnic ways and your post is great.

  3. There’s a lot to be said for those old traditions, but unfortunately there’s very few of us that still carry them on.
    Being raised Catholic, my Polish grandmother went all out for Easter…the kilelbasa, colored eggs, the butter shaped in the form of a lamb…that the parish priest would come and bless……but I only did that the first few years my children were little.
    By the time they were grown, I’d moved away from both the religion and the traditions that went with them.
    Enjoyed your post.

  4. Pingback: New word: schmaltz « Blogging in Paris

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