Passover at 790 Elsmere Place
Mama and Papa believed the popular hype about the streets of America being lined with gold. The Goldeneh Medina as it were. They chose to travel across the ocean with their four teen-aged children, all ready to build a better life for themselves.
Mama and Papa were my mom’s parents, our grandparents.
They found an apartment with enough bedrooms for everyone. They moved into their new home at 790 Elsmere Place in the Bronx, N.Y., ready to start a life as American Jews. They opened a fish market, and their kids went to night school to learn English, while working to help with the budget.
Their four children, Ruthie, Paula, Jack (Zaidle), and Jeannette, found wonderful spouses who brought nine grandchildren to the family (my sisters and I are three of the nine).
Mama and Papa cherished their Jewish heritage and all its traditions. They brought their Jewish way of life and its traditions with them. One of the most delicious and happy traditions was when the family, and often guests, gathered at Mama and Papa’s home for the Pesach seders, all dressed up in our Pesach clothes, ready and alert to find the afikomen.
We never received money as the prize, I can’t even recall what it was that we did receive. It was, after all, a really long time ago. What I do recall vividly is the fish swimming in the bathtub, waiting to have its head chopped off and the rest of him/her prepared for making gefilte fish for the seder. What a strange sight that was.
‘Those were the days my friends, we thought they’d never end.’ Indeed, they never did end, they are still beautiful, meaningful memories.
Shaindle Schmuckler is a contributing writer to the Atlanta Jewish Times.