Friday Jan. 14, 1944
“Question 6: We have started to observe Sabbath when you children grew smart enuf (sic) for observation,” my grandfather explained. He is responding to a letter of questions, since lost, from my mother about her family’s background. His approach to religious observance was completely his own. It was founded on a rejection of his very strict Orthodox upbringing and a brief experience as a Hasid, both in Poland. For example, he rejected the separation of men and women in houses of worship. If he couldn’t sit with his wife and daughter, he wouldn’t go. He welcomed the opportunity America gave him to shape his own rituals and implement his beliefs. So, no matter where my family was, we always lit the Sabbath candles, blessed the wine and the challah (a braided egg bread), and discussed a reading from the Pentateuch, i.e. the Old Testament.
Thus, tonight, as on all other Fridays, my family would light the Sabbath candles and sit down together to enjoy that oasis of quiet and calm that the Sabbath provided.