Food, family and tradition.

Today was my mom’s birthday – she was born, Margit (Rifchu) Weisz, in Hungary on January 5, 1923. So she would have been 99 years old today. My mom passed away the year before COVID. It was exactly one year later on the way home from putting up her gravestone in Israel, that my husband and I were exposed to COVID and this was the very beginning of the pandemic. While I miss my mom every day, I am so grateful that she lived before this crazy challenging era. My mom had company at her shabbat table, Friday evening, every single week until she died. She hosted and was able to enjoy and participate in a full shabbat meal, including shabbat songs and lively discussions, surrounded by people she loved.

Today I have been thinking about my mom and her legacy – all she taught me. Not by lecturing, but by living – by her example. How blessed I was to have such a strong mother; her entire being was filled with courage and faith and optimism. My mom had a sense of humor always, no matter what the situation, and a sharp and clear mind all the years, even during the Holocaust and after. She knew how to move forward with optimism and courage.

Through it all, I think cooking and baking – and sewing – were therapeutic in a sense for her. And she planned meals and was interested in cooking and baking all the years. She had an open house, and an open kitchen, and was always ready to offer you a “cup of coffee”, an ear to listen, a heart to embrace – and a hand to hold.

Also – advice, especially in the form of her Yiddish sayings. The Yiddish sayings which I heard through the years are so colorful that they describe not only a thought but also give an insight into the Yiddish culture.

One of my favorite sayings is “A Naar Lacht Drie Muul” – which translates into English as “A fool laughs three times”.

Or how about “Adam a Mensch Un Katchke Dreidach” – which translated literally means: Adam is a man and the duck turns around. You really must understand the culture for this one….

I guess one of the most famous is “Mensch Tracht Un Got Lacht” – man plans and G-d laughs – and that truly expresses the culture.

In any case, I bought flowers, which my mom loved, and put them in my kitchen in one of her vases, and am baking some kippilach, little yeast crescent rolls,(see the article in Mizrachi magazine) to enjoy with a cup of tea – and maybe, I will put a sugar cube in my mouth while I sip the tea also!

Wonderful memories, which embrace me in the warmth of my mother’s love, and help me to create memories for the future with my children and grandchildren!

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