This month I received a letter from Rabbi Nachum Muschel, the husband of the late Suri Muschel ע”ה, my mother’s beloved first cousin. The story of their lifelong devotion to each other began when they were little girls. It appears as “Suri’s Legacy,” in Food, Family and Tradition (page 247). Additionally, you can read about Mrs. Sarah (Suri) Muschel in the blog Speaking for Survivors on our website.
Rabbi Muschel knew my family heart-to-heart and his letter was a tribute to them, to Suri ע”ה, and to our unbroken traditions. I feel compelled to share some of his thoughts with you. Excerpts from that wonderful, reflective letter follow:
“The Cherry Press” ~ what a wonderful name to identify a project that aims to reach out, to communicate, to inform, and to inspire. Hailing from a proud family ~ Kirsche ~ you chose to spread “cherry blossoms” and the sweetness of cherries to identify your roots ~ the Kirsche tree.
I was privileged to know your father, the dignified, tall, determined cousin, Sandor (Sanyi) Kirsche ע”ה. He was the real “cherry tree”… Ultimately his efforts became the well-known “Hungarian Kosher Food Market”. Your mother Margit שתחי’ stood by his side, engaging her resources and determination to solidify…the touch that both of them sought to impart.
For us in the Muschel family, Margit’s personality had a special meaning of its own. “Margit is my most favorite and beloved cousin.” It was a confirmation that our Suri ע”ה repeated on every occasion when images of the Carpathian villages of Czechoslovakia and Hungary were mingling with present realities from Chicago. These changing screens, from past to present, brought precious memories to life and highlighted a sparkling delightful friendship filled with love that goes on…wherever we had the pleasure of being together with your family, we tasted the sweetness of a “bowl of cherries”…. a rich diversity of reputable fruit. We found in it the very sweet cherry, the sweet and sour cherry, and the power to warm the soul and body ~ the dark cherry. Yet the cherries from your Kirsche tree proved to be multicolored.
You, Lynn…perhaps because of the closeness between Suri ע”ה and your mother שתחי’, ….and your eagerness to learn, to originate, to teach…make you an acknowledged prototype of the admired and beloved Suri ע”ה.
Searching for ways to capture the past and to place a cornerstone for rebuilding proud Jewish homes, you converted yourself into an author. To make your memories come alive, you served them to the readers on plates of a tasteful variety of food and recipes. Your book Food, Family and Tradition became a powerful thread to weave the tapestry of Jewish continuity. Every Sabbath, every holiday, every occasion is in Jewish life accentuated with a special kind of food. Your recipes embrace all of these. You make sure that we add the right seasoning to the maintenance of our traditions and to the furthering of their revival in the Jewish home that would energize our march to fulfill Jewish destiny.
Your Cherry Press is unique indeed. You have demonstrated the ability to “sit with no one but you under the shade of the cherry tree”. The syrups, the wines and the liqueurs that flow from the fruits of your plantings enable us today to raise our drinks with a call of “L’Chaim”. “L’Chaim”, to life, life that was, life that is, and life that will, with your endeavor and G-d’s blessings, continue to be.
So, as you place your “bikurim, “והנחתו לפני ה'”, the first fruits of a Kirsche planting that mark your debut as an author, I raise my cup of “L’Chaim” to you……..May your efforts, your determination and power of love be translated not only into actions, but also into words. May these produce many more life giving volumes….. in your flourishing “Cherry Press”. “כה לחי!”
With love and admiration,
Rabbi N. Muschel