By Beth Eisner, Participant from JInspire Long Island
I was raised by my Grandparents since the age of 6, My Mother died when I was 6 and after a very long custody battle with my Father in a precedent trial both myself and my brother were legally adopted by my Grandparents. My name was changed and I grew up on Long Island. Both my Grandparents were born in the USA of Jewish decent. For a while my Grandpa would go to Temple on Saturday but my Grandmother wanted nothing to do with her faith.
Fast forward to adulthood and as my life moved forward-as I married and had kids, my brother never got married. My Grandfather died in 1999 at the age of 83. So now with my family, I also still had my brother and Grandmother. We saw each other on a daily basis, as years went on I noticed that my Grams started talking about the old days and also befriended a neighbor who was in the holocaust. They would talk Yiddish to each other a lot. This was odd because she really never embraced her religion to me. Because of this I too was not a very religious person.
In 2008 my life took a sudden change again and my Brother died from a massive heart attack at the age of 42. This of course did not help my faith because how much could one person take. The next 2 years I spent taking care of my Grams in her own apartment running from her home to mine to also take care of my family. My Grams died at the age of 92 in 2010.
As I was getting ready for her funeral her neighbor the one from the holocaust went around the apartment with me and said that Grams wanted me to collect some things, and she had told him where they were. They were my Grandfathers, Brothers and my Uncles Tallit Sets from their Bar Mitzvahs- 3 of them all kept in beautiful bags. Her wish he said to me was for all of them to be placed next to her in her coffin. Wow- was I surprised. Although to me she was not a religious woman, I felt she would always be a Jewish wife and mother.
I embark on this journey because in my heart I know my Grams would love for me to go to find what she had lost and also the simple lesson she taught me……I TOO AM A JEWISH WIFE AND MOTHER AND MUST ALWAY EMBRACE THAT!