Monday, April 20, 2009

May Their Memories Be Blessed

Tonight begins Holocaust Memorial Day here in Israel. I'd like to take a moment to remember those members of my family who were murdered in the Holocaust. I wish for my sake that I'd had a chance to meet them or their descendents (my distant cousins)... and for the sake of my grandparents that they hadn't died so young, all at the same time... and for the sake of my mother that such a trauma had never entered into her parents' lives.

Details are sketchy because my grandparents rarely spoke about their dead family members.

My great-grandfather, Rabbi Yitzchak Natan Pomeranzblum - an Ostrovyetzer chassid, my great-grandfather was born in Staszow, Poland and lived in Opatow, Poland before being murdered in 1942 at age 67. He may have been taken with his children to Treblinka, but there is also a family story that he was shot in his home.

His second wife (my grandmother's stepmother), Devorah nee Ivenski, and their twins. It is unclear to me whether the twins were my grandmother's half-siblings or stepsiblings.

My great-aunt Manya Kreinders, her husband and their three children. They died of starvation in the Lodz ghetto.

My great-uncle Salme Pomeranzblum. I don't know if he was married or had children. Killed in Treblinka.

My great-aunt Shprintze Pomeranzblum. I don't know if she was married or had children. Killed in Treblinka.

My great-aunt Vivcha Pomeranzblum. I don't know if she was married or had children. Killed in Treblinka.

My great-uncle Mottel Pomeranzblum. I don't know if he was married or had children. Killed in Treblinka.

The first wife of my great-uncle Simcha and their two children. I don't know their names, but come to think of it I can ask my mother's cousin; maybe he knows.

On another side of the family...

My great-grandmother Esther Spiegel, aka Anna/Netti.

The first wife of my grandfather, Helen Steiner (nee Kittner) and their young son, Heinrich, my half-uncle.

Also various family members who, as far as I know, were killed in the Holocaust but I'm not sure; they may have died some other way before the war. Come to think of it I should check with my mother:

My great-great uncle, Shalom Pomeranzblum.
My great-great aunt, Esther Malka Teuter and her husband, Avraham Michael Teuter.
My grandmother's cousin, Chaim Pomerazblum, and his son.
My great-great uncle Avraham Sosnowicz.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

8:30 pm

This is today's to-do list as it currently stands on our fridge:

We're in for the home stretch. Liza is finishing up a few things, then we are going out for dinner, then we come home and mop floors, take care of a few last-minute (easy) items, and then bedikah!

And then, sleep!

(A few explanations:

1- The magnet at the top is one of a series I have with insults from Shakespearean plays. I got the magnet set in London, at the Globe Theater.

2- "Hermione's Purse" is a corner cabinet under our kitchen counter which is extremely deep. To get to the back, one must crawl into the cabinet so that one's entire torso is inside. It holds a lot of food ... but once food goes in, it's exceptionally difficult to find it again.

3- The stove IS kashered now; I just haven't marked it as "Done" yet.

4- "Final porch organizing" refers to the last-minute process of taking all the chametz and kitniyot we have stored on the porch and making sure they are stored in a way that they can't get wet or bug-ridden. The porch has already been thoroughly cleaned.

5- This whole process of cleaning for Pesach has been SO much nicer with a roommate to share the work! I feel more under control than I have in a long time.)
Last-Minute PSA

I forgot to post this earlier! I hope it helps at this late hour...

The days before Passover always bring a rise, in Jewish areas, in the number of people who go to the Emergency Room with burns -- especially children. People have their ovens and burners on to "kasher," are spilling boiling water over counters and sinks, boiling dishes, cooking up a storm, burning chametz, etc. -- and then there is also the danger from the candles used for "bedikah" and, when families join together for the holiday, from all the candles lit on tables the first
two nights.

This is a gentle reminder to BE CAREFUL!

- Keep small children out of the kitchen during the kashering process and while you are cooking.

- Doctors also recommend putting tape on the floor around the oven and telling children they may not cross the tape.

- Adults, too, should be very careful when handling pots and pots of boiling water.

- Be careful not to leave toxic cleansers out where kids can get at them, and not to create toxic chemical brews (never mix bleach with ammonia!!!)

- Watch children carefully during the burning of the chametz, and burn chametz in controlled environment so that sparks cannot set fire to nearby bushes, grass, etc.

- If small children are in the house, do not light candles on a tablecloth that can be pulled from the floor.

- Do not light candles near curtains

- Speak with a rabbi about using a flashlight for certain parts of bedikat chametz, such as under beds and in closets.

- If you are hosting guests for the holiday, make sure everyone staying in your home knows where ALL the exits are from the house.

May everyone have a kosher, joyous, and safe holiday!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Shpeetz Settling In

Cat enjoying the sun

Cat playing with ball of twine

Cat on my bed

Cat on my roommate, with movement

Quote of the day, by Liza:
She looks so cute when she's sleeping. Who would know she's a raving lunatic?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


My roommate's friend is away for 3 weeks, and we are foster-parenting her cat, Shpeetz!

A "shpeetz" is a sharp corner, as of a pointy star. When Shpeetz was first adopted, she was very skinny and angular - thus her name. Today she is well-fed, sleek and very pretty (mostly black fur with some white) and she wears a spiffy red collar with a little bell on it. The bell does not work; it's just a fashion statement.

So far Shpeetz has shown a penchant for sitting on the bars outside our windows and looking out at the world; playing/fighting with Liza's sock and with a q-tip she found; pawing at the washing machine while it's spinning; and meowing when she thinks she's alone. Sometimes I take out a ball of twine and we play with it. Oh, she also likes to attack the shower curtain and then sit in the bathtub, stunned, when the curtain wins. (She's not the brightest of cats.)

Yay! Shpeetz!