The white silk kippah my great-grandfather wore every Yom Kippur in Calcutta is embroidered with light purple squares linked together. Meir Ezra Musleah was a lover of mystical texts, the gabai of the Maghen David Synagogue and a sweet singer. I don’t have a photo of him in this “cap,” as it was called, just one of him in a black cap choosing a chicken for kapparah, atonement, in the open marketplace in Calcutta. He didn’t know that my Uncle Meyer, who was named for him, was taking the photo; he would have considered it a graven image.
When I wear his white kippah myself on Yom Kippur I don’t mind that it is not new, or even that the silk has frayed to the point where you can see the individual threads. It connects me to a beloved person that I wish I could have known, in a time gone by. But I have rediscovered the place and made it my own.
L’Dor Vador. From Generation to Generation.
Wedding Shopping in India
My daughter just got married in June, so I'm attuned to everything wedding related. I absolutely loved this story in The New York Times travel section about wedding shopping in Old and New Delhi. Just like Sheila Marekar, the author of this story, during our India travels we take a bicycle rickshaw through the narrow streets of Old Delhi, holding on for dear life but never doubting the incredible skill of the bicycle wallah. One difference...We just don't get off and bargain for invitations and saris! But as the colors and fabrics sweep by, we get a taste of a cultural experience far from our own.
Rahel Musleah was born in Calcutta, India, the seventh generation of a Calcutta Jewish family that traces its roots to 17th-century Baghdad.