I can see him roll the dice in the air and hear him say, gan eden (paradise, ie double six).The best thing that has happened to me this year, and one of the highlights of my life, is the birth of my granddaughter Maya. It is a thrill beyond compare to be a grandparent. As Maya grows, I look forward to sharing many of the customs and traditions from my Baghdad-Indian heritage with her.
The upcoming holiday of Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah and the transmission of its wisdom from generation to generation.
My father, z"l, shared a LOT of Torah with his children and grandchildren. He graced the reading of Torah with meticulous understanding, scholarship, elegance and depth. And he also had a playful side, so he also shared another Shabbat and holiday custom from India: playing towlee (backgammon) to pass the time. Here he is (above) many years ago showing his granddaughter Shoshana just how it's done! I can see him roll the dice in the air and hear him say, gan eden (paradise), hoping for a double six.
My mother's domain was food, so often the centerpiece of memory. Because we had a cook in India, my mother learned her way around the kitchen only when we came to the United States. She was already 32 years old. She transmitted her recipe for love — food — to her children and grandchildren.
One wonderful organization that is promoting the passing down of Torah in all forms is the Jewish Grandparents Network, which explores new ways for grandparents to play joyful and meaningful roles in their families and to share their Jewish stories, heritage and traditions.
I'm excited to share the JGN blog I've written on Sephardic and Mizrahi holiday customs. You can read it here.