by Judith Rosner (Sarasota, FL)
“Take these candlesticks my child,
And when you light the Sabbath candles
In your own home with your own family,
Remember me and the family you came from.”
My grandmother, a girl of fifteen, heeded her mother
And carried these silver twins, wrapped in a pillowcase,
Across the ocean from old world to new.
As her mother hoped, she faithfully
recited the Sabbath blessing over them
Each Friday evening, her family gathered at the table.
Now two generations later, these candlesticks
Still stand tall upon their three-pronged legs
In my home, handed down from my mother.
Grape vines etched upon their stems
Show off hanging clusters of ripened fruit
Amid the dings and dents of age and
Dark spots where tarnish resists polish.
Though weighty to the eye,
Hollow bodies give them little heft,
Light enough to be carried
Across the ocean years ago
By a girl of fifteen,
So that on this Friday evening,
I may light and pray over the candles they cradle,
As did my mother and grandmother before me,
To welcome the Sabbath and remember this story.
Judith Rosner, Ph.D., is a retired college professor, leadership trainer, and executive coach. She has published in the areas of leadership and management, stress and health, and women in the professions. Currently she writes poetry and personal essays. Two of her poems are published in the literary magazine Her Words (The Black Mountain Press), her poem, “Forest Sanctuary,” appears in the Living Peace 2019 Art of Poetry Anthology and two of her essays appear on The Jewish Writing Project. Judy and her husband split their time between Sarasota, Florida and New York City.
To read her stories on The Jewish Writing Project, visit:
Y’all Are Different: https://jewishwritingproject.wordpress.com/2016/06/13/yall-are-different/
My First Aliyah: https://jewishwritingproject.wordpress.com/2016/08/15/my-first-aliyah/
4 responses to “From Russia with Love”
She is a very talented poet and writer as well as a beautiful person with a sweet soul.
Thanks for your note. The Jewish Writing Project is honored to share Judith’s work.
What a beautiful poem. My grandmother also carried her Shabbas candlesticks across the ocean. She gave them to me when she was 99, right before she died. I light them every Friday night and think of her. Thank you for these beautiful words.
Thank you for your kind words! It’s amazing how the objects of our ancestors can rekindle stories and connection to family.