Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The fringes of our lives


Hanging around
London, ON, September 2010
[Please click here for more Thematic favorite photos of the year]

Visitors to a synagogue may notice the prayer shawls, known as tallit, that most folks wear here. I've had my own since I was a kid, and the one I now wear my wife bought for me when we got married. There's a huge amount of tradition wrapped up in these otherwise unassuming fabric creations.

My favorite memory? When I was a munchkin attending services with my dad, I'd stand beside him, too short to see over the crowds. It was very claustrophobic down there, and also kinda of boring for a little guy. No Nintendo DS to pass the time.

So I played with the fringes on my father's tallit. I'd wind them between my fingers, playing quietly with them to keep from bothering him. He never told me to stop, and every once in a while he'd look down and smile, so I'm sure he liked it. Our daughter is now 13, and earlier this year she received tallit of her own to mark her Bat Mitzvah. As much of a young lady as she's become, we both still have recent memories of her playing with my fringes to pass the time, occasionally looking up at me to make sure it was still OK. And I'd smile back at her to let her know it absolutely was.

After all, if it connects our generations together, it must be a good thing.

Your turn: What does "from generation to generation" mean to you?

12 comments:

Kalei's Best Friend said...

"From generation to generation" for me means a ritual whether religious or not, a habit that is performed and handed down from one relative/friend to another...Each Thanksgiving we would have the traditional turkey and we would still mix in some Korean dishes alongside... Beliefs are handed down.. My grandpa who came here in the 1990's believed that u assimilate the country's culture that u live in.. U accept others and are tollerant... Those views we raised our children on....

Dawn said...

What a wonderful post- full of imagery as beautiful as your photo captures.

My traditions all seem to revolve around food for some reason;)
But regardless....traditions are what tie us together and carry us on this life wave.
Thanks for your post....I enjoyed it.

rosaria said...

This is precious! We do so many things without thinking about their consequences, how they will be remembered. On my food post, I cover the same topic. Yes, holidays are for remembering our traditions.

rosaria said...

In the new world, and for recent immigrants, traditions both bind and choke. I've been conscious of this double sword, and have tried to give my children a choice in what to keep and what to leave behind.

Trudi said...

What a great story...Thank you!

Tabor said...

This is a lovely post and lets me see inside to a religion that is somewhat foreign to me...although some of my best friends...;-) Traditional ceremonies must be shared with love and not regimented actions. This is the way they will be treasured for generations to come.

Karen S. said...

What an amazing and tender example of keeping it tune with your loved ones...I am truly in awe each time I feel, see or touch any of my own family continuing by nature (or genes) from curling toes to a unique sigh and bringing back to life a glimpse of time and a memory of someone who has left us...truly amazing is when a child isn't raised around certain relatives and yet he too follows some of their traits...he from miles away....

David said...

my younger son called me yesterday from his garage ( he is newly married) to say he was enjoying wood working and wanted to thank me for passing that along to him. what a great phone call!

David said...

My daughter made Chicken Parmesan last night ( dleicioso) and I got to fillet and pound the chicken breast.

We love cooking together.

Lynne H. said...

If I may share a brief story. I was raised in the Christian faith. My eldest brother married a woman of the Jewish faith and converted. 6 years ago my Father passed away and it came time for my brother to speak. He was very calm, tearful, but calm. He read beautiful scriptures in Hebrew, referred to my Father as a Mensch and wrapped my fathers urn in his prayer shawl (to be buried with him in Arlington National Cemetary).

I have never been more proud of my brother than I was that day. He shared his religon with us and it was a moment that I will never forget. My Father, I know, was proud as well.

I apologize if this is off topic but the fringe on your shawl triggered that beautiful memory.

becca said...

for me it means the passing on of family traditions

Garet Benson said...

My kids often come to shul on Shabbat, too, and during the Priestly Blessing I cover their heads (and mine) with my tallit. I have a feeling that this practice may plant the seeds for memories a few decades down the road.