Book of Psalms

Book of Psalms (Tehillim Book)
Book of Psalms (Tehillim Book)

When my grandmother was just a little girl, in the early 1950's, she had to leave Egypt with her parents and five siblings in the middle of the night by boat. They were terrified as they had to leave everything behind and didn't know where or how they were going to live. They were going to live somewhere in France temporarily until they could get papers to come to the United States. She remembers her mother reciting psalms as they squished on the boat with many other Jewish families who were fleeing persecution. She was following a custom of reading psalms in times of trouble in order to receive help from God. Today, my grandparents as well as my parents and many other people in my community read from the book of Psalms, also known as Tehillim in Hebrew, when they pray for someone who is ill, or when they feel scared, anxious, hopeless, or just spiritual. It is customary for Jewish families to have this book in their homes, and sometimes even at their places of work. Although the one we have at my house is not the original one my grandmother's family had in Egypt, it did belong to one of my grandmother's sisters who recently passed away. It contains the same verses and still reminds me of my grandmother's story, as well as gives me hope that things will be ok, while also keeping me feeling connected to my great aunt.

Place(s): Egypt, France, USA

– Kelly Esses

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant