This is my Grandfather's vintage Menorah. My father was born, and raised in an Ashkenazi Jewish Family in Baku, Azerbaijan. My father had one twin sister, and another sister a year older than him. Like many Ashkenazi jews at that time, my father was not very observant and married outside of the Jewish bloodline. His twin on the other hand married a highly observant Ashkenazi Jew. This is where the disparities in our family lineages begin. When my parents immigrated to America in the late 1980’s they had one daughter, in contrast my religious aunt already had 5 sons. While me and my sister’s attended public New York schools, my cousins all went to yeshivas. Many of these boys even joined hasidic communities, and almost all remained highly religious. I can clearly remember visiting my youngest cousin, the only one I knew personally, and the least observant of the bunch, and when I got to his apartment there were about 25 bearded, tuxedo wearing, and hat wielding Jews already there. They were just a portion of my uncle’s sons, nieces, and cousins. My family on the other hand, merely celebrates the major Jewish holidays, and goes to Synagogue on very rare occasions . I find it incredibly fascinating how one half of my family is so different from the other, and what would have been if my father was more observant, himself. My grandfathers Menorah is one of the few ties I still have with my Jewish culture, and I cherish it for that.
– David Merlinsky