My family's century old Yad

When my great great grandfather left Poland at the turn of the 20th century to leave a life of poverty and anti-semitism behind, his town Rabbi gave him this yad to gift to his son so that he could use it during his bar mitzvah. In all likelihood, this rabbi feared that Jews in the new world may forget some of the customs that were so paramount to life for the isolated Jews of Eastern Europe. A yad, after all, is used to read a torah portion so that the reader will not blemish the sacred scroll by touching it with a bare hand, and this rabbi must have figured that the Jewish community that my family would join in New York City would not treat a torah with that same reverence. As generations passed after my great great grandfather's arrival, each generation of my family has used this very same yad during our bar or bat mitzvahs. Today, neither my parents nor myself abide by Jewish customs to nearly the extent that my orthodox great great grandfather did, but the tradition of using this yad has remained an integral part of our Jewish-American identity. 

Place(s): New York City

– Nicholas Ganek

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more