Siddur (Jewish prayer book)

My mother's prayer book
My mother's prayer book

Resting rather precariously on an open shelf in my family’s kitchen is a pile of Siddurim, orJewish prayer books, my family has amassed over the generations. Among them sits one gifted to my mother by her grandparents a year after she was born. Encased in hardcover silver, and ornately decorated with Jewish symbolism, the cover relates a common prayer which translates to “God, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise”. My great Grandmother, Rivka, was born in Jerusalem before the founding of the state of Israel. Her children eventually moved to Brooklyn, New York, where my mother was born. As a very spiritual and family oriented woman, Rivka wanted to ensure that future generations would maintain a connection to her birthplace and religion. She gifted all her grandchildren these prayer books from Jerusalem, each inscribed within with a personalized message in a mixture of Hebrew and English writing. My mother’s contains many blessings, wishes for good luck and fortune, as well as loving regards from her dear grandparents. My mother explains that she never used this particular book to pray, as Siddurim were always in abundance around her childhood home. Rather, her gifted prayer book served as a connection to her grandmother, a reminder of her religious ties, and a connection to her family’s homeland. To me, this book serves as a testament to my family’s intergenerational loving care, and commitment to passing down traditions through our love to each other.

Place(s): New York, Jerusalem

– Ma'ayan

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