Stuffed Torah

On the day I was born I was given two objects. The first was a quilt with my name embroidered onto it from my mother's best friend. The second was a stuffed torah scroll, the traditional Jewish text, from my grandmother. Torah, as it was affectionately but not creatively, called slept in my arms every night from then on. I didn't realize until later in life that it was different than the regular stuffed bears and dogs my friends had on their beds, but by that point I was far too attached to make any kind of change. I began thinking "why did my grandmother give me this sacred text as a toy, as a comfort object?" I think it was her desire for me to find comfort in my people wherever I roamed. A stuffed Torah definitely didn't exist in Poland or Romania, where her family is from - but it was always an adapted reminder to a young girl about where she comes from and who she is. When I moved to various different countries, some with no Jewish community at all, Torah came with me. With Torah I was able to carry my complex past and my always evolving Jewish identity with me into my future. And I always felt protected from the monsters under the bed who seemed to follow me around too. 

Place(s): Romania, Poland, New York

– Yael Horowitz

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