Tallit (Prayer Shawl)

My great-grandparents, Joseph and Bela Lanzman were born and lived in Bessarabia, modern day Moldova. They got married in June of 1937, and my great-grandmother's mother gifted my great-grandfather this Prayer-Shawl. They eventually moved to Chernowitz, a town near Odessa, Ukraine. Religion, and especially Judaism, was banned in all parts of the Soviet Union, and possessing this Tallit could have meant imprisonment or being sent to Siberia. My great-grandfather marched from Ukraine to Berlin during World War 2, yet survived and lived to use his prayer-shawl actively, upon moving to the U.S. My great-grandfather wore this tallit at his wedding and my father wore it at his Bar-Mitzvah as well as his wedding. I wore it during my Bar-Mitzvah, and will hopefully get a chance to wear it during my wedding as well. After my great-grandfather's death 30 years ago, the tallit became my father's and will eventually become my son's, given that I have one. It is an extremely important piece of family history to me, because it's story symbolizes three common themes surrounding Judaism: Oppression, Religion, and Tradition.

Year: 1976

– Jason Lanzman

Relationship:  unknown unknown