I carefully zipped my black dress and slipped my feet into heels. My hair was curled and my makeup was done. As I added the finishing touches to prepare myself for my big day, my grandma knocked on the door. She entered holding a skinny, silver object and handed it me. “This is a yad” she explained, “it is to be used today during your bat mitzvah service as you read out of the torah.” A bar or bat mitzvah is a milestone in the Jewish religion where one celebrates becoming a man or women in the Jewish community. When reading out of the Torah,  the words cannot be touched or else the ink will smudge. Therefore, we must use the yad. The yad my grandma gave to me on the day of my bat mitzvah was purchased in Israel, making it even more special to me. Israel is the one place in the world where all Jewish people are welcome and are protected.  In addition, my mother and uncle used this yad at their bar and bat mitzvah, and soon after my big day, my cousin and brother used it at theirs as well. Evidently, this yad is very important to me and my family. Being Jewish is important to me because we are a minority in the world. This yad from Israel connects me to my ancestors who have fought against religious persecution for centuries and reminds me to be thankful for them. Furthermore, it connects the past generations of my family to the future. I am proud to be Jewish and thankful that I have such a simple yet special object to represent my religion and family.

Place(s): Israel
Year: 1940

– Emma Gardy

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant