This is a little poem I wrote in honor of my mother and mother-in-law. It’s only loosely based on reality, but my mother is really from Baltimore, and my mother-in-law really is from Israel (born in Alexandria, Egypt). I felt it was important to tell the story of a little kid who is partly Ashkenazi and partly Sephardi, because so many families are now “mixed” like that. Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!
Savta moved here from Israel.
Bubbe grew up in Baltimore.
Both of them now live in the United States.
When I visit, Savta says, “Mami, you are chamood!”
Bubbe calls me zees.
I love to visit them both.
On the phone before the Sabbath, Savta says, “Shabbat shalom!’
Bubbe wishes me, “a gut shabbes.”
Both of them pray that I grow up well after they say the brachah on their candles.
On Rosh Hashanah, Savta rushes to the beit kanesset.
Bubbe runs to shul.
Both of them sit quietly with me to hear the shofar.
In the fall, Savta drapes colorful rugs in her sukkah.
Bubbe hangs Indian corn from the schach.
Both of them string up the decorations I made in school.
Savta rolls cotton into wicks and pours olive oil into Saaba’s Chanukah lamps.
Bubbe places tiny wax candles into Zeyde’s menorah.Both of them set the Chanukiahs in front of the window for everyone to see.
On Purim, Savta sends me baklava and halva in my shalach manot.
Bubbe floats kreplach in my soup.
Both of them remind me to use my gragger when I hear “Haman”.
Savta checks her rice before Pesach.
Bubbe tosses hers into a sealed cupboard.
Both of them crunch through their matzah at the seder.
While I sit on her lap, Savta tells me about when she was a girl in Egypt.
Bubbe tells her bubbe‘s story of fleeing Russia in the night.
Both of them are happy to live in a free country.
My two special grandmothers are as different as can be.
They came from different places with different history.
But together they helped to make one special ME!