Editor’s Wrapup: Spring Forward, Step Back
Even the most progressive societies tend to have one eye on the future and one eye on the past. As we strive to innovate and to understand ourselves as Jews in ways that contribute to an evolution of our identity, community and practice, we also look for ways to recapture what has been lost along the way, or what seems in danger of disappearing.
Ellen Cassedy wanted to salvage the dollops of Yiddish her mother had used and reconnect with the cascade of East European Jewish culture that lurked in the deeper recesses of her family’s history. When her mother died, she felt her road back had been swept away, like a wind scattering the breadcrumbs left on an old trail. Her trip began with an elementary Yiddish textbook and ended with a trip to Lithuania to study the language that had slipped away. Her story, “Home, In So Many Words,” begins on page 16.
Corned beef, pastrami and pickles are still very much with us, but what many especially relish about eating in a traditional delicatessen is the link with the past—with our immigrant parents or grandparents and the atmosphere where they were so comfortable, even if the waiters were sometimes surly. Few have surveyed this landscape as thoroughly as Sheryll Bellman, author of America’s Great Delis. A taste of her research begins on page 34.
Leora Eren Frucht did not have any historic agenda when she and her family moved to Modi’in, the new city that has risen over the past decade between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The city, designed by architect Moshe Safdie, is arguably the most modern in Israel. But Frucht’s attitude, and her sense of connection, changed last year after a field trip her son’s first-grade class made to an archaeological dig only a five-minute walk from her house. In “The Maccabees of Malibu” (page 28), she explains just how moving ahead took her way back. —Alan M. Tigay