Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Grandpa’s Menorah

As told to Judith Goldstein

Mom came from a completely secular background and thought Grandpa was charming. For her, life was a tea party; she was the gracious hostess and everyone else her guests. But with Dad, it was different. Though he’d hotly deny it, he was ashamed of Gramps.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

menorahMy dad was hard-working and ambitious — a social climber. He knew what he wanted, and expected his immediate family to cooperate with the plans he’d painstakingly laid for the next 50 years. It did not occur to him that just as he did not walk in the ways of his fathers, his children might not follow in his footsteps.

Grandpa was sensitive and spiritual, and I take after him. Aside from bequeathing me his tendency to be overweight (thanks, Gramps), our personalities are similar. We were unusually close. When I was 16, I got my driver’s license. When I returned home, triumphant, Dad handed me the keys to an old but working Chevrolet. And I began to visit Grandpa more often.

We talked of everything — including my relationship with Dad and our conflicts. We both knew that although I was strongly drawn to religion, Dad would oppose any steps toward observance. Grandpa cautioned me to tread carefully until I was financially independent. The truth was, we were both more than a little intimidated by Dad. I lived inChicagoand although there was an Orthodox Jewish community in the city, I did not have any contact with any of its members. And so, I decided to look for a college inNew York. 


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha. To sign up for a weekly subscription click here.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Top-Down Theory
Shoshana Friedman Our true currency, the accomplishments we value most
Strive for What Binds Us
Yonoson Rosenblum The chareidi community represents something of an oasis
Embracing Victimhood
Eytan Kobre Combating the allure of victimhood
The Kids Are Going to Camp, the Parents Are Going Broke
Miriam Klein Adelman Mindy has to feel good; it doesn’t matter that I feel ba...
Work/Life Solutions with Carlos Wigle
Moe Mernick “Rejection is Hashem’s protection” 
How to Create a Simple 900-Page Novel
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman All of us can reset the titles of our own lives
Stand There or Do Something
Baruch S. Fertel, MD, MPA, FACEP It’s called collaborative care, and it works miracles
I'm Here — Are You Ready?
Riki Goldstein Upbeat and catchy, but still makes listeners think
Back in Time
Riki Goldstein "I wish I could recapture that excitement"
Mixed Messages
Riki Goldstein The unsung craftsmen who give albums their special touch
Go in Peace
Faigy Peritzman Inner peace makes us vessels for blessing
All Work and No Play
Sarah Chana Radcliffe A life only about doing your duties loses all its color
Dying to Believe
With Rav Moshe Wolfson, written by Baila Vorhand Emunah peshutah is the force behind Jewish continuity