This kiddush cup, from generation to generation survived the things that shook our people and made us strong: a pogrom that razed our shtetl to the ground. A carriage ride in the shelter of night, wheels crackling over broken ground fast, then faster. Wrapped in a worn prayer shawl, this cup survived a broken wheel and a blind run through a moonless midnight when we couldn’t see the ground below. Then, a slow boat ride — too slow — stuck to the side of the deck, sick as dogs, the first time we saw the ocean. It survived all of this.
So did we.
These things that tested our endurance, our yearning for home for somewhere safe, that place of peace.
A train ride to Chicago: We built our life from scratch in small houses close to one another, and close to the shul, to the kosher butcher shop we ran on Devon Street. We raised our children in a different tongue, and we buried our own on foreign soil.
A car ride to Fort Worth, Texas: Three girls with eyes the color of licorice squished in the back while their parents smoked their Lucky Strikes and talked about a house with picket fence. Maybe even a dog.
A U-Haul to LA: The middle sister and her babies, one blonde the other blue eyed, brave and bold, beginning a new life; the other sisters and their parents along for the ride together while they smoked their Lucky Strikes, still. Tiny changes may add up, but some things stay the same. Family, always.
A 14-hour El Al flight to Israel: Now this immigrant mother weeping ambiguous tears that burned her cheeks while she bounced her baby back to sleep, as the two-year-old with the gleaming eyes danced in the galley. Just this cup — and a bag of photos in black and white, and the stories of the others that had come before to drink from this cup on Passover each year — stored in a carry-on above Row 32, seat E.
Bubble wrap, duct tape and the best intentions. This cup survived from generation to generation, softened somehow in the light of 400 holiday candles… but unscathed…
And now, the ultimate test: An Egged bus ride through the hills to Jerusalem.
This year in Jerusalem, and may it be that way for all of us… Wherever we are — whether we’re here or there or anywhere, may we find our place of peace.