Kids can’t wait for their turn to lick the bowl while I am trying not to forget an important ingredient from my sister-in-law’s chocolate salami recipe — the one she used back in Pittsburgh.
It was in October 2002 when I just moved to the US, leaving behind my parents, my room, Grade 10 friends, and golden leafy streets of Moscow.
In the beginning I didn’t like my new school and spent most days in the classroom corner, silently counting minutes for the bell to ring so that I could run away — never to the boarding home but straight to the tiny apartment on the second floor of an old brick building.
… I close my eyes and see a wooden porch and a dining room table supported by a book due to sloping floors. I hear the loud sounds of water taps and next door neighbour’s vivid sneezing.
My brother Moishe and his wife Alla live here.
Less than 2 months after their wedding, I arrived at their doorsteps – a sixteen-year-old with a baggage of complaints and no desire to study.
Life was unfair to bits!.. And so was that teacher… and my lunch break was too short… and… and… why did I have to re-write that stupid English essay again? Another ‘C-’ was all I needed!
My brother and his wife preferred not to dispute, instead, they gave me a bowl of homemade borsht, meatballs with fried potatoes and chocolate salami and tea for dessert. Only after, I would take out my homework.
Moishe helped me with Hebrew studies, while Alla assisted me with English. Essays were produced by combining our efforts — and what a literary union it was!
Once done, we would watch a movie rented at a near-by Russian video salon. Then, around 11pm, it was time to head back to the boarding home, taking along a pack of candies, a book, a beautiful set of earrings, a new sweater… And a renewed hope for tomorrow.
Moishe drove me to the doors, reminding to come back the next day. With a blushing face I nodded, knowing that tomorrow was Friday and I would definitely come to bake challos* with Alla, set the table with a snow-white tablecloth, take out silver candlesticks and greet Shabbos* guests.
… It’s Friday again, which means that tonight I’ll be lighting candles. I’ll close my eyes once more, asking to reunite me with my loved ones scattered around the globe. And hopefully I’ll be answered.
* Shabbos is the Jewish day of rest and seventh day of the week, on which religious Jews remember the Biblical creation of the heavens and the earth in six days (Wikipedia)
* Challos – braided bread, which is customary to eat on Shabbos.