Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Lemon for Sukkes

Semyon Later was born in 1919 in Smotrych, Ukraine, where he received an extensive Jewish education. He attended both kheyder (religious Jewish school) and a Soviet Yiddish school. When AHEYM interviewed him in Kamianets Podolsk in 2003, he remembered how his family observed Jewish holidays before the war.

Semyon begins by recalling two of the Four Questions traditionally recited by the youngest child in a family during the Passover Seder. He mentions that he would recite these questions at his grandfather's house. He then talks about the rituals involved in the celebration of the Sukkoth holiday, which he mistakenly remembers as Shavuoth. Semyon insists that instead of the traditional esrog (citron), his family would buy a lemon for the holiday. Likely the lemon was the closest approximation of the esrog that was available to the family. Semyon additionally recalls eating his meals in the Sukkah.

--Asya Vaisman

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