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Rafael Genis

I remember Sukkot. Father made a tabernacle in the yard and covered it with pine branches. My brothers and I picked up chestnuts and tied them in pairs. Father made figures in the shape of a star etc. We had meals in the sukkah during this holiday.
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gabor paneth

Until 1944 I lived as a full Jew. Since then, however, I never go to synagogue and I don't maintain the traditions, but I think about them. On Succoth, for example, I recall how my father, my uncle Jeno and I sat on the balcony in the succah (ritual tent built on the holiday of Sukkot) and prayed, and how my father kept shaking the lulav (palm frond).
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rena michalowska

I remember the 'kuczki' celebrations [Sukkot] and all the booths built in the courtyard from tall corn stalks, for lots of corn grew in that area. A number of houses shared that courtyard, but I think each family had their own booth. There were tables made of wooden boards, and one sat down to eat at those tables. That's one of my memories.
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Nachman Elencwajg

The other holidays we observed much less solemnly. For instance, we never had the tent for Sukkot. Some, those who lived in tenement houses and had balconies, set up the tents there. We lived on the first floor and didn't have the possibility.
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Renée Molho

We were not going to the synagogue very frequently. Of course for the memorial service of my father, and my mother, and quite frequently on Fridays, I would go to light a candle and ask God to take care of us and not to forget us.

All the Jewish high holidays we celebrated at home, like Rosh Hashanah, Pesach, Sukkot etc. We certainly didn't make our own sukkah during Sukkot. After the war nobody was doing it, so we were all going to the sukkah that was set up at the community and we were going only on one day, not the eight days that Sukkot lasts. I cannot recall until which age I was taking my children there.

At the door you can see a mezuzah which for me symbolizes a prayer, a prayer of protection by God. This is what it represents for me. I don't stick to the mezuzah as an object, since when I want to pray, I pray wherever and whenever I wish. I don't consider the existence of the mezuzah as a push towards praying. It is in order for God to protect this house in which I live.

I don't know if I have taught Judaism to my children. I believe in God but I don't consider myself a fanatic stuck to the religious rules. As for my children I don't know what they do where religion is concerned.
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During Sukkot, of course, we made a sukkah. My uncle Sinto, my father's brother, had a very big balcony, almost like a room; he made the sukkah and we all went there. They used to put blankets all around, in order to create a small room and then white sheets and pin white flowers all over. We sat there, we ate there, we saw each other, we talked, and it was very nice but we didn't sleep there.

My father went to the synagogue for every festivity, and we used to wait for him to come home, bring sweets and turn on all the lights in the house, for good luck. He brought home 'baissées,' special sweets made with eggs and sugar, which are completely white. He bought them at Almosnino, the Jewish pastry shop that was near our house and he came home. Then we went to our grandmother's, to kiss her hand and receive her blessings.

Sweets that we made at home were almond sweets, and quince sweets, as I told you. Now we don't make that kind of things any more. To make almond sweets you take a kilo of almonds, you boil them a little and then you peel them, so they become white, and then you mince them and you add half a kilo of powdered sugar, and the white part of two eggs, that you beat up so that they become fluffy as snow, and mix all of it well. Then you wet you hand with some water and lemon, so that the dough will not stick, and shape it into small pieces like children's fingers.

We also made Sotlach. We made a cream with rice flour and milk and sugar. We made this cream and then we put sugar in a pan, heated it, and let it become caramel and then we poured this hot cream inside the caramel and let it burn a little. It was very, very tasty.
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Teofila Silberring

My favorite was Kuczki [literally shelter, in this case it refers to Sukkot], the Feast of Shelters. Because then there were these shelters in our courtyard, and we children, not just me, but from the whole house, made colored paper chains and competed to see whose would be the prettiest. Father ate there on the first day or the second. And after that it was a so- called 'free' holiday, so he didn't eat in there. But the shelter stayed up until the end of the festival, so eight days or seven, I don't remember that. [Editor's note: Sukkot lasts eight days]. In any case I liked that holiday a lot, because I prepared things, did things, was very important. When my chain came out better than my friends' from next door I was very proud. And Father was proud of me too, and showed everyone what I'd done. That was my most favorite holiday.
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danuta mniewska

I remember that there, in the ghetto, my grandparents still celebrated the Jewish holidays, the religious Jews kept us together. One time Grandfather asked Uncle Maks, with whom my parents were in contact by mail, to send that sort of lemon from Milan - it was called the etrog [for Sukkot]. And indeed, it arrived. To this day I remember the address to which my parents wrote to Uncle in Milan: Via Frati Bronzetti 1, Milano.
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I remember the Feast of the Booths [Sukkot]. I liked it very much, I wanted to eat in that booth because it was so nice, so much greenery. The booth stood in the yard, against the wall.
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anna schwartzman

We celebrated Sukkot, and my grandfather made a big sukkah in the yard. We, children, lived in it for a whole week. We also celebrated Rosh Hashanah with candles, a festive dinner, apples with honey and presents.
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arkadiy redko

Before Pesach my mother baked matzah in the Russian stove. We, children, enjoyed preparations for holidays. We hardly ever had enough food on weekdays, but my mother tried to make as much food as possible for holidays. She saved money to have chicken, gefilte fish, and make strudels from matzah with jam, raisins and nuts for holidays. There was a general clean up of the house before Pesach. Bread crumbs were removed and fancy crockery was brought down from the attic. I don't remember any details about the celebration of Pesach in our home, or whether my father conducted the seder: it was so many years ago... I remember that we also celebrated other Jewish holidays: Chanukkah, Sukkoth, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but no details. I was seven to eight years old then, and now I am 80.
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feiga tregerene

On Sukkot my father made a sukkah in the yard, using pine tree branches. Inside the tent he placed a portable table to have meals there on these days. On Simchat Torah we ran to the synagogue to watch the festival. When we grew older, we could also participate. I remember numerous lights on Chanukkah, the winter holiday, when Jewish residents lit chanukkiyah candles that could be seen through the windows. Mama lit another candle every day. When I was a little girl, my father used to make me a spinning top, and I played with it with other Jewish children. All eight days of Chanukkah we ate potato pancakes [latkes], cakes and pies made from the dough on vegetable oil. We also had little pies filled with jam. I learned the history of Jewish holidays and rituals, when I went to the Jewish school. Before school I didn't quite realize what they were about.
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Otto Suschny

Mein Großvater Simon Suschny ging zum Beten in die Karajangasse [20. Bezirk] in ein kleines Bethaus. Im Hof zwischen den Häusern der Nummern 8 und 10 wurde zu Sukkot [Laubhüttenfest] immer eine Laubhütte aufgestellt, in denen die Gläubigen unter den vielen Juden, die in diesen Häusern wohnten, ihre Gebete verrichteten.
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Gertrude Kritzer

Sie waren sehr
religiös. Im Hof befand sich ein Holzhäuschen und zu Sukkot
[Laubhüttenfest] diente es als Sukkah [Laubhütte].
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Peter Reisz

After 1935, when my parents returned from Holland, my father didn’t really go to temple.  I went with my mother and my grandmother, and, of course, in Jewish school with my class. We weren’t kosher at home.  We didn’t eat pork, but we didn’t keep the dairy and meat products separate, and we didn’t buy kosher meat.  But, say, a chicken paprikash with sour cream – that was impossible to even imagine.  The customs stayed.  We bought a goose in the fall, and we’d bake the fat out of it, and then we’d use the fat.  In November, December, and January we’d eat goose several times, and those geese, I believe, were always kosher.  For instance, if we wanted a chicken killed, we’d take it to the shochet, and he’d kill it for us.

But we kept those holidays.  I remember we had separate Pesach dishes.  The chomets, that is, food containing yeast, was cleared out of the house. The point of that was really the cleaning.  We’d get a woman – she’d come to do the washing too – who would help us, and then she would clean the whole flat, so there wouldn’t be a crumb anywhere, and then we’d bring the dishes out from the attic, and we’d use them during the Pesach holiday.  We’d eat matzoh, and we made pastries with the matzoh, things they hardly even know these days, dumplings out of matzoh flour, plum dumplings.  When my grandfather died, my father didn’t hold the ceremony at Pesach, but Seder evening was held, because we’d either go to temple, or acquaintances or friends would hold the Seder.  We knew a lot of Jews, and either we’d go to their place, or they’d come to ours to hold Seder.

On Friday evenings there was candle lighting; my father wouldn’t be home, because he had to work, but my mom and grandma did it.  They’d put scarves on their heads, and that’s how they’d bless the flame.  There was challah, too. I was still a child, but I knew the prayers, and I’d say them together with my mother and grandmother.  Then that slowly ended too.  We ate a lot of sauce with our Friday food, I remember.  We went to temple on Friday evenings and on the Sabbath.  We didn’t go in the mornings, because that’s when there was household work, cooking, and cleaning to do.  There was never anything like us not lighting lights, or not taking a tram, or anything like that.  My father went to work. I went to school.

We kept Yom Kippur, and we would fast, and we took part in the celebration of Sukkoth that they organized in the temple.
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