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Leopold Sokolowski

Nesim Alkabes

Because my father was the oldest and the partner with the largest share, the other partners and their spouses, the accountants (one was Mr. Bohor, I don’t remember the name of the other) and their spouses, their friends, the secretary in the office, Mlle. Margo, all came to our house on the holidays.  Mlle. Margo later became the long-term secretary to the Grand Rabbi “Harbi Rafael Saban” who was very open-minded, and receptive to reform and change. (I don’t remember who was the Grand Rabbi before Rafael Saban, following him it was Rav. Asseo for 41 years). Margo married Sami Kazez when she was 30. They would always come to our house for the holidays (Passover, Shavuot, Succot), they would greet my mom and dad and chat. Normally on a Passover night we were 10 for the seder, with my father’s sisters Tant Coya, her two daughters, Tant Sarina (Ester) and our secretary Mlle Margo, we would be 14 at the table.

The rent for this house was  120 liras. (As I said before, my father was so wealthy that this rent money was similar to drinking a cup of sea water) (At the time a captain’s salary was 90 liras). My father was very extravagant; after we rented the house, he brought two painters from Italy. He had them decorate my sisters’ bedroom with pink flowers, the boys’ bedroom with blue flowers and his room with flowers of different colors.
Even though we had hot water and a bath tub in the house, the ladies still went to  Galatasaray Hamam on specific days of the month. My dad and us boys did not have such specific days to go to the Hamam.
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Anatoliy Shor

We also celebrated Shavuot and Sukkot. My father made a tent from planks and branches in the yard and we had meals there and spent most of the time in this tent. We also had guests. Rosh Hashanah was as grand as Pesach. My parents fasted on Yom Kippur, and when I grew older I also joined them.
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Eta Gurvichuyte

When my sister was alive, I found out about acting Jewish community. I came here with her. Here we were helped in many things, especially with medicine, when Anna was sick. Now, when I am living by myself and my grandchildren do not need close attention, I work as a volunteer in medical center of the community. I work for couple of hours every day. It gives me the feeling of being needed to people. I enjoy communicating with the Jews, who come over here. My friends are working in the community as well. We see Sabbath and mark Jewish holidays together. Recently we got together on Shavuot and cooked traditional dishes from milk and curds.
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Geta Jakiene

I do not remember the rest of the holidays vividly. As usual, grandmother made festive dinner with the relatives. Milk dishes were cooked for Shaveot. There were pie with curds, all kinds of casseroles and stews. On Rosh- Hashanah grandmother gave me the hen to be taken to shochet. He rotated alive hen over my head making kapores rite. On the eve of Yom Kippur we had a substantial meal as we did not eat before the next day. Grandma told me that I could eat as children and sick people were allowed to skip the fasting, but it was a pleasure for me to fast with everybody. I liked Sukkot and Simchat Torah. Sukkah was put by grandpa right in our yard. From the roof he took down handmade whickered dome. In that peculiar sukkah grandfather prayed during the holidays. He also had meals there. When it got cold in the evening, grandfather came home to get warm. On Simchat torah and Channukah grandfather, aunts and uncles gave me money, I and other Jewish kids were looking forward to that holiday.
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Solomon Meir

There is another holiday, it is called Sviz, Savua, [Shavuot], when people only eat dairy products. On the day of the Shavuot we, the Jews, were given the 10 commandments and the Torah. It is a holiday, people go to the synagogue, they read the prayers that need to be read for the holiday – instead, it is customary to eat dairy products on this day. People prepare triangular dumplings with cheese filling, they also prepare some sort of pie made with cheese obtained from cow’s milk, a type of strudel filled with cow-milk cheese filling. These are the main types of food that people eat on that day, and they drink milk afterwards. In Israel, this holiday lasts for a day. Normally, here, in the Diaspora, the holiday lasts for 2 days – you eat dairy products throughout both days –, as they perform the Memorial Prayer during the second day [Yizkor].
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