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elvira kohn

In our house in Vinkovci where I lived with my grandparents, my brother and my mother, the family respected Jewish customs and traditions. We weren't very religious, but there were certain elements of the Jewish religion and traditions that we respected. There was no pork in the house; that was strictly forbidden. We never had pork.

Otherwise, the meat we ate wasn't kosher; at least I don't think it was slaughtered according to the strict kashrut rules. My grandmother and mother cooked on Friday for Saturday so we didn't cook on Saturday. They prepared challah for Friday night and for Saturday. We lit candles Friday night and had a festive meal, usually fish, chicken soup and chicken. We had red wine.

On Saturday, we always ate cholent, which was prepared the day before. Most of the food was kept in the well in the backyard because otherwise it would have gone bad. We had a young servant girl named Ivka from Brcko who didn't live with us, but occasionally came to help my mother and my grandmother. She wasn't Jewish so she mostly helped us on Fridays and Saturdays. For example, on Saturday she went to the well where the cholent was kept, brought it in and heated it up for us for lunch.

We also lit candles on Chanukkah. For Pesach, we ate matzot, and I remember that my grandmother made delicious matzot cake. We had a seder dinner. Of course, we celebrated all the holidays, like Rosh Hashanah, and we always had a nice lunch or dinner. We fasted on Yom Kippur. It was more of a tradition than strict religion in my family. Like it is said: the customs have kept Judaism, and not the prayers.
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baby pisetskaya

I remember, that when I was pregnant my mother forced me to fast at Yom Kippur: my parents continued to observe some Jewish traditions.
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Jankiel Kulawiec

Yom Kippur, on the other hand, was a serious holiday. We didn't tend to observe the fast. But I remember that people who had quarreled with each other apologized. We had this one quarrelsome neighbor, I remember that at Yom Kippur she would always come round to Mama and apologize. And afterwards the quarrels started again ...
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He was hardly religious at all. He didn't work on Saturdays [Sabbath], but he didn't go to synagogue either. I don't even think he went to synagogue on Yom Kippur.
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Mico Alvo

On Rosh Hashanah, or on [Yom] Kippur my father would go to the Beit Saoul synagogue, which was a very large synagogue. That was it. He would never go on Saturdays. My father was very fond of tradition. It was a matter of tradition, the fact that he was a Jew and not a Christian like everybody else. He was a bit different from the others. So he kept that, the tradition. But to get into the logic that he shouldn't eat pork meat or that he shouldn't write on Saturday, he wouldn't do that. My father used to say that when you do something you should always trust your conscience, to know whether your consciousness approves of it or not. Not because God would punish you, but whatever your conscience dictated.
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Grandfather Haim didn't participate in Community affairs at all, as he wasn't one of the important members of it.

I cannot say that his was a religious family. Here things were loose. There were many that were religious, but there wasn't any fanaticism, none at all. Of course everyone would keep the Yom Kippur fast. Grandfather Haim might have gone to the synagogue every Saturday, because every neighborhood had a synagogue. And this way it wasn't difficult to go. Thessaloniki had about forty synagogues [4]. The elders would go. Haim used to go to the synagogue Sarfati, on Gravias Street, because it was close to his house.

My maternal grandfather I remember used to get up at five in the morning every day. He would read until six and he would then go to work. Haim didn't do that. He was more liberal. Still, they kept all religious feasts. Other traditions that Haim kept, but my father later didn't, was that unlike my father, Haim ate kosher food, didn't mix milk with meat etc.
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We kept the three main religious holidays very systematically when Didi was a child: Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah and Pesach. Didi found it completely natural. I mainly like tradition but I don't like all these silly things. You will not eat this or you will not eat the other. I find these things very silly. They say you shouldn't use the phone on Saturdays. Well, what kind of silly things are these? All these things that rabbis did to empower themselves, I really detest them.
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Rafael Genis

We celebrated all Jewish holidays at home, though for me they looked the same as Sabbath. Of course, each holiday had its traditions and attributes. On Rosh Hashanah there were a lot of deserts on the table and shofars were played. I started fasting on Yom Kippur since an early age. I've been doing that all my life, except for the time on the front.
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My aunts remained religious till the end of their days. They didn't do anything on Sabbath, celebrated Jewish holidays, went to the synagogue on holidays, observed the kashrut, fasted on Yom Kippur and donated to charity in a local synagogue. Ella died in 1998 in the USA. Golda happened to see Israel. She went there with her son's family and died in the Promised Land in 2002.
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Krystyna Budnicka

On Yom Kippur, a Sunday, I went to mass in the morning, and in the evening I lit a candle in the synagogue for my loved ones. I'm sure my mother understands me. From her perspective such earthly matters are simpler.
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Janina Duda

That was when we, the kids, were put in the kitchen and, to spite the adults, we’d buy ourselves pieces of sausage [pork] on Yom Kippur, as a sign of protest, because young people are always rebelling.
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Margarita Kamiyenovskaya

I had been bilingual since childhood. My father always spoke German to me and my mother spoke Russian. So, it's hard for me to say which of these languages I consider to be my native. Both of those languages were my first. Of course, soon I became fluent in Estonian living in an Estonian environment and playing with Estonian children. Nobody spoke Yiddish at home.

I can't say that my parents were religious. Some Jewish traditions were definitely observed. My father always contributed money to charity. Though rarely, my father did go to the synagogue. I don't know on which days. It seems to me that my mother didn't go to the synagogue except on Yom Kippur. It was the only holiday we always marked at home the way it was supposed to be. We conducted the kapores rite, but we didn't do it with a living hen, but with money. Then we took that money to the synagogue for indigent people. We obligatorily fasted all day long on Yom-Kippur in accordance with the tradition. I still fast on Yom-Kippur. On Yom Kippur my parents used to spend almost the whole day in the synagogue. I also went to the synagogue on that day, but not for the whole day. At home dishes of Jewish cuisine were cooked, such as chicken broth, and gefilte fish. We had matzah on Pesach, we didn't eat bread. We didn't mark any other Jewish holidays at home.
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Isroel Lempertas

When I resigned from the university I was employed at psychological laboratory by the university dealing with research of educational issues. At the same time I was offered to teach Jewish history at the Jewish school, which was recently open. It turned out, that I was learning together with my students, being one class ahead of them. In my childhood and adolescence I did not study Jewish history and now I opened that wonderful history world for me. I had worked by 2004 and now I am taking a rest for a year. Though, I cannot call it a rest. Earlier, when my younger son took a keen interest in Holocaust, I started collecting materials on that horrible page in the Jewish history and understood that Jewish life and community appealed to me. Probably it was an inner need to do possible and impossible for the Jewry to be revived. Now I am a member of the Board of the Community of Lithuanian Jews. Now I have the chance to do my best for the community. I did not become religious; my family marks Jewish holidays and mandatory fasts on Yom Kippur to commemorate my ancestors and millions of those who perished.
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Amalia Laufer

I fast on Yom Kippur and before Rosh Hashanah. On the 2nd day of these holidays I sit at the table after the evening star appears in the sky.
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