My Papa Tom
My name is Ryan Woolfson, and I am 10 years old and live in Weston, Florida, USA with my parents Gary and Stacey, and my older brother Jordan who will have his Bar Mitzvah on May 2, 2015 (about 2 weeks from now). I go to a private school called University School and I am in the 5th grade.
I talked to my Papa Tom Hirschen (my mom’s dad) about his holiday memories. He was born in Cagnes-Sur-Mer, France in 1941. He and his parents left France when he was 2 years old. His aunts and uncles left Germany before the war began, but the rest of the family died in the Holocaust. Papa Tom has two houses: he lives in Boca Raton, Florida part of the year and in New York the rest of the year.
Chanukah is a favorite holiday because everyone in the family gets together at his parent’s home. The best memory is when the family says the prayers over the candles. On each of the 8 nights, the family lit the candles, said the blessings, sometimes sang a Chanukah song, and usually got presents on most of the nights. They played dreidel a little bit and ate plenty of homemade potato latkes.
For Passover, Papa Tom’s best memory is eating matza. They would have a seder dinner with about 10 people around the table – some family, some Jewish friends. The matzo ball soup and gefelte fish were wonderful. During the week, his snack would be matza with butter.
Papa Tom thinks it is important to carry on the tradition of having a seder and to remember that Jews that escaped from Egypt. Passover is our celebration of how Jews escaped from Egypt and have survived for 2000 years.
Papa Tom’s most special Jewish item is the tallit that was given to him by his aunt and uncle for his Bar Mitzvah in 1954.
Our celebration of how Jews escaped from Egypt and have survived for 2000 years