WHAT IS THE REASON?
While preparing for a Passover Seder in my house this year, I found myself glancing through some old Jewish books that I kept in the same box with lots of Yarmulkes acquired over the years from Weddings and Bar Mitzvahs, along with old Passover Haggadahs, handpainted Passover tablecloth my oldest made, decorated pillow case and matzoh cover that my youngest made….
One book, pictured above, was given to my son many years ago by the wife of my Dad’s first cousin. Her brother, Chaim Press, is the author who had written a series of these books for the Jewish holidays. I showed it to my now 29 year old son and told him who that author is…in the hopes he will remember. Here is the inside cover:
Another book, not Passover related, caught my eye. Upon further investigation, I saw that a man named Solomon Asher had given it to my Grandmother before she had married . Since she first married in 1913, this undated book dates back over 100 years.
So who was Solomon Asher? Without even expecting my 93 year old Dad to know, I posed him with this question…..and of course he once again surprised me with an answer. He told me this man was a boarder in the home, a 90 year old blind man. I double checked and did some research, but could not find him connected to the family, so the intermittent years between census records would make more sense. I was happy my Dad knew this and left it at that….until today!
As I was reading latest blog posted by Facebook friend and fellow blogger, Amy Cohen (Brotmanblog.com) entitled
I had a sudden revelation about a question that lingered in my mind, but never fully pursued. Amy stated the following in her blog….
“the family asked that donations be made to the New York Association for the Blind. I mention this because several of Michael’s siblings made similar requests—that donations be made to some organization for the blind. It makes me wonder whether a member of the family—perhaps Michael himself—was blind.”
My thoughts went immediately to my Grandmother, Lena Kops Oxenburg, who passed before I was born. I happen to know that my religious Grandmother requested that her eyes be donated upon her death.
I vaguely remember stumbling across this letter the first time in the home I grew up in, snooping around in my parents room is my guess! So, at the latest, I was in my teens. I remember thinking….Donated eyes? Over the years, knowing my Grandmother was religious, I wondered if this was an odd occurrence. I “thought” this went against religious beliefs…. I didn’t question this further. I don’t know why I didn’t.
It was while reading Amy’s blog that it occurred to me that…religious or not, this blind man, who boarded in the family home and presented my Grandmother with this book, could very well have been Lena’s inspiration to donate her eyes to eye bank upon her death…..THAT IS THE REASON (most likely)!