holiday table settings, shavuot recipes and ideas, shavuot table settings

A Holiday Table That Connects Holocaust Survival To The Beauty of Shavuot

184 Comments 16 April 2015

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Thank you Helen Bachrach for sharing  your mother’s Shavuot table with The Jewish Hostess readers. Her story is so inspiring and I would really love to sit at her table and  hear it directly from her. I really enjoyed reading about the detail of this beautiful table. How wonderful that your mother was able to transform  sad childhood  memories into a meaningful, inspiring, and gorgeous Shavuot table!

Several years ago I viewed a documentary entitled “Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance After the Holocaust that sounds so similar to her story, I hope you don’t mind that I linked to a clip of it above. Its about a man who took his children to Poland to thank the non-Jews that hid their grandfather during the holocaust. I highly recommend everyone buy a copy of the film from Amazon and show it to their kids and grandkids!

To all of my Jewish Hostesses- enjoy Mrs. Bryn’s holiday table! Marlene

 

“This table was set for the holiday of Shavuot, by my mother, Felicia Bryn, from Sunny Isles Florida. My mother was a hidden child during the holocaust. She came to Israel in the 1950’s. At that time, she had very little connection to Judaism; she felt very lonely and missed Poland terribly. Gradually my mother started to make friends who invited her for Shabbat and Yom Tov. My mother was captivated by the beautiful Yom Tov and Shabbat tables she saw in different homes. This positive exposure to beauty and Jewish observance instilled in her a desire to create that type of Jewish life in her own home. She met and married my father in Israel. He was a Cantor in the United States and later became a Rabbi. As a Rebbetzin, my mother has had many opportunities to entertain in her home. She starts thinking about her Yom Tov and Shabbat table weeks in advance.  The attached picture shows my mom’s Shavuot table covered with Lenox butterfly patterned dishes on glass chargers. The crystal glass goblets come from Poland. My mother has always felt a sense of Hakarat Hatov for the people who saved her during the war and always finds a way to incorporate her crystal from Poland into her Shabbat and Yom Tov table. After the war, she visited them in Poland many times, even during the communist era. On these visits, my mother would collect colored glass goblets of all types and sizes.  My mother’s centerpiece consists of two cake stands with a pineapple on top. The bottom cake stand is porcelain. She does not remember where she picked it up. The second cake stand is by Atlas. The pattern is 22 karat gold. My mother picked up the pineapple at Bed Bath and Beyond. She thought the pineapple was whimsical and would add something different to the usual Yom Tov center piece. The bottom cake stand rests on a gold embroidered cloth. The porcelain cake stand is mostly red and white, but the gold trim on the edge picks up on the gold embroidery. The gold on the second cake stand really highlights the gold embroidery on the cloth. The pineapple is red and gold which highlights the entire centerpiece. My mother used gold flatware to tie the rest of the table into the center piece.  The tradition on Shavuot is to decorate the house and synagogue with greenery and flowers. One of the reasons given for the custom is as a remembrance of Har Sinai which grew beautiful flowers and greenery when Hashem gave the Jewish people the Torah. My mother expanded on this theme by using flowered napkin holders and filling vases in her home with a variety of greenery picked up from a florist. On Shavuot my mother brings beauty into her home to celebrate the beautiful gift of the Torah to the Jewish People. Please checkout her autobiography on Amazon.com. www.amazon.com/Never-Forget-Lie-Felicia-Bryn/dp/1412070198

Helen Bachrach

 

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