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September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
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A Soldier’s Daughter

Months ago, Elie and Lauren asked us for names of relatives.
shoah children

It’s a silly title because Elie isn’t really a soldier anymore. He is – or will be – when his country needs him and for about a month a year, when the country calls him to train and be prepared.

But mostly, he’s a husband, a son, a student, a security guard, a friend, a brother, a grandson, nephew, and cousin. And, a few days ago, he became a father, so I hope, given the name of the blog, he’ll forgive me for the silly title…I couldn’t resist.

I’ve been waiting to make this post, trying to decide what and how much. Let’s start with the amazing, and the obvious, given the title – Elie and his wife Lauren have a daughter. She is precious and cute and tiny (she was born at the fine weight of 2.8 kilo… it’s just she looks so tiny to me). I had a chance to hold her only once – they haven’t even come home from the hospital, though I am hoping it will be today.

I can’t post pictures – Amira and Haim didn’t want pictures of their son on the Internet and with all I hear, I agree. Elie and Lauren feel the same way and I’m proud of their decision. I asked if I could post a picture of the baby’s hand…actually, I haven’t even seen her hand yet (she was all wrapped up adorably when I got to see and hold her) but that would be the most that I would post. The world can be a terrible place and it is now Elie and Lauren’s job to protect their precious child.

When Amira and Haim named their son – they honored both families by taking one name from each side. They honored the Sephardi custom of giving their son the name of one grandfather (still living, B”H) and honored the Ashkenazi custom of giving their son the name of a relative who has passed away – in this case, the baby’s grandfather’s father.

Months ago, Elie and Lauren asked us for names of relatives. As Amira said recently, there are planners in the world, and scramblers. I’m a scrambler – proudly inheriting the ability to shove the broom in the closet and put a smile on my face as the first guest walks through the door. I inherited this from my mother (though to be fair, she has turned into a planner as she’s gotten older and I’m hoping I will too), and Amira has inherited this from me.

Those who plan – as Lauren does (she inherited it from her mother who is, without question, the most organized woman in the world and I’m hoping that with more contact, I’ll inherit some of Barbara’s amazing abilities because wow, she and Lauren are infinitely organized). They detail, make lists…and generally know what they are doing.

We scramblers…yeah, me…we scramble at the last minute. The wonderful part about being a scrambler is the amazing pressure it puts on you….no wait, that isn’t the amazing part…there must be something good about being a scrambler…maybe I’ll make that a separate post…

Well, anyway, after the baby was born, we got ourselves together and gave them some names. One of the names has haunted me for 28 years and it was the name they chose to give their daughter.

gavriella1In 1944, the Germans came to a small town in Hungary and took my mother-in-law’s family away… away to Auschwitz and the promise that they would be part of history, part of a great and horrible Holocaust, a final solution to rid the world of the Jewish people.

Among those who were taken, was the youngest sister, Gavriella. While my mother-in-law and her older sister miraculously survived, Gavriella, their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, many cousins, an older brother and his wife, and others…never returned.

When Amira was born, Gavriella’s name was the first my mother-in-law mentioned, and then she said we shouldn’t use the name. Gavriella died very young and there are those that say you shouldn’t name a baby after someone who died young. We honored her request, though I kept thinking that we shouldn’t lose Gavriella for the future, that we had to bring her with us.

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