Looking Back, Looking Ahead!

Days of Atonement, clarity, introspection, meditation, taking in the moment are ways I see the High Holidays. The time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur serves as a time to take stock of the past year, and think about the future.

Usually I start with creating the ritual meal. Shopping items include chicken, matza meal, noodles, apples, gefilte fish, Manischwitz Concord Grape Wine, and a round challah (getting harder, and harder to find).  The meal takes a lot of preparation and while I chop and peel I remember the past year. The lose of my parents is with me daily. I do take some comfort in knowing they are together. But this time the holiday felt different.

In the process of moving I get to look at a lot of accumulated stuff. 47 years of marriage, 31years in the same house, and only in the past month have we become “empty nesters”.  I inherited much from my parents. I found some home movies from early 1960s that I transferred onto a DVD. Technology has come a long way from a Super 8mm film camera. Back to the time of silent movies with exaggerated movements.

October begins a new chapter for the Frankel’s with the move to Fair Oaks (6 miles away).  Not so much distance, but a reset nevertheless. Still don’t know exactly how we plan to arrange our “stuff”. Luckily we have a 3 car garage, and that is where our boxes will go. Then we have another chance to decide about stuff before it finds a place in our new home. I feel excited, and I hope that enthusiasm continues.

Selling a house is not fun.  My house has never been so clean. My Libby is into the routine, and as long as I have her food ready, she jumps into the car in a moments notice.  Trying not to take feedback personally. I just hope that process does not drag on. Listed for not quite a month, and it is starting to feel old. Yesterday was the first day I didn’t go overboard and pick up every little thing.  Thinking maybe that a watched pot does not boil, a spotless house does not sell? My mother would say, “You just need one buyer, and for every house there is one buyer.” Patience. My friend Anne came over and blessed my house to release any negative spirits that may be preventing its sale.  An open house is scheduled for Sunday.  We are doing all we can!

In the coming year I plan to research my family roots. I started my family genealogy while studying for my Libraian credential in 1983. That was before Internet, computer software, and the end of the Cold War. Now there are so many ways wto proceed. New documents are coming on line all the time. I joined the Jewish Genealogy Society of Sacramento and participated in 2 classes. I am not sure where this will lead. Perhaps a book documenting my family history. Maybe just continued research into the Shoah and its  meaning in my life. Maybe a way to establish connections with other researchers and librarians. I hesitate to involve myself in another group, but maybe I do this for just that reason – to overcome.

I’m not usually comfortable joining a group, but being part of my 2nd Gen group encourages me to try and feel a part of something bigger than myself. I learn, find support and appreciate my CVHEN (Central Valley Holocaust Educators Network) 2nd Gen friends. After so many years, I finally have people I can count on. Photography helped to crack through my isolation. Despite the difficulties I encountered I could use my camera to refocus my thoughts. Getting out with friends, doing something, and creating is the key. I hope I don’t let my friends down. I plan to be mindful and appreciate my friends.

Thinking back over the past year I tried, but may not have succeeded in taking a step back around my family. The role of care taker may have placed me a position of power, and I may have sent the message that I know what is best. There is a delicate balance between taking care, and allowing space. I plan to be more mindful of this. The balance between decision making, and indecision. Some decisions I made were hard, yet I made up my mind for what I hope will be best for my family.

As is said at this time, “May you be inscribed in the Book of Life.”

SS Red Oak Victory Ship

The SS Red Oak Victory Ship provides a rich venue for my photography during our afternoon in Richmond, California. Just a short drive from Point Richmond.

As soon as I found myself on board I was drawn to using parts of the ship to create frames in my compositions.  One afternoon is just enough time to get an overview photographically. I plan to return here and explore more of this ship.

 

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Reflection in a port hole

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Faces follow me!

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As seen from the SS Red Oak Victory

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By the dock of the bay

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Selfie

So much to see on board. These are just a few of the rooms I explored. A bit of humor found in the hospital quarters. I tried to imagine what it would be like to cook for the entire crew. The size of the mixer gave me a clue.

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Wandering up and down the hallway.

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Life boat

New cars unloaded from ships, and heading for auto dealers here in the USA. Cyclists stop by on the dock. A sailboat taking in the tranquility of the afternoon.

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Last stop was the Rosie the Riveter Memorial Park. It didn’t look promising for a great sunset, so we headed home.

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Anne and I take advantage of the late afternoon sun to show off some height!

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A great day for history, fun, and good photography.

Copps Quarry

1611_01_coppsquarry_5115Getting out with fellow photographers helps me get a different outlook on life. It is time for me to relax. It is time to look outward. Stop worrying about family who seem to think I can wave a wand, and abracadabra all their wants will be delivered. All mysteries of the universe revealed by me. I am so powerful. Not!

Since my Dad passed away in September much time is spent with my Mom. Luckily my dog, Libby joins me most days. On Fridays I watch grandkids, and my one year old entertains residents at the assisted living facility with my Mom. So to get out of this routine I set aside at least one day a week to photography.

This time we explored a new place for me. Copp’s Quarry provided granite to San Francisco and Stockton for buildings. Closed in 1915 I explored narrow walking paths dotted with granite partially cut, a meandering creek, and Indian grinding rocks.

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Where will this path lead?

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Next time I will bring my new variable neutral density filter to improve the rushing water in this image.                         

Lots of fungus among us.

A close-up look at nature reveals faces to me.

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Black eyed

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Look at my perfect profile

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The Lone Ranger look

Splashes of color grab my attention.

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Lizard sunning

What does this mean?

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And now I have come to the end of this set of images.

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Thank you for joining me on my recounted afternoon photo journey. Any words from you are always welcomed.

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The Legacy of the Holocaust

Last weekend I attended my first World Federation Conference of Child Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.

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Waiting at the Sacramento Airport with friends

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Flying into Burbank Airport

Eleven members of the 2 Gen group from Sacramento participated.

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Photographer at the conference is documenting survivors and descendents for a project

About 600 attendees sat down to meals at the Marriott.

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So many enjoying a meal together. Plenty to eat, plenty to talk about!

The almost 600 attendees participated in many workshops, some panel discussions, dancing, and plenty of good food.

We gather for dinner with friends.

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You can’t be serious! (Kidding.  I didn’t actually listen to conversation)

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It’s all good.

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A 4 day information packed conference with many workshop choices for each generation

The second generation made up the largest group. There is an age difference between the survivors who were over 16 at the end of the war, and those who were under 16 years old at the end of 1945. The personal stories varied, the impact of the Holocaust differed, and the perceptions proved dissimilar.

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Second Generation group broke up into smaller groups after the introductions.

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Candle lighting ceremony

Sarah Moskovitz is honored for her work with child survivors

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Here my friend visits with Sarah

We listened to the lawyer who represented the family in the real life story of Woman in Gold.  

After food the tables are moved out of the way and it is time to dance. Everyone gets into the action.

On the last day after the closing ceremony we went to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. This is a small museum with a lot of information.

I connected with my cousin who I have not seen in at least 46 years. It was a very, very short visit, but at least there was at least a reconnection.

After the convention I tried to talk to my mother. She is feeling very alone right now. After 69 years together with my Dad she is alone. Recently I discovered a letter she wrote to her Uncle Lazar Kahan in Shanghai after the war. Unaware that he passed away right after the war ended the letter was given back to my mother probably by his wife, Shoshana. In the letter she described her terrible journey. Before the age of 19 my mother endured the arrest and murder by the Nazis of my grandfather, Israel Kahan, journalist and owner of Lodzer Nachrichten, moving into the Lodz Ghetto with her mother, and its liquidation in August 1944. My mother and Grandmother were transported to Auschwitz August 1944 where they were separated and my Grandmother was gassed. My mother was sent to work camps as slave labor and ended up in Bergen Belsen. The English liberated the camp in May 1945, but not before she endured death marches trying to stay one step ahead of the Allies.  Liberation, a brief stay in Sweden to recuperate, and a ship brought her to New York. War is over and everyone wants to move on. No psychological help is offered, no knowledge of PTSD. The letter she writes demonstrates that very real damage has been done. Alone, feeling guilty, seeing life without hourly fears, having no support system my mother poured out her feelings in this letter. A couple of months later my Dad enters her life, and she finds a quiet understanding. And then time to start living, start a family, and participate in the American dream.

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Alina and Arthur pose in May 2016, a couple of months before my Dad’s passing

Both my parents gave testimony in the Shoah project started by Steven Spielberg. This is my family legacy.