Monday, January 03, 2011

Family Ties -- And the Original Joan Nathan

My father, Jacob Freedman (1906-1976), had one younger sister and five older siblings.  One of his older siblings was Ella Klein, who had three children, including a daughter, Helen.  Helen was married to Albert Sternberg, who is apparently a member of Temple Shalom of  Lower Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  Mr. Sternberg was an education professor at Rider University.

My Aunt Ella had three children: Helen, Nettie, and Leonard.  My cousin Nettie was named for my father's cousin, Nathan, who was killed in World War I.

It was Aunt Ella who taught my mother how to cook Jewish.

I was amused to read an article about the Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler who is Jewish but whose wife is not Jewish.  Doug Gansler said how important it was in his family to light menorah candles on Chanukah.  We never celebrated Chanukah in my family.  But my mother cooked Jewish.  From my own experience and intuition, it is far more important for a child of nominal religious background to be exposed to Jewish cooking than to the celebration of Chanukah.   But hey, that's me.  Mr. Gansler, don't you have a sister who can teach your wife how to cook gefilte fish?

Incidentally, I refer to my Aunt Ella in my dream interpretation, The Dream of the Blue Oxford.  For many years my Aunt Ella lived on Oxford Street in North Philadelphia, in a house passed down from my father's parents.

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