#52snapshots 2022 | Week 34–Local Traditions

I admit I had a false start on this prompt. I originally read it as outdoor traditions, and well, my family rarely did anything outdoors. I re-read the prompt and realized it was about local traditions. Many of mine revolved around the shul, Congregation B’nai Israel of Kearny and North Arlington. I wrote about the Purim Carnival and the Hebrew National hot dogs we got on Memorial Day, my father proudly wearing his Jewish War Veterans cap, and I proudly wearing the crepe-paper poppy.

I also recalled our annual Christmas dinner at the Jade Fountain Restaurant where we were also sent the night before Pesach so my mother got us out of her hair while she changed the dishes and made overall preparations for Passover. It was likely we’d run into other Jewish families from the area. In the years we attended the Jewish Y camp, Nah-Jee-Wah, in Milford, PA, we attended the reunions at a roller-skating rink in Union.

On a secular level, sure, we attended some parades on Kearny Avenue, the July Fourth fireworks in the high school stadium with a great view of the New York City skyline. I suppose during high school years, I must have gone to some Thanksgiving football games against Nutley.

One important tradition my mother established with her sister and brother was to visit their parents’ graves in the Zaromber section of Montefiore Cemetery, just past the mausoleum of Rabbi Schneerson. I often drove my mother to her sister’s in Flushing to take part in this ritual, which turned into an all-day thing. It was a great opportunity back at my aunt’s after the cemetery to indulge in family history, surrounded by photographs of my grandparents, Max and Rose Perlman (aka Pryzant). The three Perlman siblings kept up this tradition for many years even when they could barely walk. It must have ended when my aunt developed Alzheimer’s. My mother never felt “right” unless she visited her parents’ graves. Her mother died in September, just before Labor Day; that must have given rise to selecting the Sunday of Labor Day weekend as the day for the ritual.

Max and Rose Perlman on their wedding day, 1918, New York City

Which local traditions will you write about?

About Barbara Krasner

History writer and award-winning author Barbara Krasner writes Jewish-themed poetry, articles, nonfiction books, and novels for children and adults.
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