A Taste Of Childhood

By Jacelyn Gluska

I moved from California to New York last year, leaving the sunshine and my family for the big city. The day leading up to Kol Nidre is profoundly planted in my taste buds. As a child, I remember my button-sized Yemenite grandmother, my safta, crouching on the floor to blend and mold the Zalabia (deep fried dough), which we inhaled before the fast began. Breathing in the kitchen, I gulped the dense smell of oil and hard boiled eggs and the remaining burn from the peppers used to make the Zhug. The counters were always smeared with tomato juice and seeds left behind from the grated tomato we used to dip our bread in. Our table was covered in a white, satin tablecloth that we brought out once a year for this meal. The white plates we used characterized the simplicity of the table before us, always feeling just like my safta.

I find myself thinking of this memory before the fast begins each year, no matter what I am eating as my preparatory meal. Wherever I may be observing the Yamim Nora’im on a given year, this memory brings me back into my safta’s house and I feel the embrace of family, no matter how far away they may be.

About Jacelyn Gluska

Jacelyn (Jacey) has been working within the realm of Synagogue life for the past 10 years; particularly within education. She has taught in Hebrew Schools, been an administrator for Religious Schools, served as Youth Director, and worked in many other capacities with young families, students and staff. Jacey feels at home working within a congregation and has spent many years growing as a part of different communities, which has contributed to her spiritual journey.