My Grandpa Mendel

By Avtalya Rose Feldman


My grandpa Mendel was an amazing man. He lived through so much, good and bad. He and his wife Frieda had the courage, and persistence to flee Poland and escape the Naziís. They survived the Holocaust and made it to the US. They came here with nothing and were able to start a new life and a family.


But thatís not how I remember my grandpa. I remember his last four years. He moved to California in February of 2000 and had been living in our house. When he came here we began going to synagogue every Shabbat. Mendel would go early and save a whole row, right up front, for us. He liked to stay for the whole service and then the Kiddush. My family would leave early but the two of us would stay there together. Every one knew my grandpa and he would always introduce me to his friends. He would invite senior groups to our house for lunch and always attend their meetings.


Mendel was also a fabulous chess payer. He would go to the chess tournaments and always come home with trophies. He would invite children over and teach them how to play chess. He was always encouraging. When my mom was really busy my grandpa would come and pick us up from school. He would come in his little white Volvo, always reminding my sister and me how one day that would be our car. He was a huge part of all of our lives. Mendel had missed out on a lot of his childrenís childhoods, because he was constantly working, so this was his chance to experience it with us. To some people, my grandpa was a leader, to some he was a star chess player, or a wonderful member of the community, and to some he was a good friend. But to me he was my grandpa an amazing, righteous, kind, and courageous person. And I will never forget all the wonderful times we had together.