You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share
Jewesses with Attitude

Against All Odds, My Grandmother's Story

This piece was originally posted April 9 at TCJewfolk.

Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom HaShoah, is this Sunday. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think about the Holocaust very often.

When I come across some literature, a news clip, a movie, obviously. I pause and take note. An extra moment to notice. To think. My heart skip a beat. My eyes tear up. And I always feel just a titch helpless. And then I move on.

But I am thinking about it now. I’m wondering as a third generation survivor, what can I do for people like my Grandparents who are survivors? And as a mom, what can I do for people like my children who are fourth generation survivors? I wonder about the connection between the two and where I fit into it? 

My Grandmother, who I call Safta lives in Israel and has never met my husband or my children. But they know who she is from my mish-mash of memories and photos. They know that she’s a little old lady who loves to chit-chat. Kvetch. And Boss. That she has a great sense of humor, that she’s about 4′10 and that she speaks many languages. They know that she likes trashy TV, sweets and getting things done on her own. So basically, they know that she’s a lot like me.

What they don’t know about is the Holocaust. I can’t even begin to imagine how to teach my children about that horror and our family’s relationship to it.  But one day they’ll need to know. Want to know. And it’ll my job to tell them. So here I am today, preparing to tell my kids about something they don’t even know to ask about yet. My Safta, Sara (Sore) Voloshin is a Holocaust survivor. And this is her story.

Read more at TCJewfolk.

Three Generations: Ima, Safta and Me
Full image
Three Generations: Ima, Safta and Me (Minnesota Mamaleh).
Courtesy of Minnesota Mamaleh/TCJewfolk)

How to cite this page

Minnesota Mamaleh. "Against All Odds, My Grandmother's Story." 9 April 2010. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on October 26, 2016) <>.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now


What is the best Jewish feminist tv show currently on tv?

Sign Up for JWA eNews



4 days
For women voters in the 60s, not having childcare meant not voting! This determined mother made it to the polls!…
4 days
"How could I honor a tradition that did not make space for me as a female?"
5 days
"...even though my brand of Judaism doesn’t include religious observance, I am no less Jewish."…