My Story 8: Samovar

This is a picture of Jacob's samovar from Russia; the one on display in my mother’s living room in her home in Israel. I believe that my mother’s story is the story of this samovar. According to Wikipedia:

“A samovar (Russian: самовар, pronounced [səmɐˈvar] - literally "self-boiler") is a heated metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water in and around Russia, as well as in other Central, South-Eastern and Eastern European countries, in Iran, Kashmir, Turkey and Hadhramawt eastern Yemen. The samovar was an important attribute of a Russian household. Samovars are a part of the traditional Russian tea culture. The Russian expression "to have a sit by samovar" means to have a leisurely talk while drinking tea from samovar. Concentrated tea is poured from a teapot in tiny amounts into a cup. Then hot water is added from the samovar to dilute the tea to the appropriate strength.

The samovar in my mother’s home belonged to a relative, I believe a great uncle Jacob (Yaakov), who lived in Russia. While living as a Jew in Russia, Jacob had a dream that he would eventually make “aliyah" and live in Israel. Although he made it out of Russia, his journey took him instead to South America. I don’t know the details of Jacob’s life and journey, but I believe it was Jacob’s children who then ended up in America, taking the samovar with them. Somehow my mother ended up with the samovar and with her eventual “aliyah” to Israel in 1967, Jacob’s samovar arrived and settled in Israel with her.

It’s clear to me that it’s no coincidence that my American-born mother ended up living in Israel. My mother, Jacqueline May Greenberg – Silverman – Alon, was named after Jacob!