Within a Northern California congregation, a wimpel dating back nearly 100 years, was found. It had been taken from it's original congregational collection prior to the family's immigration from Germany. Many other member's wimpelin were destroyed with other ritual objects during the Holocaust. However, this and other examples survived. The owner family later rediscovered the meaning of the tradition. Through happenstance, an uncanny connection, one that spans two generations, resulted. (Photo to right)
On December 8, 1996, a Torah Dedication ceremony was held at a the family's congregation. As part of the ambiance of the occasion, the family displayed it's wimpel. Details provided during the presentation revealed that it was originally made in 1929, just outside of Heidelberg, Germany for Harry Spatz, father of Laura Spatz Weisberg. When the Spatz family left Germany and immigrated to Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1936, the wimpel was taken along. In 1946, Spatz, at the age of 17, brought it to America. Years later, the wimpel was passed on to his daughter Laura, who willingly shared it with the founder of the website wimpel.org. The information provided by Laura during the initial interview, was included on the website. Years later, it was instrumental to assist Laura’s Israeli family to locate her and ultimately support their familyreunification. (See the article “A New Branch Grows on an Old Family Tree” printed in The Voice: Your Source for Local and Global News, The Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region, Mar, 2014, pg. 11)
Leisel Grausz , a longtime member of Mosaic Law Congregation, proudly displayed the well-embellished wimpel belonging to her son and brother of Susan Kuttner, Peter Edelmuth. It was made, following Peter’s Brit Milah in 1946 in Washington Heights, New York, at the prompting of Leisel’s father, a then recent immigrant to America from Germany. This wimpel includes the beautifully lettered traditional blessing to “study Torah, marry under the Chuppah and do good deeds.” It is colorfully designed with a variety of symbols of the times, holidays and family interests. On the 2nd day of Pesach, 1949, it was presented to Congregation Ha Bonem, when Peter accompanied his father to shul for the first time. It remained there until they changed congregations some time later. (Photo to right)
Mark and Dianne Cohn, presented a very fine wimpel for their son, Nelson, on the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah. It was designed and created by his mother, Diane. Many loving hands shared in the effort to embroider the embellished letters of white floss on white fabric.
Monica Cheron and Scott Shapiro, who had become recently engaged to be married, created their wimpel as a symbol for their upcoming marriage. In the traditional prayer, the words, Ha Shem (quite profoundly and to the joy of the family members involved with this wimpel) set in the exact center of their wimpel fabric length. This central word placement portrays the beliefs of this special couple.
Steven and Yvette Fishbein and children first bound their family wimpel around the Torah scroll, in honor of their wedding anniversary and of their growing family. This family has since added the weddings, births and accomplishments of their four children, Leila, Jacob, Aaron and Maya, including the recent marriage of their eldest daughter, Leila to Ovadia Noam. (Photo to right) This wimpel was utilized during their wedding ceremony, but unfortunately was lost during the occasion. A second wimpel, later introduced to the site, was created for use during the occasion of Maya's Bat Mitzvah, and later during the wedding of Jacob to Jaclyn and Maya to Jordan.
It is with great pleasure, that we salute this tradition of symbolically binding ones essence to the Torah scroll in celebration of each simcha. If you have a wimpel tucked away in a remote corner of your family history, please share it with us so this tradition may continue to sprout out of the past, while it joyously blossoms into the future.