By Sapir Sluzker-amran

Uncle Sadiq is dead. Five years ago on Yom Kippur, when I lived with grandma and grandpa, I went with them to the synagogue for Iraqi Jews, which was a kind of small community center that underwent a transformation for the High Holidays—not really Reform Jews, but the sheet that separates the men from the women was thin and the chairs were all tightly close to each other.

After the prayer, we approached Uncle Sadiq to get his blessing. He was not really an uncle, but more like a family relative who always was helpful towards my grandmother. I’ve known him since childhood, Uncle Sadiq.

He was a great Torah scholar, but he had trouble relating to people. He was born at a time when people did not know how to handle those who had trouble.

First he blessed my aunties, wishing them husbands and children. He would recite all the prayers from memory, with his eyes closed, without missing a beat. Words for the sake of heaven, directed straight to God.

Then it was my turn to be blessed. He placed his hand over my head and said, “Sapir, daughter of Michal Magda, may you be blessed with a good wife, with a home, and with children,” and he continued his prayer as he normally would.

These days it is common to say “awesome” about almost anything, but that very moment was really awesome—to get this blessing in a synagogue. A few months ago, Uncle Sadiq returned his soul to his Creator. May his memory be for a blessing.

To those who slandered us and hurt us because of our our love, those with evil in their hearts, those who think that Judaism is just for them and stand on Yom Kippur as rabbis in their synagogues asking for forgiveness on the Day of Atonement, may you learn from your mistakes and atone towards us this year.