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Dad's Heritage Tour

Updated: Jan 17, 2023

Dad finally made it to the city where his grandfather, Jacob Gittelsohn (Grandpa Jay), grew up as one of six children before moving to California. Jacob's father was Yitzchak Mordechai Gittelsohn. Jacob's mother was Lena Shabashevitz. They lived in a house near their Shul built in 1909. Dad's Grandfather taught Hebrew School at this Shul at age 15:

Before going to the Shul Mom found the local Health Food Store (not Whole Foods) with sidewalk tables for me. We then took a scenic walk through Forsynth Park where there was a fountain and many artsy looking people. Many of the buildings, including Grandpa Jay's synagogue, are owned by Savannah College of Art and Design. Interesting conversation snippets Mom heard while walking: "His birthday is on March 18." (same day as Mom's birthday) "Stay in love with God."

Dad and Mom really liked looking at the buildings in the Savannah historic district including one of the oldest synagogues in the U.S. This is a Sephardic Synagogue. The congregation started in 1735 and the synagogue was built in 1878.

We also walked on the Riverfront. There were many good smells and things to look at including a Riverboat with one of the many variations on my name Georgia Queen. Penny, one of two dogs who live at our Savannah Airbnb, welcomed me home after our long walk in beautiful and historic Savannah.

Today is an inside rainy day while Dad engages in genealogy research at the Georgia Historical Society. Yesterday we spent time outside. Mom is a pisces so liked the photo of me, at one of the historic landmarks.

Mostly I like to be outside with the smells of nature. This poem by Yitzi Gittelsohn expresses how people like to experience both nature made and people made.

This stillness is too sweet to leave

The fresh air quenches the thirst of my breath

So much

After breathing in the thick cotton of a mask all day

All the masks we wear

Mingled with the scent of my lunch

And the staleness of recycled oxygen

The fresh air

Is so crisp and clean

It feels as if it is coming from the icy water underneath

Evaporating straight up

Into my naked nostrils

And I suck it in desperately

As if I were a man

Who found a well

After wandering the desert

Too long

And my heart drinks the sweetness of the stillness

Which tastes so clean and warm

After the dirty anxiety and the daily noise

Filled up its mouth

It is instantly refreshed

And holds the energy of the stillness in close

In its storage rooms, in its attic and basement

For later use

When the heart lies panting on the floor


In some claustrophobic office space

Or cacophonous party

Yes, this stillness is too sweet to leave

But I will leave it now, again

For I must eat, real food,

Not just the food of the soul

And I must eat it with my people

Who do overwhelm me

But who also love me

And I must listen to music, real music

Not just the silent music of the soul

And I must listen with my people

Who do chatter on

But who, in their chatter, say

I love you

I love you

Georgia said goodbye to her Airbnb friends Penny (big) and Charlie (little).

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