Pulling at threads
Rediscovering the forgotten rituals of Eastern European Jewish Women
Graduate student, researcher, teacher, Yiddishist, wandering Jew, Kohenet-in-training. From London, currently based in Paris, soon (keyneynore) to be New Yorker. For more information about me and this project click here.
If you'd like to support the project and help me do things like pay for a more memorable domain name, you can donate directly at paypal.me/feldmesterin
ABOUT THIS SITE
I created this site to share my translations of Yiddish texts relating to forgotten Ashkenazi practises and traditions - primarily, the rituals of feldmestn and kneytlakh-leygn, which I have been kind of morbidly drawn to since I first learned about them. In this tradition, practised for at least over a century, women would measure graves or cemeteries with thread which they would then use to make the wicks of special candles, calling upon the souls of ancestors to support the living in their prayers to God.
Often used to make candles for festivals, in particular Yom Kippur, this was also practised in times of need, including extreme illness, and the candles donated as a mitsvah before God to light the house of prayer and learning. As the world reels from the COVID-19 crisis, I thought this practise might once again become meaningful, in particular for those who have lost loved ones and have not yet been able to visit their graves due to lockdown.