I negotiated a transfer to Cleveland in the fall of 1982. I had been a manager for Prudential in the Youngstown area and I wanted Phillip to have the opportunity to go to good Jewish schools. We moved to University Heights.
We moved into our house in November and the first thing I noticed was the absence of Christmas decorations. Many of the houses, including our next door neighbors’, didn’t have any lights, reindeer, or even a Santa. This was all new to me. We had been the only Jewish family in the neighborhood most my life.
Cedar Center was a couple of blocks from our new home. I had been coming up to Cedar Center since our family lived in Canton in the late 60’s to get our Kosher meat at Irving’s. My father’s favorite bagels came from Davis Bakery next door and Corky and Lenny’s was across the street. It was late November and I was walking through Cedar Center when I passed the Yellow Front store. There, in the front window, was a huge Hanukkah display. There were toys, Menorahs, and all kinds of decorations. I had never seen anything like it.
I went into the store and was amazed by the selection. And though Phillip was only three, I purchased a huge Hanukkah coloring book for him. I looked around and realized that this was a normal discount store, not a Jewish specific store, and that it had all of the usual small appliances and stuff. I even found the aisle, in the back of the store that had Christmas decorations and toys. I couldn’t leave the store until I had revisited the Hanukkah area. It just made me feel so good, so much at home.
We were walking in Beachwood Place a couple of days ago. I saw a woman smile and heard her gasp as she passed us on the second floor. I turned to see what had caught her eye. The picture above is a kiosk in the center of the mall. I don’t know that she needed a pair of sunglasses. I think she simply saw the sign, “Ramadan Sale”, and suddenly felt that she was finally at home.