When Ashley Ames saw the number tattooed on her grandmother's, Elizabeth (Betty) Deutsch, arm for the first time as a child, she tried to wash it off with water - but the number refused to come off her hand.
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As she grew older, she realized that her grandmother had survived the Holocaust and the number was tattooed on her arm in Auschwitz concentration camp.
Nowadays, when Ashley asks her grandmother how the fact that she grew up Jewish manifested itself in those years, she tells her: "I prayed out loud all the time. I was so proud to be Jewish."
When she arrived in the United States in 1950, Elizabeth finally felt that it was possible to live safely as a Jew. She established a "kosher Jewish home" and lived a Jewish life without interference.
In a conversation between them, Ashley tells her grandmother that she and many Jews of her generation feel a spiritual connection to Judaism but are less strict about observing commandments and living a religious lifestyle.
"Sometimes I drive on Shabbat, and there are times when I have to work on Shabbat - but I think that even though I don't observe the laws, Shabbat is tied to spending time with family for me," she says.
First published: 18:43, 04.29.23