Pronunciation: ˈzhän-rə, ˈzhäⁿ-; ˈzhäⁿr; ˈjän-rə
Function: noun
Etymology: French, from Middle French, kind, gender — more at gender
Date: 1770

1 : a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content
2 : kind, sort
3 : painting that depicts scenes or events from everyday life, usually realistically

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Blog, schmog!  So, now I’m a guest blogger?  What do I know about this blogging?

Well, here goes: I’m nothing if not adaptable.  Warsaw.  London. New York.  Israel.  I’ve made my way for 96 years.  Pretty successful in business.  Personal life?  A few relatives, friends, a lot of acquaintances.  I stayed busy.  After I lost Elisabeth, no one could compare, so there was never a wife, no children.  But at least I had Lily; I could be like a father to her.  And a grandfather to her kids.  Such a blessing that’s been in my life.

So, that night, when Lily came over to the house and told me, who could believe it?  I was stunned.  All of a sudden, after so many years, the di Salamone Seder plate shows up in front of her eyes at an auction?  Then–poof–just like that, it’s gone again?

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Linda told you that there would be guest contributors to this blog, and I’m honored to be the first. Let me introduce myself to you–Simon Rieger-as I did for the first time to Lily Kovner on that fateful afternoon at the Judaica auction when her family’s Seder plate showed up on the block.

Like everyone else at the auction, I was shocked by her outburst.  These auctions are sedate and refined.  Maybe not so fancy and formal as Sotheby’s or Christie’s–but low-key and dignified.  What shocked me most was how disgracefully everyone treated her, the people in the audience and the ones running the auction.  Sure, she interrupted the proceedings, but her charge was serious, at least serious enough for the Mosaica woman to withdraw the Seder plate and end the auction.  I couldn’t believe that no one talked to Lily or bothered to even ask about what she said; they just got up and left.  Totally shunned her on the way out. Without a glance her way.  Close to one hundred people.

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