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Heirlooms: Memory and Cherished Objects


Jay Garfinkel brings the reader with him on a journey of encounters with thirty- three families who have lost a loved one in a terror attack. The heirloom they inherited is a physical reminder of lives cut off too soon, violently and unexpectedly. This unique book contains photographs of the personal belongings of individuals murdered in terror attacks in Israel. It allows the family members to preserve a part of their legacy in the form of a fine art photograph of their cherished object. The subtitle of the book Memory and Cherished Objects was selected, says Garfinkel, because “the person we have lost will not make any new memories, so we need to create a space for them in our life. Heirlooms create a space where memory happens”. While this book is about the Israeli experience, it should be read by anyone who knows someone who has experienced a sudden tragic loss; a spouse or parent we love dying suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving us with inconsolable grief. Though the 33 families are Israelis, Garfinkel makes its message universal by providing a road map for anyone, anywhere, to see how others faced bereavement with resilience and optimism. Book endorsements Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “The book is very powerful and touches the heart, and touching the heart about this issue is so very important…it is difficult to explain to those who have not experienced what profound grief as we have…I will keep this book in my office, and I believe word about this book needs to be spread so that it will be in every Israeli house.” Israel Ambassador (ret.) Tova Herzl “Beautifully photographed ‘things’, described in poignant words, opened my eyes to what triggers my memories about my own departed. Dr. Gavriel Strenger, consultant for Judaism and Spirituality, Stuttgart Lehrhaus Foundation “It reminded me, again, that our country is so full of grief that the liveliness of the people here is quite a miracle”.

Weight .59 kg
Dimensions 17 × 24 cm
  1. “Beautifully photographed ‘things’, described in poignant words, opened my eyes to what triggers my memories about my own departed. As ‘Heirlooms’ so eloquently describes, it need not be anything monumental. Instead, it is a piece of clothing, a certain watch, a particular hobby, which jolts me into remembering those I have loved.
    What moved me most is how the writer, Jay Garfinkel, generously drew on his own tragedy to share the loss of others. The vivid tapestry he created of victims and families, of objects and memories, is unique among memorial books”.

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