Hanukkah Letter From Jew on Death Row

Notes from Producer/Director, Rhonda Moskowitz

 

The following letter is written by Martin, one of the people in our film, a Jew who has been on Death Row for over 24 years. Martin’s mother, Myra, died unexpectedly in April, 2008. She visited her son, who was her only child, consistently over the decades with her sister, Rosol. Rosol has continued to visit Martin since her sister’s passing. This letter by Martin is written to his Aunt Rosol.

 

“Dear Tantellaski,                        Chanukkah Night

                                                   Feelin  (drawing of a sad face with tears)

Happy Chanukkah,

 

May this wacky letter find you all in great spirituality and healthfulness.

 

Really missin’ my mammalaski…

 

Thank you… for the unexpected $50.00 gelt,

And the book of cute holiday stamps.

 

Thank you…. for the love and wishes for Chanukkah.

 

Be forwarned, the other page enclosed was scribbled

during, shortly after my watching 2 Chanukkah specials on P.B.S. 

Please photocopy and give one to Rhonda for me. 
Maybe she’d want to include it in the documentary?

  

I’m outta here.

May the lord always be with, bless,

love and protect you always.

 

Love always,

Martin

 

 I have just been blessed to view two Chanukkah programs on P.B.S.

 

1) “A Chunukkah Celebration” hosted by the beautiful Fran Drescher.

2) “Lights Celebrate Hanukkah Live Concert 2008”

 

The following are some raw emotions during/after my viewing:

Being able to feel such sadness and heartache at one point during

Chanukkah –  or this is the first Chanukkah without my dear mother…

 and quite probably “my very last Chanukkah” due to my situation!

But to also feel such joy/pain, pride/regret, watching all of the beautiful

children and young adults singing the blessings – – 

I am overwhelmed by a wave of emotion,

my heart begins to swell, my throat tighten up,

and all of these damn cold tears stream down my cheeks

instantly I have been reduced to a blubbering mess.

Something so moving, so beautiful,

yet also so very painful and bittersweet

the absolute reality of my loneliness takes hold of me,

for the first time in 24 years I now feel its’ total being!

No one to share the miracle with —

No wife, No girlfriend, No children

No fellowship here in Death Row – i am all alone here amongst 300 + !

No candles to light, No menorah, No Dreidel to spin (the remants of my youth)

No latkes, g-d how i miss the latkes.

Please understand this is how i your brother in Judaism must endure

I am but an island of Judaism here,

self supporting, self reliant, steadfast in my beliefs, observances.

Lord I long for my own maccabean miracle,

surviving in my existence for over 24 years and counting, quite a feat,

(Insert:  Unable to read this line)

Instantly I have been reduced to a blubbering mess.

Something so moving, so beautiful,

Yet also oh so very painful and bittersweet

The absolute reality of my loneliness takes hold of me,

For the first time in 24 years I now feel its’ total being!

No one to share the miracle with –

No wife, No Girlfriend, No Children,

No fellowship here in Death Row – I am all alone here amongst 300 + !

No latkes, g-d how i miss the latkes.

Please understand this is how i your brother in Judaism must endure …

I am, but an island of Judaism here,

Self supporting, self reliant, steadfast in my beliefs, observances.

Lord I long for my own maccabean miracle,

Surviving in my existence for over 24 years and counting, quite a feat

g-d willing I might still have more survival aspects to mount.

 

                                                       Martin Edward Grossman #A089742

 

                                                           On Chanukkah Kislev  25.  5769.”

 

 

 

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4 Responses to “Hanukkah Letter From Jew on Death Row”

  1. Elena Says:

    What a powerful, moving letter, Rhonda. Thank you for sharing this!

  2. barry m Says:

    I knew martin as a teen and his mom was such a nice lady. Martin was such a nice kid that I dont understand how tis could have have happened. To his aunt please till martin that barry said hello

  3. “I Don’t Understand How This Could Have Happened” « Teshuvafilm’s Blog Says:

    […] Don’t Understand How This Could Have Happened” By returnfilm Received a comment this week from a gentleman about Martin, the Jew I’ve been filming on death row, that has cut like a knife through my heart.  […]

  4. patty p friend for 33 yrs Says:

    Martin what beautiful writing! I have to say can not believe or understand how this could happen. I remember the day we moved to Veteran Village your mom, u and your dad welcomed us to the neighborhood with open arms. You taught me to fish, always told my parents do not worry about patty i will always keep an eye on her to make sure no one messes with her. Martin, we both had dads with disabilities, they both died at young ages. Please tell my parents hello for me as i miss them terribly. May you rest in piece.

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