Daffodils Herald Arrival of Spring

By Yelena Gerovich

New American Acculturation Coordinator

As the gray days turn brighter and grow longer, the temperatures moderate and buds begin to form on the trees, the spring infuses us with a sense of renewal and excitement. The classic yellow trumpet of a daffodil is a welcome sign of spring. Daffodils also have a property you may not know about: galantamine, a chemical naturally occurring in daffodils which is capable of easing dementia symptoms for those in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Historians believe that Homer first wrote about the properties of galantamine around 850 B.C. His book “The Odyssey” includes a story of men transformed into pigs by the goddess Circe. Odysseus uses a substance from a flower to break the curse and restore their memory.

On April 19, the action “Żonkile” (Daffodils) will take place in Warsaw and in many cities in Poland. Volunteers will hand people on the streets daffodils made of paper – a symbol of memory of the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising 75 years ago. The shape and color of the daffodils represent the yellow stars that Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust.

In our days, daffodils represent our poignant hope for the future. They are resilient and return with a burst of color each spring, signifying hope, renewal and beauty. But just like they have the medicinal power to help people remember, we must also never forget the past. It is estimated that about 13,000 Jews died in the ghetto during the revolt 75 years ago. Continuing to learn about our Jewish history is one of the most precious gifts we can give ourselves and our children. It’s never too early or too late to learn about our shared history, culture, traditions and innovations.

The New American Acculturation Program offered a January 2018 update for our seniors about changes related to Medicare and Medicaid programs and a February educational program about American history. We invited our community to enjoy the Simon Bogomolnik Art Show at the Cheshire Public Library.

In the spring, we are planning a Remembrance Day for the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, Purim and Passover celebrations and a workshop about the 2018 changes in the tax code. We will also celebrate Israel’s birthday, and host more educational programs and lectures. For more information about the New American Acculturation Program, including sponsorships of specific programs, contact Yelena Gerovich at (203) 387-2424 x321, or email ygerovich@jewishnewhaven.org


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