This past May, I had the privilege of traveling to Paris for a week with my family for a distant cousin’s Bar Mitzvah celebration. My great great uncle Yair Tarica and his wife Victoria started a family there in the early 1900s, around the same time my great grandfather Leachon left Rhodes, Greece for Seattle. Today, there are three generations of Tarica’s living in Paris, most of whom I had never previously met.
The Bar Mitzvah was a wonderful reason to visit Paris, and the fact that our friend’s Anne and Davey lent us their lovely apartment in the 5th arrondissement really sealed the deal. We spent a week devouring flakey pastries (we were the first to arrive at our neighborhood Patisserie each morning), hacking for treasures at flea markets, marveling at the works of Monet, Manet, Renoir, and other Impressionist masters, vintage shopping in the Marais, and strolling through cobblestone streets that smelled of butter and pungent cheese. One of the best things about being in Paris is how satisfying it can be to just spend hours in a wicker chair, drinking espresso, and watching the world go by.
The time with our cousins was truly something special. I learned so much about my family history, and saw how our Sephardic roots and traditions have taken shape in France and elsewhere around the world. And the cousins were so gracious during the course of our stay—showing us around the city, hosting beautiful lunches, and even getting Anna and I into David Lynch’s private nightclub, Silencio. By the time the Bar Mitzvah party rolled around at the end of our week together, we were closing down the Pavillon Dauphine, shoes off, champagne in hand, dancing and singing to The Doobie Brothers at the top of our lungs.
I am so grateful to say I have dear family across the globe, and hope that we stay connected for years to come.