MamaLA: Tradition, Tradition!


Growing up in a richly diverse home, we had a childhood full of rituals: cultural, spiritual, seasonal, and even some specific to life in Los Angeles. With our own children, we consciously weave a sense of personal history into their lives.

Traditions certainly do not need to be based on religion, but with Easter and Passover upon us, we have been thinking about how to represent the memory of loved ones who have passed.

This will be our first Easter without Soraya’s mother-in-law, Anke, or Oma, as she was lovingly known, so we asked Soraya’s kids what we could do to carry on Oma’s traditions and bring her warmth to our Sunday. Siena suggested dyeing Easter eggs in Oma’s favorite colors, red and lavender. Turns out onion skins can do both! Lila is sure the Easter Bunny will hide Oma’s favorite treats, German ladybug chocolates carried, thanks goodness, at local European specialty markets, and Hayden is looking forward to Oma’s famous Easter Roast; while the kids peel carrots and potatoes, we will share stories of her wonderful life.

Our lovely friend Kelly McKee Zajfen and her husband Julian are doing something similar this Passover. The couple recently welcomed beautiful twins, George and Lily, who were named according to Jewish tradition after loved ones who have passed, Julian’s Grandpa George, who escaped Poland by train, and Julian’s Great Aunt Lily, who died at just 17 in a camp during the Holocaust. Kelly and Julian hosted their first Passover dinner since the twins’ birth this week, and they used the time meant to relive and experience their ancestors’ freedom to honor Julian’s deceased grandmother, as well. Kelly worked side by side with Julian’s mom, Susan, to recreate Bubbe’s brisket and matzo ball soup for family and friends.

We are always inspired by the many varied cultural and family celebrations and encourage you to consider sharing them with us by commenting below.

Focused on the basics first? Here are a few local resources to know:

For your brisket or roast:
Lindy & Grundy

For natural Easter egg dyeing:
The Kitchn

For German chocolates:
Schreiner’s Fine Sausages

Shoop’s Deli (West Hollywood and Santa Monica)



With five children and two stepchildren ranging in age from four months to sixteen years between them, sisters Yasmine Delawari Johnson and Soraya Delawari Dancsecs are experts at parenting in L.A. They take a break from PTA board meetings, cooking, and producing films to blog at CityThink each Thursday.