Ida Kleinman was serious about her nut roll recipe. So serious, she made her husband stand nearby with a ruler as she rolled the dough, just to make sure everything was measured exactly right. The meticulousness paid off: Ida’s nut rolls were so beloved by her family that when she died, they inscribed that very recipe on her tombstone.
Visitors to Rehovot Cemetery can see Ida’s recipe on the grave she shares with her husband, Isaiah. The recipe might seem simple: It consists of applying a mixture of strawberry jam, ground pecans, and cinnamon sugar to dough, then rolling it up, baking it, and slicing into pieces. But, to hear her children tell it, Ida’s care made each batch special. “She had ‘golden hands,’” says her son, Yossi, who still makes the treat today.
Even for non-Hebrew speakers, the Kleinmans’ grave is easy to spot because it bears another unique engraving: a harmonica, in remembrance of Isaiah, who passed away in 2013. This symbol is yet one more poignant piece of the Kleinman family story. Isaiah was a passionate, skilled musician, who attributed his harmonica with giving him the strength to survive the Holocaust.
In addition to the personal importance of their parents’ memorial, the Kleinmans’ children have enjoyed sharing their story with the world. After visiting the grave, Yossi sometimes stands nearby to watch others experience it. One person might take note of the recipe and smile. Another might even take out a sheet of paper and copy it down.
“This is what we wanted it to be,” he says. “People walk by and smile a little.”