Jacob Moscovitch

After making a new life in the U.S. Imma raised three kids and led the household while working a part-time job. “Imma is my superhero, no cape necessary," Simone, my older sister, said. Here, Imma stands for a portrait on May 8, 2020 in her bedroom.

"Goodnight," Imma said to the photos of my Grandmother as she walked up the stairs to her bedroom. Imma, which is Hebrew for mom, was not ready to say goodbye to her mother who passed alone in Israel amid COVID-19. Due to the pandemic, Imma couldn't hold her mother as she died.

She lights the remembrance candle every day and she prays over the Shabbat candles every week as Grandma did. Both joy and grief have come in waves. My whole life, Imma has held me. Now, I hold Imma.

This project has been featured on NPR and awarded by College Photographer of the Year.

On the day Grandma passed, our Rabi allowed my family into the temple to recite prayers her and speak of her memory in a holy space. It was the first time we left the house since early March. Here, a print from that day rests on Imma’s bed on July 4, 2020.

Imma cries at midnight as she watches her mother’s gravestone ceremony taking place in Israel via a video call on May 17, 2020. "I cannot unsee her body falling into the grave," she said of the funeral. “I will never forget that sound.” In Israeli tradition, people are wrapped in gauze with no casket.

Red and blue hues spill onto Imma's bedroom door from her younger daughter's LED lights on May 10, 2020. In the Torah, an ancient Jewish text, marking one's door with lamb blood shuns the angel of death.

My parents said goodbye to Israel after they got married. On her one-way flight to Los Angeles, Imma carried a jumbled archive of family photos. Those photos are all she has of her mother. Here, Imma stands for a portrait after a shower on April 14, 2020.

"You guys are all I need to heal right now," Imma said of the family as we all belted Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" while driving to the coast. Here, Imma and my father laugh together while bracing cold wind on June 7, 2020 at the reopened beach.

"I didn't even say goodbye," Imma said. "The last thing I said to my mom was goodnight over the phone, but she couldn’t say anything back.” Imma did not speak of Grandma during Mother's Day on May 10, 2020.

Each morning, Imma used to call my Grandmother. Now, in the morning Imma trims her flowers and hums to herself while sipping her reheated coffee. "Don't photograph me in my robe," she teased on April 10, 2020.

After our daily power walk in the neighborhood, Imma displays a dying pepper tree branch she collected on May 14, 2020. We used to have a pepper tree at our old house — the house that my Grandma last visited. “You can’t keep up with me,” she jokes during our walks, but we both know she is right.

“I wish you could have said goodbye," Imma admitted while standing for a portrait on June 7, 2020. "I regret so much," she said. Imma will visit her mother’s gravesite when it is safe to travel.

Imma told me "I love you" six times on this day as we drove to the pool. Here, Imma floats on her back on May 26, 2020.

In Jewish tradition, family members light a memorial candle non-stop for one year after a death. Every Sunday, Imma makes a new bouquet to accompany the candle. Here, an array of old photographs are illuminated by the candlelight on May 8, 2020.

My whole life, Imma has held me. Now, I hold Imma.

Using Format