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Do We Share Sad News and if so, how?


Recently someone very dear to us in our community passed away suddenly after a car accident. When I found out about the news via an email that arrived in my inbox, I struggled with whether or not to relay the news to my sons. As my sons were each very close to this man over the years, their hearing the news would no doubt upset them. My first instinct was to let them hear the news from someone else. Unfortunately, bad news travels fast. Two of my sons live in the New York area, two live here in Los Angeles, and one lives in Israel. And yet, and yet. I thought what if they find out in an abrupt manner from a stranger? Or what if they don’t find out until after the funeral? I knew that there would be several memorials held – one on the East Coast and another in Israel. A video hook-up was held here in … Continue reading


Tu B’Shevat – The Holiday of Trees


  Can we extend the growth obtained on Tu B’Shevat throughout the year? Today is the 15th day of the lunar month of Shevat, also known as Tu B’Shevat, because the Hebrew letters that denote the number 15, spell out the sound of “Tu.” Tu B’Shevat – the Jewish holiday that falls in January or February (depending upon the year) – inspires growth and renewal.  It is a holiday of the birthday of the trees. Unlike the regular Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashana, Tu B’shevat is the New Year or birthday for Trees. This year, Tu B’Shevat,  The 15 of Shevat corresponded to Wednesday, January 31, 2018 The Jewish or lunar calendar revolves around the size of the moon.  The arrival of the new moon means a new month. The new month usually symbolizes a chance of us to evolve – for renewal and personal growth. Rosh Hashana is a New Year for humans, and  falls in September or the first day … Continue reading


End of an Era Inspires Continuity


  My mother-in-law passed away recently, and now that my husband’s thirty days of mourning known as  shloshim have passed, we as a family notice the changes that have already taken place, along with new ones to come. All the things that have been and no longer are with us, indicate the “end of an era.” Certain traditions are no more. The Friday afternoon before Shabbos visits to her home for chicken soup are no more. You see, back in the days when she cooked that for the kids, we’d pile into Grandma’s home every week.  She’d also cut up the fresh fruit for the grownups while we gathered around her kitchen table. All this is no more.  The phone calls to Grandma every day to and from her house, and the visits as soon as the couples arrived from out-of-town are also over. Conversations with Grandma are over. The talk was about the kids and what everyone was doing, who was working and who was learning, the cute … Continue reading


Old Feelings and New Settings


At a  luncheon at our synagogue one Shabbos afternoon, after the cake and conversation turned a little stale, my friend suggested an experiment. We’d both stand along the  social hall wall and see who would get approached first by a fellow congregant. We stood there and waited. And waited. “You see?” she said, after we waited a good ten seconds. “We’re just a bunch of old ladies whom no one wants to talk to. We’re boring.” Of course we burst out laughing, admitting that even as middle-aged women we’re sometimes still stuck in high school, thinking that no one likes us, comparing ourselves to others who seem to be more popular. Come on, admit it. You do that too, don’t you? I am reminded of an old memory. I’m about ten years old, standing in a row of girls in the gym. The appointed team captain is choosing members for her team. I am not much of an athlete and … Continue reading


On Happiness, Loss, and Mixed Emotions


A lot has happened to our family and me the past month.  Many happy events and also some not-such-happy events. From birth, bris, haircutting ceremonies, engagements, marriage, and death – our family has experienced the vast life cycle in just one month. Many of my nieces and nephews had new babies, my grandson got his haircut at 3-years-old, and our son got married. And sadly, my mother-in-law, the matriarch of our family, the force, the backbone, the constant presence in ours and our children’s and grandkids’ lives, passed away at age 97 1/2.  I plan to write more about my dear mother-in-law in a future post, but suffice it to say that with her passing, we’ve felt the gamut of emotions from sadness and shock at her brief illness and sudden passing, to confusion and overwhelm at the timing a few days before our son’s wedding, and to gratitude and acceptance that she lived a long and fulfilling life. And these happy and sad events spurred many … Continue reading


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