I hope you are enjoying our Independence Day Weekend!
I was grateful that we had a lovely morning minyan on Thursday, July 4th, and that we could be with Stephanie and Jack Gelman who were concluding the Shiva for Stephanie’s mom, Edith Spritzer, of blessed memory.
After the morning minyan service, and before breakfast…we shared the prophet Isaiah’s words of comfort: “Your sun shall set no more, your moon no more withdraw; for the Lord shall be a light to you forever, and your days of mourning shall be ended.” (Isaiah 60:20) Then, as is the Jewish custom on completing the week of Shiva, we all walked out of the Temple building and around the parking lot, before entering the Temple building once again for our shared breakfast.
The circular path that we took as we walked alongside Stephanie and Jack out of the Temple building is a symbolic way of signaling that the circle of life continues even as we grapple with our sense of loss.
Of course, mourning does not magically end. It lingers with us after the seven days of the Shiva. But, we are helped by being a part of a caring community that recognizes our pain and accepts us in good times and in times of sorrow.
And, when we lose a parent, we continue to recite the Mourner’s Kaddish, when we are part of a minyan, for a full 11 Jewish months. This ritual helps us to process our loss and it also keeps us connected to community in a very special way. There is no substitute for connection and for community.
As we continue to celebrate the July 4th weekend, we are mindful of the blessings of our country. We are able to live as Jews and observe our traditions and rituals thanks to the principles upon which the United States of America was founded. But, despite the 423 years of our independence, we still have work to do to fulfill the promise of those founding principles. Only through continued connection with one another, nationally and communally, can we continue to blossom and to improve.
Shabbat Shalom and a Happy Independence Day Weekend!
Rabbi Gilah Dror
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