Up until about three weeks ago, we had a Star of David prominently displayed on the front of our house by our front door. (A picture of it is in this post.) I’m Jewish, my husband is in the process of converting to Judaism – I’m proud of our Jewish home. But three weeks ago, something very disturbing happened and it was a reminder that I’m in a very different place from where I once was.
Well… we traded in our 2005 Winnebago Aspect after just 13 months. With engine troubles constantly plaguing us and not enough space for me, the hubby, and our huge dog, we decided we’d had enough. Last week we took possession of our brand new 2018 Forest River Salem 25RKS travel trailer with a rear kitchen. It’s 29 feet long from tongue to bumper, but the camper box itself is 25 feet long. I’m in love!
For the last couple of months, two ladies who are Jehovah’s Witnesses have been stopping by our house every third week or so. They are very aware of my status as a Jew because the posts by my front door make it clear where I land on matters of the spirit.
While I am firmly rooted in my “religion” (I put that word in quotes because Judaism is so much more to me than just a religious practice), I also believe in being kind.
These past six weeks have been a crash-course in learning about what the word “community” really means.
Two weeks ago, I put up this post about heading into the High Holidays still mourning the loss of my father, but in a very different place grief-wise than I was a year ago.
Two hours after I posted that, I found out that my younger brother was dead.
It’s common knowledge that as we get older, we become more aware of time. It seems to pass more quickly than in our youth, with the months and years marching past so fast that we feel dizzy.
When my father died, I initially counted his absence in days. It was important to do so because for the first 30 days, I wore a torn ribbon over my heart as an outward sign of my inward grief. Once those 30 days passed, I still counted in days, ensuring that I recited the Mourner’s Kaddish each evening before saying the Sh’ma. As time passed, I began marking the loss of him in weeks. Every Friday, I’d say to myself, “It’s been X weeks since Dad died.”
I wake up in the woods.
Well – for complete disclosure – I wake up in a motorhome parked in the woods. But still… I wake to the sound of chirping birds and absolutely nothing else.
Complete and total silence.
Friday night, I sat around a beautifully prepared Shabbos table with five other women. My dear friend Elizabeth had invited us all, and then spent massive amounts of time making sure everything was perfect. And it was. The food was fantastic – I’m still drooling over the hummus and mushrooms she served – and the company was… well… it’s almost hard for me to put into words how I felt, and still feel, about the women around that table. Continue reading “A very personal Shabbat Nachamu”