Sacred Messenger at a Gravesite

It was the first snow, three years ago. Standing at the grave saying the Mourner’s Kaddish, I looked around. Few of those gathered spoke the ancient words with me. It was one of those rabbinic moments that made me sad. Would this family have a next generation that could say Kaddish? Would these nice people have a next generation that was Jewish? These are the things that rabbis — we who have chosen service to the Jewish people and the teaching of Judaism — wonder, at times questioning the efficacy of our work. Continue reading

Establish the work of our hands!

She was a weaver. Coming to it late in life, her footsteps were no longer steady, but her fingers delicately managed the small loom in her living room, balls of yarn beckoning from the nearby basket. One of her last days, I came to see her. Her daughters handed me a small, soft package, wrapped in tissue — a narrow jewel-toned scarf unrolled, marked by a label with the weaver’s name. Continue reading