I climb to the top of the dirt pile, kick the blade of the shovel and drop the dry soil over the top of the casket. I feel as though I am covering my sister with a warm blanket, tucking her into bed one last time, as though this final act might atone for all the times I failed her.
What happens to your digital footprint when you die? Today, people's whole lives are documented, digitized and archived online. What is to ensure that people continue to remember and look for a person's memories years after they die?
When we encounter others who are in pain, we do not know what to do. We do not know how to comfort them. And so we say things to make a really awkward moment less awkward. When we do that, we're actually trying to comfort ourselves, which is understandable, but not helpful.
Last week, 15 narrow-minded men tried to outlaw women saying the Kaddish at the Western Wall. There was so much blowback that they rescinded their ban. I cannot imagine, I do not want to imagine, that we have returned to a time where being a woman is both demeaning and dangerous.
As I ponder Shiva (a Hindu deity) in my unconventional shiva (Jewish mourning), I feel no worries over the mixing of traditions. I have chosen to creatively align with the positives of being my father's daughter.
I have officiated at many funerals, supporting families in their grief; I have experienced loss, I have been to untimely funerals and lived through national and international tragedies. Yet, it took this unspeakable massacre to really teach me.
This is the price we pay for loving others: the pain of the loss of their presence from our lives and the loss of their love, which they displayed in so many different ways throughout our mutually lived lives.
Lamentations, one of the five scrolls in the Jewish Bible, is a response to the destruction of the first Temple. Written in a dense, terse, poetically rich and complex five chapters, it has been a challenging text since its appearance.
What happens to the significance and meaning of a tradition when affluence, technology and cultural change divorce it from its original meaning and place in our lives? For many modern-day Jews, old ways can feel stale.
I had the unusual experience of being asked to officiate at two funerals. While never exactly enjoyable, I find that they are reflection opportunities bar none. Nothing is quite as sobering as witnessing that final brief journey from surface to deep six.
The integrity of our temples is guaranteed not by their walls, the armies that guard them, or the rituals performed within, but by the way in which we treat both those who worship in them and those who don't.