My years guarding Jewish bodies and preparing them for burial, attending funerals and making shiva calls have taught me a lot about Jewish life.
When I prayed for a year for my mother — three times a day, in synagogue — I learned how to change my life.
It began with a phone call on a cold winter day in January 1998. The purpose of the call, from a neighboring Mormon bishop I’d never spoken with before, was unusual: He was requesting a minyan.
Traveling on a three-week East Coast road trip, Rob Kutner endeavors to find a minyan in seven different cities to pay tribute to his father.
After 11 months of saying Kaddish, Jay Michaelson is relieved to let the mourning practice go. It wasn’t healing — even if it did have some beautiful aspects.
Legendary Washington Post newsman Ben Bradlee was put to rest today. Among the traditional hymns, something stands out: the Jewish prayer for mourning.
With Father’s Day near, Larry Mayer offers a heartbreaking and searingly honest memoir. It starts with his late father’s deathbed request that they work together on his obituary.
Leah Vincent writes a letter to her father for Mother’s Day — and in the process, reclaims the Sh’ma as a woman’s prayer.
Last week I attended the funeral of a girl who was my age, 39. Jodi and I grew up together. We lived next door to each other as children, from when I moved into my house right before kindergarten until we left for college. For me she will always be that little girl that I played with for hours on her swing set, trying to break a Guinness Book World record for time spent on a swing. We were inspired by a “Brady Bunch” episode, and we played on the swings until it got dark and our parents called us in.
In late August, The Sisterhood launched a series examining the role of women in Jewish mourning traditions. Grieving for a loved one is fiercely personal; doing so as a woman, guided by Jewish laws and rituals, can be comforting or restricting, depending on one’s experience. We asked you, Sisterhood readers, to share your stories. Many people responded. Some women felt marginalized, even alienated, by their limited roles in the mourning process. Others felt invigorated and strengthened, and found deep comfort in community. What resulted was a portrait of Jewish female mourning. This series — comprised of essays from writers and submissions from readers — will appear on The Sisterhood blog this week. This is the fourth and final post in that series. —Abigail Jones