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
When Jane Eisner’s cousin died suddenly, leaving behind no immediate family — in particular no men — it was up to her and two other women to ensure he was properly, kindly and Jewishly buried.
For Gabrielle Birkner, the traditional prayer of ‘Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die’ is a painful reminder of her father and stepmother’s murder.
Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky met Thursday with Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, chairman of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, to express his shock at a letter sent by police warning that women would be arrested for reciting the Kaddish mourner’s prayer at the Western Wall.
Twelve years ago, Kevin Hines jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge, suffering from bipolor disorder and wishing to end his life.
Rahel Berkovits is an Israeli feminist, a teacher of Jewish texts, and a founder of Shira Hadasha, which bills itself as an “Orthodox Feminist Congregation in Jerusalem.” Her recent book, “A Daughter’s Recitation of Mourner’s Kaddish,” delves into classical sources, and argues that under Jewish law women are permitted to recite Mourner’s Kaddish. She spoke recently with The Sisterhood about women’s issues in the Modern Orthodox and the Haredi communities, and giving women agency when it comes to saying kaddish.
“Strange now to think of you, gone without corsets & eyes, while I walk on / the sunny pavement of Greenwich Village. / downtown Manhattan, clear winter noon, and I’ve been up all night, talking, / talking, reading the Kaddish aloud..”