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Finding a home. I have repeatedly said, I am not religious, I grew up on traditions set in our home by my mother and father. They created their customs based on their upbringing. As a young girl growing up on the Northwest side of Detroit, I believed I would marry someday and live just blocks from my parents and friends and raise my children in a similar manner, while adding some personal choices created by my husband. However, planning is often just a dream as life is not static, constantly evolving.
Since my first marriage in 1971 to my divorce in 1978, and my second and last marriage in 1984, my search for a home (not a house) has been important to me. I am very blessed that my husband Richard of thirty-four years (not counting tomorrow,) has remained by my side as I continued to look for that missing piece. Every time I went up to Michigan to visit with my parents and extended family and friends I thought that the only place I would ever capture this feeling of mispacha was up North.
Fast forward to the past two weeks, the Jewish High Holidays, and the Hebrew anniversary of my mother’s passing. What I have been searching for has been so close by that I am surprised I did not fall into if before. I found a home (not sure I can afford the mortgage) at Temple Israel in Akron. A special thank you to Rabbi Josh Brown who heard my plea for friends and family and put a plan in place. On Yom Kippur the holiest day of our year I met not one (Elaine), but one multiplied and became, many new friends. For the first time since 1971, I feel connected and I want to share the feeling of joy that fills my heart.
I need to also thank Candace Pollock, show host for “The Intentionality Gurus” https://www.spreaker.com/show/the-intentionality-gurus-with-candace-po. Candace has helped me find the GURU in me to explore what is important in my life and out my natural fears aside. It is not easy walking into a room filled with strangers, as the song goes, “One is the Loneliest Number.” However, not only did I walk in, but I reached out to Rabbi Brown asked for something I needed, a connection. It is the understanding of intentionality that provided me with the courage, strength, and perspective to ask. If we don’t ask we will not get!
I am not any different from many of you. Too often in life, we wait for the right time to move forward and many of us miss that time as we are too busy waiting for something that has no specific time or place. It takes stepping forward and asking, sharing, and being aware, and I am now walking through life with my eyes wide open and my heart prepared to allow connections.
I offer each of you to enjoy each day of life – allow yourself to be aware and feed your heart and soul as you find the place…
As Dorothy from the Wizard Oz says: “There is no place like home…”
Yom Kippur will never be the same for me, and although I am told it was a mitzvah (blessing) that my mother passed on Yom Kippur Eve, the holiday and the Day of Anointment take on a whole new meaning.
As a young girl, it was tradition to observe the High Holidays. From the time I was old enough to attend what they called “Junior Services,” I, just like my older brothers and our parents participated in the ritual of asking for forgiveness. It was this act and speaking it from the heart that would gain G-d’s attention and write our name in the Book of Life. For the many years I did not attend High Holiday services as an adult I practiced this ritual silently. I also followed a custom my parents believed in, and that is to ask for forgiveness if you do something that may be “sinful” in the eyes of G-d. (On Yom Kippur Eve 2016 I asked myself why was my mother’s life ending?)
I am not a religious person although when asked what religion I am I proudly say Jewish, and not because it is a better religion and according to the Old Testament the Jews (Hebrews) were the chosen people. It is because my upbringing and the family traditions still warm my heart and make me smile.
Last year the first year of my mother’s passing (her Yahrzeit) brought me back to Temple for the Holy Days. Although I could have stayed home and recited the mourner’s Kaddish (prayer), I chose to be in a setting that might embrace me. What I learned in the last 12 months, people need to know what you want they cannot read your mind. So, in planning for 5779, I sought out another Temple, and although on Rosh Hashanah I felt lonely, there was a warmth in the sanctuary that told me I had to speak up.
I immediately contacted Rabbi Brown, and within days I was connected with a member of the Temple that surprisingly has connections not to my home, family, and friends in Michigan, but to Minneapolis where I lived during my high school years. This has added a definite glow to my life in the past week and has opened my heart that has felt closed off for the last two years.
I had written numerous blogs about my mom (D’vasha) and the relationship I rekindled with her during her dying weeks (when she was unaware of her critical health.) The love and affection I felt for my mother while living with her for two and a half months was such a gift, and yet sadly she passed. I have been holding on to her, and I refuse to let go, I believe she is watching over me with my pops, and they are keeping me on G-d’s good side. Hopefully, I will be written up in the Book of Life.
As I stated above Yom Kippur will never be the same, in addition to asking for forgiveness. “Al Chet.” This is our form of confession. One of the sins we recite is: “For the sin which we have committed before You by false denial and lying.” Sadly, it is not just today that we hide our dishonesty with coverups that we deem acceptable. However, if we believe there is a G-d, there is nothing we can hide, and it is our obligation to ourselves and mankind to find peace and share it.
Tomorrow I will attend Yom Kippur services, and I will fast as is the tradition. I do this, so I may prove to myself that I am capable of making amends and finding peace. Now through the love, I found in my relationship with my mother, let me extend my hand in peace.
L’Shanah Tova – Happy New Year 5779
I had the pleasure of interviewing Cody Cooper today, a local comic going who is spreading his wings. He has given newclevelandradio.net permission to share his podcast: Gabbing with Grandma. We think you will enjoy the dialogue. Please listen and share: https://newclevelandradio.net/gabbing-with-grandma-cody-cooper-bill-squire/
Do not remember 9/11/01 only on the anniversary date of such a horrific event. Do not remember the terrorist as a race or religion. Do not remember if you choose not to turn our global society into a kinder one. Let us not just remember those that lost their innocent lives and others who put their lives in danger to save lives on one day each year. It is time to remember and honor what we have learned over the last 17 years!
If we have not learned that we are not born evil and grow-up to terrorize others, it is time we learn the truth today.
We are all conceived when a male sperm fertilizes a female egg. Although not all conceptions are mated through love, the result is the same. As stated above we are not born with evil in our DNA. However, we learn to hate and love from those that nurture us. Isn’t it time that we begin nurturing with love, kindness, and respect and bury the hate in the past? Hate has many other terms including despise, detest, loathe, revulsion, etc. However, what causes this intensity? Must we be the one that is right, perfect, and has the last word? The last word that produces such feelings is a death sentence!
Hate trickles down as does love, friendship, and respect for ourselves and others. Studies show that it is healthier to smile and be kind. We are all unique snowflakes, that means despite our culture likes there are differences, and it is the differences that make us a stronger global population. We can learn from each other and collaborate without the hate and destruction. Just as we teach our children, we are not entitled just because we want something. Not everything is meant to be possessed. However, if we begin to work together, fewer will have less, and those that have more will share.
I am not a Pollyanna. I believe in the natural goodness of each of us despite, gender, religion, race, and the environmental and cultural differences. To believe we must remember our past and ensure we do not repeat what hurts and destroys others. It is time to share our strengths and put out a hand to change.