Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Wires Crossed By Heaven's Hand?


“I have a gun and its cocked.” My sister and I regularly shouted that phrase when we passed our huge unlit living room. We were sure a bad something or other was lurking ready to attack. Our pretend gun would protect. We’re grown now. I’ve learned to believe in what I see. That is, until reminders of a power beyond appear.

This past Saturday, my friend Lynnda had a hankering for Shabbat services. The buzz in the neighborhood is that Adath is a good place to go. “Sure,” I said after trying to coax her into brunch at Parc on Rittenhouse Square or a long walk around the river. I’ve broken my 20- year habit of weekly services and haven’t gotten it back.

Sometimes you just do what a friend wants to do.

Adath was the synagogue of my youth. This is where I was confirmed (top right). 
Rabbi Berkowitz gave us speeches to memorize and deliver.  My sister was confirmed here too (top row, second from the end) 

The gallery of confirmation class photos line the walls to the social hall where I got a first kiss or two in the days of extravagant bar mitzvah dances.

This is the bimah of my growing up. 

The weird combination of colors and metal framed High Holiday memories, my white-gowned confirmation and my longer white-gowned wedding. As a kid this mass of metal wasn’t very attractive or spiritual, but on this Saturday it was a comforting blanket of memory.

 “We’re tearing it down in June,” said a congregant who I knew. “We’ve had a very successful capital campaign and this has been the same since the 50’s. ”

 “What will you do with all the materials?”

 “I guess throw it away.”

Lynnda and I joined in the Kiddush lunch. People couldn’t have been kinder. I said yes to the shot of whisky for my coffee too.
One more stop before we left: The wall that holds my mother’s name on the memorial board. She was beautiful and good, and loving, and she was my mother. My Mommy (never got to call her Mom), Rosalie, died suddenly from a disease that today could be cured. She was only 42. She missed half her life and most of mine.

It is the custom on the anniversary of a death to light the light net to the deceased’s name. My mother had died in January. I walked over to the memorial board that I hadn’t seen in years. There was her name. And next to it, in the month of April, her light was lit. (does not correlate to the Jewish calendar either)

How could this be? Was this my imagination-- from walking past a big dark empty room? Or were the wires crossed by Heaven's Hand?