Friday, August 22, 2014

Not out of tears yet

So this was a week of a lot of tears.

Miki Young, a beloved woman in our community passed away. Her funeral was held at the synagogue and was filled to the rafter as a tribute to a loving woman who lived with God and helped others do so too. "She kicked my ass," a rabbi said, of how Miki helped him be honest to the core. Joie a thirty year old young mother, once my student, sat next to me at the funeral, hugged me and just balled. Her mother died this past year too. She said, "Miki came to the shiva, I hardly knew her but she knew how to talk to me about death in a way no one else could" Joie cried for Miki and for her mother. I cried too.

Today we sat in the same synagogue space for the funeral of Faye, the mother of our good friend. Faye's brother told us their parents came to America without an education, worked hard  to become a lawyer and a nurse. They lived simply. And the money they did earn was left in trust for their grandchildren to be connected to Yiddish culture and to be used to help cousins who were still in the Soviet Union.  Faye's  three children and her six grandchildren were there. D'or l' dor her daughter repeated.  From generation to generation. From 1900-2014 this was a story of values and family. My friend sitting near me in the shul, who lost her father this year cried too. She cried for her father and for Faye.

We all cried for the souls that hovered over the coffins and for the souls who hover over us.

This week we cried for Fergueson and Foley. For Eshdod and for Gaza. I cry for the teen who was punched in the face and called Kike at Temple University.

I admit I'm exhausted. I feel I'm in a world gone mad mad and madder. I cry for the death of the myth that civilization has evolved since 1060 or 1943. A human will cut your head off, punch you in the face, and blow you to bits without hesitation. The word civilization seems erroneous.

My colleague and friend Shelly and I led two webinars this week for educators on how to begin the year. "This year is different than all others" we said. We were going to offer a teaching on "Flipping Self Worth on its head." But that self absorption -all about me--seems the wrong note in our world that has flipped. The core teaching of our webinar...don't pretend you have the answers. This is a moment like none other. We begin the year humbly and bravely with conversation to uncover new truths and actions in this time of conflict and turmoil. This is a time when core assumptions are being challenged and so our teaching has to too.

And now before I start cleaning up for Shabbat, to say one more week Shabbat Shalom with emphasis on a Shalom that is so broken I'm reading on YNet news about the four-year old Daniel Turgerman who was killed by mortar fire in Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council.

When I light Shabbat candles I often say, "cause the world needs a little extra light. " Can I say that tonight when I have a suspicious thought that humanity is critically wounded. I'm drained and yet not out of tears..because I know there is more coming that will bring more tears.