Most American Jews have some sort of story or connection to Israel. Some are ardent Zionists and recognize how miraculous the return to our ancient homeland is. Others have traveled there once or twice, on their own personal pilgrimage.
On the global and national stage, it has been quite a week. The Trump administration released its long delayed Middle Eastern peace plan. The Senate, meanwhile, proceeded with its role in the impeachment proceedings.
This Sunday, we will mark the close of Rabbi Joshua Stampfer’s sheloshim with an evening of prayer, music and learning. I don’t know about you, but for me it seems like a year since he passed and also just like yesterday. Our experience of time is so elastic like that—and so are the emotions, thoughts and activities that have accompanied so many of us over these past 30 days.
Earlier this week, my email was hacked. So were the emails of several other local rabbis and numerous rabbis across the country. More accurately, my email was impersonated, with a new email that looked sufficiently like the Neveh Shalom address.
One of the blessings of our religious tradition is that it provides us a rich heritage of traditions to navigate loss. Oftentimes, I’ve encountered people who don’t have that sort of tradition or community and they are at a loss with their loss. They don’t have a clear pathway to help them mourn and celebrate or to allow them to move through the many stages of grief.
When Moshe Rabbeinu died, the Israelites mourned thirty days for Moses. (Deuteronomy 34:8). When Aaron died, our ancestors also mourned for thirty days (Numbers 20:29). These are the sources for our tradition’s custom of sheloshim. What is interesting is how these very public observances of sheloshim changed and became reserved for our closest of kin.