Archive for June 30, 2016

Archive

Treasures from My Parents’ House

BH I’m learning a lot in the process of reassigning my deceased parents’ material legacy– in other words, figuring out what do with over fifty years of stuff in their house. Every time I’ve gone there since my mother passed away in February, I have accomplished very little towards this end. On one visit, I paged through yearbooks and read my camp letters addressed to “the Fun-lovin’ Fidels.” (I have new respect for my mother for reading them to the...

The Power of a Name

BH A few summers ago, while strolling around the neighborhood with our daughter, Mushkie, and a couple granddaughters, Leah’s daughter Mushka, and Sara’s daughter Moussia, we bumped into an old non-Jewish friend. As I introduced everyone, I joked about the lack of originality in our choice of names. “It’s the Rebbe’s wife’s name,” I continued, my tone turning serious. Thousands upon thousands of Chaya Mushkas have been named after a woman who had no biological children, a phenomenon that gives...

My Son the Rabbi

BH “Okay folks, it looks like we’re delayed here…” Zev and I rolled our eyes as the captain detailed the rainy conditions on the ground. It was a last minute decision for us to go from Pittsburgh to Ft. Lauderdale; our son Mendy had just received smicha, rabbinic ordination, and all the parents were invited to celebrate at Chabad of Boca Raton. When Mendy first told us the date, he understood that we had Shavuos and a new baby in California...

Did I Make the Right Decision?

BH I did something I said I wasn’t going to do anymore: I read an online essay by a woman who left the “ultra-Orthodox” fold. At first I skimmed it, enough to glean that the writer had been brought up being told what to think, and that the Internet led her to freedom, albeit at the cost of her marriage, her family and her community. I try to avoid these tell-alls, but they’re hard to resist. (It’s worth pondering why...

Some Things Are Not Okay

BH “Is it me or is it always either really hot or really cold here?” Zev asked as we walked through Montefiore Cemetery in Queens. There wasn’t a cloud in sight; it was May but it felt like August. The sun was intense, a force to be reckoned with. It was a fitting day for the funeral of Rivky Deren-Berman. Born with Bloom syndrome, pain and challenge were interwoven into Rivky’s life the entire twenty-nine years she was on the...