I was just diagnosed with breast cancer. So, there’s that. In some ways, it’s hardly a surprise since my mother died from breast cancer and one of my sisters was diagnosed when she was 40. There are 5 women in 3 generations in my family, now including me, who have or have had breast cancer. The good news is I have every reason to believe that I will be a survivor. They caught the cancer early. The mass is small. It’s an excellent prognosis. I believe I will follow in my sister’s footsteps and have a long life ahead of me with my husband and children. Please, God, I continually pray.
New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep. So in the past I did not bother at all. This year, is different, I’m all in. But I’m relying on the do-over.
My favorite Hasidic teaching is a teaching about prayer couched in a homily on Noah’s Ark. God tells Noah to make a window in his ark. Teyva, the word for ark, means container. Teyva is also Hebrew for letter, or word, containers of meaning. Thus, the teaching on prayer is: make a window in the word. This means that our prayers should not be confined by the “box” of conventional liturgy. Rather, our words should be openings through which what is in us can flow out the window of the word, reverberating through our bodies and our imaginations as it expands into the universe, free in expression, free to rise up to the God on High, or sink deep into the God within us.
I feel a little anxiety. A little sadness. I’m excited, but also a little helpless. For the first time, my kids don’t want me to drive them to school. I expect this from my middle schooler, but my 9 year old? When did he stop needing me?
So many dead in racial violence in one short, chaotic week. Dear Lord. Dear Lord.
The story is told about a family gathered around the dinner table. There are many guests who have been invited for the evening. The father is very proud of his daughter and wants to give her a role in the festive meal, so he asks her, “Would you say the blessing before we eat?”
Jewish ritual is complicated. Take the most recent ritual we just celebrated, the seder. It has 14 steps, each of which is to be done in a certain order and in a certain way, and it’s easy to get confused. First, we wash our hands without a blessing, but later, we do wash with a blessing. We ask, “Wait, do I eat the maror with the charoset now, or later?” Even more simply, we might ask, “Which line of Dayeinu are we on now?”
“It’s not serious,” the doctor tells me. “In fact, it’s fairly common. One week on antibiotics will knock this right out of your system.”
“People from the United Church of Canada like to hug,” said my friend B.
A few years ago, I was invited to become part of an interfaith clergy group in Brooklyn. The group had historically comprised mainly Christians of various denominations, and it was trying to get rabbis and imams involved. The group remained mostly Christian, with one imam and me, and maybe one other Jewish clergy member. The first time I attended, I was the only non-Christian present.