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Jul 1 2014

Mayim Bialik: Mourning for the Murdered Israeli Teens & Praying For Peace

By at 11:43 am

Dove

I took a social media break after the heartbreaking news came out yesterday of the gruesome discovery of the bodies of the three teenagers kidnapped in Israel, who were missing since June 12.

I don’t have a lot to say. I don’t understand politics. I don’t understand what it must be like to lose a child simply because they were coming home from school and someone decided it was a courageous and admirable political act to kidnap, murder them, and leave them in an open field.

I looked at my sons as they went to bed last night and I thought of the mothers who spent their lives tucking their boys in, and making them lunch, and bandaging cut knees, and holding them when they had their feelings hurt. I thought of their dreams for their sons to marry and become fathers and tuck their own children in. Heartbreak. That must be what it feels like to lose your son like this: like having your heart broken.  Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 3 2012

When Faith Unravels

By at 3:42 pm
Mayim Bialik Faith Unravels

Mayim wrote the forward to this book on death and faith.

As I told you I would, I visited my grandparents’ graves for Kever Avot, “honoring our ancestors,” the morning of the Emmys. This service is held at my grandparents’ cemetery on the Sunday between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which this year landed on Emmy Sunday.

My fancy assistant Brandon drove me (since I can’t yet drive because of my accident) and in addition to being Brandon’s first Kever Avot experience, it was also his first trip to an Orthodox Jewish cemetery. The “refreshments” they served before the service did not disappoint, and Brandon really enjoyed what I think to be the finest kosher bakery cookie in existence: the lacy one dipped in chocolate with the whole hazelnuts in it. Delicious.

The service was led by a New York-accented Modern Orthodox-looking Rabbi in his late 50s or early 60s and he gave a really nice sermon about forgiveness between God and humans (easy) and human and humans (very very hard). I went to my grandparents’ graveside and had some really meaningful time there. It was a wonderful way to start the year, not to mention the crazy Emmy day.

The Jewish New Year is joyous and exciting. But as we head out of the Yizkor (Remembrance of the Dead service) of Yom Kippur and into the fall holidays of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret I can’t help but think of the significance of the Yizkor experience and how Judaism connects new beginnings to endings. Judaism rarely has us simply kicking up our heels just because; we always seem to incorporate into all holidays and celebrations the notion and acknowledgment that life is uncertain, the Temple is still in need of rebuilding and our world is still in need of repair.

I wrote the forward to a book just published called Faith Unravels and it feels like the time is now to discuss it. It was written by a friend of mine who I met at UCLA Hillel when he was a Rabbinic intern there. The book is a very personal and beautiful memoir that deals squarely with death and feelings about death from the perspective of a Rabbi who lost two people close to him and felt his faith, well…unravel. I’m including the website here and I strongly recommend this book for anyone curious about Jewish perspectives on death, rituals of grief and mourning, or how a devoted and thoughtful Rabbi handles doubt, grief, and life in the face of death. It is not depressing per se, but it is deep, emotional, and very moving (Spoiler alert: he gets his faith back).

I love celebrating the start of the Jewish New Year, but I also like to make this time of the year one of reflection and depth, and not just on Yom Kippur. This book helped me do that in a very powerful way. I hope you will check it out and I hope you will be as moved by it as I was.

About Mayim

Mayim Bialik is the grandchild of immigrants from Eastern Europe and the mother of two young boys. She is best known for her lead role in the 1990s NBC sitcom Blossom, as well as her current role as Amy Farrah Fowler on CBS' The Big Bang Theory.

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