“Yitgadal, v’itkadash, Sh’mei raba …”
I uttered the words of the Mourner's Kaddish — the traditional Jewish prayer recited in honor of the dead — for the first time in my life after…my father’s grave was covered with the earth. Even with the transliteration given to me by the rabbi, I found the prayer difficult to recite, in every sense of the word. Following the funeral, we sat shiva — the weeklong mourning period for first-degree relatives — at my parents’ house. We held a minyan, a quorum… >> Read More
“You go for the living, not the dead,” my mother always told me about condolence calls. So I always assumed that was the proper etiquette.
When my son’s allergist died suddenly, I wanted to…let his family and his co-workers know how much he meant to us. We witnessed his life and he witnessed ours, and that was something I felt needed to be acknowledged. Dr. Smith watched my 12-year-old son grow from a happy-go-lucky little boy to a pre-teen who answered “I hate school” whenever the subject came… >> Read More
As told to Sarah Seltzer
When many people hear the word hospice they think it is synonymous with “The End.” But hospice is so much more than that. In my family’s case, hospice care was a…gift — it helped my mother live an additional year and a half, and it gave my sister and me peace of mind. When she did die, we were able to mourn her without having any regrets about the decisions we made about her care. Our story began in 2011 when we started to notice… >> Read More
Anthony Bourdain, the famous celebrity chef and writer, died last week after a long struggle with mental illness. There was an outpouring of support by friends, peers, and those whose lives Bourdain…impacted. One particularly touching tribute was from Barney Greengrass, the iconic Jewish deli on the Upper West Side New York. Bourdain was a breakfast regular at the old-school eatery, so in his honor, an empty table — the same one Bourdain sat in a 2002 episode of his Food Network show, "A Cook's Tour" — was… >> Read More
Literary giant Philip Roth died Tuesday night. While the first words frequently used to describe him are “Jewish-American writer,” he would vehemently oppose that characterization.
I know that…because I got to personally ask him about it. I interviewed him as a reporter for my college newspaper 25 years ago. (Yes, I find that as unbelievable to type as you must find it to read). In the course of our almost hour-long interview, he ranged from snarky to petulant, but he was vehement… >> Read More