The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 51

Eleven months of kaddish recitations ended (blog #45); then twelve months of being considered a mourner according to Jewish tradition (#48); and then came the Hebrew anniversary of Papa's death, after thirteen months (#50). Now: the end of 'The skeptic's kaddish for the atheist' (#51). 51 is a pentagonal number. I inherited an affinity for… Continue reading The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 51

The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 50

Papa's first yahrzeit fell out on the Shabbat before last. So... what did marking this date change for me? * * * Some things are inevitable. Even before learning anything meaningful or interesting about the orphan's kaddish, I knew that I would attend minyan every day to recite it for Papa. I also knew that this… Continue reading The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 50

The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 49

https://youtu.be/gxlj4Tk83xQ She was not yet three-and-a-half years-old when her grandfather died, but death was still beyond her imagination. On the other hand, she understood quite starkly, with dismayed frustration, that her father was abruptly leaving home again... "I have to go help Dedushka Shurik move far, far away," he explained too gently. "I'll come back… Continue reading The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 49

The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 48

I am no longer a "mourner" according to tradition, but am I no longer mourning? This is beyond me. Can one truly mourn forever, or does mourning inevitably decay into normalcy? Less than one Hebrew month remains until my father's first yahrzeit, thirteen months since his heart stopped for the second time at the hospital.… Continue reading The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 48

The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 47

Two weeks ago a middle-aged woman approached me at the back of the sanctuary, as I was readying to head home for havdalah.I've been thinking about you recently. You must be nearly done by now... I'm almost at the end of my eleven months.I recognized her immediately - the rabbi's daughter (blog #3). She had… Continue reading The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 47

The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 46

I continue attending minyan every day, despite having completed the traditional 11 months of orphan's kaddish. I continue standing alone at the back, feeling forever a faithless foreigner. Why do I - go? care? bother? ... always the same tired questions. Putting aside the old, stubborn basics, it is the kaddish that most draws me… Continue reading The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 46

The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 45

My grief is terribly indescribable and indescribably terrible. Writing about it twists my stomach into knots, clauses searing through my abdomen, as I tear into it with jagged words, gashing at sticky, fleshy gobs of disbelief that spill out in thick rivulets of revulsion. That's as far as I got with blog post #45 before… Continue reading The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 45