The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 43

Given my dazedness and state of shock last July, I had no preconceived assumptions nor expectations of my sudden, unanticipated status as a mourner. Then, abruptly, in the middle of Papa's funeral, I found myself stung sharply with tenderness towards the friends and family who had been closest to him. Papa lived a rather solitary life due… Continue reading The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 43

The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 42

Eleven months of kaddish recitations end for me on May 28 (Iyyar 23); I have been at the grind for ten months (10 รท 11 โ‰ˆ 91%). The grief is unabating. I remain shattered and scattered. Last summer, I couldn't bring myself to pour my endless despair out upon anyone. Having returned home to Jerusalem in July… Continue reading The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 42

The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 41

A mourner's notes: Some unsolicited wisdom for the kaddish blogger: There's no way to really preserve a person when they've gone and that's because whatever you write down it's not the truth, it's just a story. Stories are all we're ever left with in our head or on paper: clever narratives put together from selected… Continue reading The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 41

The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 40

In less than a month's time I return to New Jersey for the unveiling of my father's tombstone, 10 months after his death. I've been preparing myself. Gravesite visitations never used to draw me, but I feel compelled to stand before his grave to tell my Papa how much I love him; and embrace the part… Continue reading The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 40

The skepticโ€™s kaddish for the atheist, 39

My reading of Jewish texts on Jewish eschatology and death rituals has been fairly wide-ranging, and it continues to expand. (My copy of the just-published Kaddish.com will be in my hands this week!) Since my father's death last summer, I've filled my bookshelf with more books than I have had the time to finish, but I… Continue reading The skepticโ€™s kaddish for the atheist, 39

The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 38

My friend Dave from my beloved Shabbat early morning minyan stopped me recently. "I won't be in Israel for your father's yahrtzeit kiddush. I'm sorry." I blinked. My father's first yahrtzeit isn't until the end of July (four months away), and other than a passing mention (blog #7) in my writing, I haven't spoken much of it to… Continue reading The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 38

The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 37

Traditional Jewish prayer is fast-paced, and there's too much of it. Not only do I fail to derive meaning from reeling off prayer after prayer after prayer as quickly as possible in an effort to keep up, but doing so in fact detracts from my ability to find meaning in those prayers I do recite.… Continue reading The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 37

The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 36

https://youtu.be/_4vFrZwF3hs Several weeks ago, my four-year-old daughter decided to once again start coming to shul with me on Saturdays for mincha and ma'ariv services. Last autumn, this became impossible for her when daylight savings time ended, as the timing of her afternoon naps wouldn't allow it (blog #22). Now, as the days lengthen steadily, my child has already recommitted to… Continue reading The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 36