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, 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, 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, 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 skeptic’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 skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 39

The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 31

https://youtu.be/XjV08jdkK7I Does the traditional recitation of kaddish do honor to the non-believer? I don't see why not, but there are those for whom this is a sticking point. Writer and poet Aurora Levins Morales was uncomfortable with the notion of reciting the traditional kaddish for her atheist father; she instead wrote a personal version of… Continue reading The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 31

The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 30

Last week, I laminated a copy of my parents' wedding invitation, which I found in my Babushka's apartment (my mother's mother) after she passed away in late September. She was gathered unto her ancestors less than three months after my Papa (Blog #8). A day or so later, it happened that my aunt gave me my Dedushka's (my mother's father)… Continue reading The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 30