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, 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

The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 44

Days before my father's unveiling, my wife and I were taking our 4-year-old to see her first fireworks display on Yom HaAtzmaut at the Haas Promenade (Tayelet) in Jerusalem; she was skipping with excitement. Thankfully, she had napped that afternoon and could enjoy the late night entertainment. I was also impressed; the fireworks were bursting… Continue reading The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 44

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 ÷ 11 ≈ 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