Thursday, July 24, 2008


In another couple of weeks I will be heading to my youngest nephew’s Bar Mitzvah. I am certainly looking forward to attending the event. Still, this is bitter-sweet. When my oldest nephew was Bar Mitzvah, both my parents were alive. My Mom had passed away by the time my middle nephew’s Bar Mitzvah rolled around but my Dad was still alive. Now, as the event closes in on my youngest nephew, neither of my parents are alive.

While I miss them all the time, it is at the joyous events like this that their presence is missed the most. They enjoyed these events and it meant a lot. It would only seem right to be able to look up and see them kvelling , see their smiling faces and being able to watch the schep nachas.

It is times like these that the stories come rushing to mind. For instance, when my middle nephew’s bar mitzvah rolled around, my sister, who lives in an Orthodox community, made arrangements for family and friends from out of town to stay by congregants nearby. Knowing that my dad (her’s too) had trouble with his legs and with walking, she made arrangements for him to stay by a family just down the street from the shul. My dad, a Reform Rabbi, indicated that he would prefer driving (a 15 minute trip by car from his house to the shul where my sister davens) but my sister told him it was important to her that he didn’t so my dad went along with it.

My family was staying with someone else but after service Friday evening I went with him to walk him to where he was staying. I followed him, assuming he knew where he was going. As we kept walking and didn’t see the house, he asked me to check the street sign and, you guessed it, we were on the wrong street, and we had walked pretty far.

Dad was done and unable to walk much further. He said to me, “I told your sister I should drive. I know who I am and what I am”. He then went to call a cab on his cell phone to take him to where he was staying.

As my dad is calling the cab company, I hear him say to the dispatcher, “I am a Reform Jew stranded in an Orthodox community”. He said it with such seriousness and not in a demeaning matter but more a matter of fact tone. I found the whole thing quite amusing.

Of course, the cab company got there and got my Dad to where he was staying and the rest of the events went fine. Those are the stories, the memories, that will certainly be treasured.

No comments: