Our Obsession With Zombies – A Pre-Halloween Reflection

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According to the National Retail Federation, zombie costumes are the fourth most popular costume for adults this Halloween. This reflects America’s obsession with zombies who appear in numerous films, television shows and books. Zombie races, walks and other events are popping up all over the country. While Halloween and zombies are by no means Jewish, we can learn a lot about ourselves by looking closely at our infatuation with zombies.

Zombies, fictitious horrifying creatures, are dead humans that have come back to life. While their resurrection enables them to walk among us, wreaking havoc wherever they go, zombies are not seen as living creatures. They are creatures who are not living or dead. They seem to have one purpose: to kill the living and thus, infect them with whatever unknown infection it is that makes zombies come into existence. It is this infection that makes zombies so intriguing.

Keeping in mind that zombies are not real (we hope!), it is important to understand that the infection that creates a zombie does not appear to harm the physical body of a human being. The deformities that plague zombies are the result of the decomposition of the body as a result of death and/or injuries that the zombie suffered as a result of attacking the living. The infection does, however, appear to completely eat away the spiritual side of a human being, destroying the soul and thus, the morality, free will and conscience of a person. These are essential attributes that make us the unique, amazing creatures that seek to build lives and communities and establish relationships with others. Having lost these vital attributes, zombies are creatures that are missing the spark of humanity. They are soulless beings that have been hijacked by an infection that uses zombies to propagate and, thus, obliterate all that is spiritual, moral, virtuous and meaningful.

Given this, why are we obsessed with zombies?

They represent the destruction of everything we hold dear. Even if we are not religious people, we value and appreciate our ability to live safely in a morally just society that is governed by rules and laws that keep peace and harmony. As we watch terrorists and other extremists destroy, kill and maim, we know that we live in a world where zombies are not as fictitious as we might want to believe. These real life monsters make us feel helpless, hopeless and scared. And this is where the fake zombies that we will see tomorrow night come in. They scare us – but in a controlled way. The horrors that we will witness at a Halloween party or while we take our kids trick-or-treating might startle us, but just for a moment or two. They’ll make our heart race, but we’ll quickly come to our senses and realize that it is all pretend – everything is okay.

Dr. Jeff Greenberg, a psychology professor at the University of Arizona, says that we need a little fear in our lives – but fear we can control – fear that comes and goes quickly. The zombies of Halloween provide the perfect dose of fear. We are psychologically satisfied, Dr. Greenberg says, when we are able to enter a scary situation, even if we know it is fake, and manage it. Halloween lets us do just this. There are real life monsters in this world. We know this all too well. Dr. Greenberg suggests that our obsession with zombies and all things Halloween helps us cope with the frightening aspects of reality. The costumes, haunted houses and horror movies that will be a part of many of our lives tomorrow night are, according to Dr. Greenberg, like a vaccination that injects just a little bit of fear into our lives – an amount that we can control, laugh about eventually and allow us to function in the real, scary world.

For those of us who celebrate Halloween tomorrow night, may we receive the perfect dose of fear and may we use this dose to stand up to the real scary stuff out there.

A Favor…

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I need to ask you for a favor.

As you know, Israel has been rocked by numerous terrorist attacks. I need my community to come together tonight to stand with Israel. I need Ramat Shalomniks of all ages to join us in the sanctuary as Kabbalat Shabbat begins at 7:30PM and together we read prayers and sing songs that link us to the Jewish State. I need the opportunity to be surrounded by others who understand and appreciate the importance of Israel and value the security and wellbeing of the Jewish State. Studies show us that at least 76% of us are emotionally attached to Israel (http://goo.gl/pLI5Ts). If you are part of this 76%, I am asking you to do everything you can to join us tonight. Your presence will be a great comfort to me and to so many others who are hurting right now as we wrestle with the violence in Israel. It’s times like these that we truly need community. I know everyone is busy. I know that after a long week, it’s hard to get yourself out of the house and to the synagogue. But, I am asking you, please, go out of your way tonight and join us. It will make a difference.

At tonight’s service, beautiful Israeli music will be incorporated into the regular Kabbalat Shabbat prayers. Readings will pay tribute to the victims of terror and capture the challenges that Israelis face on a regular basis. And our regular Friday night study session will be dedicated to exploring how American Jews can and must become activists for a safe and secure Israel. I need you there. Your fellow congregants need you there. This is a time for us to come together to support each other and show Israel that we care. It is also a time for us to step forward and do our part to bring about a true and lasting peace.

When you come this evening, I invite you to bring a prayer for peace that we will send to the Kotel (The Western Wall). Encourage your children to share their own prayers and drawings that we will also send to Jerusalem. In addition, if you would like to support the families of those recently killed by terrorists, please bring a donation for One Family, a wonderful organization that does so much for those who are left behind after a terrorist attack (http://goo.gl/HVDiSE).
Finally, while I certainly hope that you will join us tonight, I want to encourage all of you to join us on Sunday, November 8 at 6:00PM here at Ramat Shalom as we partner with AIPAC for an Update on the Middle East featuring the diplomatic correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, Herb Keinon. You can register for this event for free by visiting https://goo.gl/1Qpz0o.

Thank you in advance for joining us tonight and making it possible for us all to feel the support of our community as we stand with Israel.

What The Pro-Israel Community Can Learn From Black Lives Matter

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Do black lives matter or do all lives matter? This question was posed to the Democratic presidential candidates during Tuesday’s debate. While the answers that were given highlighted some of the challenging racial issues we face as a nation, it was not the answers that concerned me – it was the question. Created in 2013 in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the man accused of murdering Trayvon Martin, Black Lives Matter has quickly grown into a powerful activist movement that has led the charge against law enforcement after the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in New York City and Freddie Gray in Baltimore. In a relatively short period of time, Black Lives Matter has pushed its way onto the national stage and forced national leaders to talk about the safety, security and rights of black Americans.

While there are aspects of the Black Lives Matter movement that disturb me greatly, including their support of the anti-Israel BDS movement, this is not why I was concerned by the fact that Anderson Cooper chose to ask a question about Black Lives Matter on Tuesday night. I have to give Black Lives Matter credit for pushing America out of our comfort zone and making all of us, not just national Democratic leaders, talk about the racial divide we must overcome as a nation. I was concerned by Cooper’s question because as it was asked, Israel was reeling from another day of terrorist attacks in which three Israelis were killed and another 20 were wounded – part of an endless series of bloody attacks that continue to rock the Jewish State even today. I was concerned because on Tuesday evening most major news outlets, including CNN, had either ignored or shared misleading information about what was going on in Israel. I was concerned because Israel was only mentioned once in passing during a good debate that included comprehensive answers to questions regarding major global issues like Syria and Putin. I was concerned because, while I knew what was going on in Israel, it appeared that mainstream America was oblivious to the crisis. Of course black lives matter, but given the bloodshed in Israel, I wanted to hear one of the most prestigious news organizations in the world get our candidates talking about the fact that Israeli lives matter. I was concerned because it didn’t happen.

Many in the pro-Israel community shared my concern. While some tried to blame this on the Democratic candidates, others tried to blame Anderson Cooper and CNN. There are those who argued that Israel’s absence in Tuesday’s debate shouldn’t just be blamed on CNN, but on the media in general which has poorly reported on the terror crisis. A few experts argued that Israel was not discussed on Tuesday because there really is not much our next President will be able to do to resolve the tension between Israelis and Palestinians. In my opinion, Anderson Cooper’s question about Black Lives Matter helped me understand that there is only one group that is to blame for Israel being left out of Tuesday’s debate: the pro-Israel community.

Within the last few days there has, thankfully, not been a racial issue that has gotten the attention of national media, yet Black Lives Matter, a movement that isn’t even three years old, had the power to take center stage on Tuesday night. For those of us in the pro-Israel community, Zionism has been around a lot longer than three years. The State of Israel has been in jeopardy for decades. Our tradition encourages us to speak up for the underdog and our history teaches us how important it is to remember and learn from the horrors of our past. We can blame politicians and media outlets all we want for the way the crisis in Israel is portrayed – or we can come out of the shadows and stand up for Israel ourselves.

Again, there are aspects of Black Lives Matter that deeply trouble me, but we in the pro-Israel community have much to learn from them. They took an issue that has been festering for years and made it important. It is time that the pro-Israel community learns that Israel will not get the respect she needs and deserves simply by adding an Israeli flag to our Facebook profile picture. While financially supporting the Jewish State is essential, it is not enough to change the way Israel is portrayed in our country. We must be activists ourselves, gathering together to show strong support for Israel, being in constant contact with our local and national leaders about issues pertaining to the safety and security of Israel and powerfully speaking out against the media when they don’t report the truth about Israel. The Black Lives Matter movement wouldn’t matter if there weren’t strong, vocal, passionate people at its core who are willing to give it their all to make America wake up and appreciate that black lives do matter. It is time for the pro-Israel community to wake up and teach our country that Israeli lives matter too. Thank you to those who are already activists for Israel. I hope that more of you will join us as we do what we can to make the safety and security of Israel an issue for all Americans.

I know you join me in praying for a peaceful Shabbat in Israel.

And There Was Evening And There Was Morning, A First Day

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As we celebrated Simchat Torah earlier this week, we began the Torah all over again, reading the following words:

When God began to create heaven and earth, the earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water, God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, a first day.

So begins the story of Creation. For six days God created heaven and earth and on the seventh day, God rested. Within the Jewish world, this story permeates so many aspects of our lives. Most importantly, our weekly celebration of Shabbat, the seventh day, comes from this story. The fact that a baby boy is circumcised on the eighth day of his life also comes from this story. The seven days of Creation are seen as a complete cycle of life. Once a baby boy completes his first seven days, he is seen as whole and capable of reaching a higher level. Circumcision allows him to reach this higher level and officially enter the covenant of the Jewish people on his eighth day.

Because the seven days of Creation symbolize a complete cycle of life, the major Jewish holidays of Sukkot and Pesah last for a whole week. In addition, the menorah that stood in the ancient Temple and the menorahs on the walls in our sanctuary have seven branches. Furthermore, there are seven Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Judaism: Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, Rachel and Leah. There are many other examples of how the seven days of Creation are reflected in Judaism, all of which teach us how important the story of Creation has been and continues to be for the Jewish people.

For me, one of the most important lessons of this story doesn’t have anything to do with seven days. Rather it has to do with the first day of creation described in the verses I cited above. “There was evening and there was morning, a first day.” At the beginning of time, there was emptiness, water and darkness. Within this wet void, God created the very first thing: light. And with the creation of light the first day is complete. “There was evening and there was morning, a first day.” From this one line, the Jewish calendar was born. Jewish days begin with darkness. This is why we light candles as the sun sets tonight. Shabbat begins as the darkness of Friday night spreads across the sky.

This idea that a day begins with darkness transcends the Jewish calendar. It is an idea that we need to incorporate into all aspects of our lives. We all face challenges as we go about our days. While we might not realize it, as we face these challenges, we get a glimpse of the original darkness that the Torah says covered the face of the earth. The Talmud teaches us: “Such is the way of creation: first comes darkness, then light.” This does not just apply to the Creation story, but to anything we produce, generate or establish. First we start with darkness, nothing, emptiness, then with a little determination, we begin to think, problem solve and move forward. In doing so, we create, and sparks push away the darkness.

“First comes darkness, then light.” The first few lines of the Torah remind us that amazing things come out of darkness. You simply have to believe that the darkness is worth filling with your light. Once you do so, the darkness becomes a new day filled with potential and the upcoming sunset becomes a tomorrow that you can believe in.

A Shooting During Sukkot

We are in the midst of Sukkot, the holiday period that is referred to as Z’man Simchateinu, the Season of our Rejoicing. Given the horror that took place in Oregon yesterday, we have lost the desire to rejoice! But, on Sunday evening, we are scheduled to consecrate our third graders as they take their next step on their Jewish journey. On Sunday evening, we are also expected to celebrate Simchat Torah, the holiday that coincides with the end of Sukkot and marks both the end and the beginning of our annual Torah reading. On Simchat Torah, which means Joy of Torah, Judaism teaches us to fill the sanctuary with joyful music and dance with the Torah scrolls. The Jewish calendar does not have a pause button. Our third graders are looking forward to their Consecration celebration. Our Torah scrolls deserve our attention and appreciation. Given the overwhelming sadness that yesterday’s events fill us with, how do we continue embracing our Z’man Simchateinu/Season of our Rejoicing?

Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, The Alternate Routes, a band based out of Bridgeport, Connecticut, wrote Nothing More. You can listen to it here:

The song is a lesson we must remind ourselves of while working to teach it to all of the children in our lives. The darkness out there can easily overtake us. But, Nothing More pushes us to rise above this darkness and act in a way that embraces goodness and nothing more.

To be humble, to be kind.
It is the giving of the peace in your mind.
To a stranger, To a friend
To give in such a way that has no end.
We are Love
We are One
We are how we treat each other when the day is done.
We are Peace
We are War
We are how we treat each other and Nothing More
To be bold, to be brave.
It is the thinking that the heart can still be saved
And the darkness can come quick
The Dangers in the Anger and the hanging on to it.
We are Love
We are One
We are how we treat each other when the day is done.
We are Peace
We are War
We are how we treat each other and Nothing More
Tell me what it is that you see
A world that’s filled with endless possibilities?
Heroes don’t look like they used to, they look like you do.
We are Love
We are One
We are how we treat each other when the day is done.
We are Peace
We are War
We are how we treat each other and Nothing More

We owe it to our third graders, to our Torah scrolls, to the beautiful holiday of Sukkot, to each other and ourselves, to treat each other with love and kindness. This is not only how we will find the strength to overcome the sadness we feel right now, but it is also how we will do our part to instill within our children the belief expressed so perfectly by Anne Frank: “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” We can move forward by embracing this goodness, living it and passing it on.

I hope to see many of you tonight as we welcome Shabbat in our indoor Sukkah and celebrate our third graders and our Torah scrolls on Sunday evening.

Shabbat Shalom,

Activating The Immortality Of Those In The Still Room Called Remember

Activating The Immortality Of Those In That Still Room Called Remember

Yom Kippur 5776/2015 Sermon

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My grandparents – Louis and Florence Landesman. Their memories are a blessing

While I shared this sermon from the bimah last week – on Yom Kippur – I share it today in written form in honor and in memory of my grandmother, Florence Landesman z”l, who passed away earlier this year and would have turned 100 today. I mention below that Judaism is not a religion that celebrates the birthdays of those who have passed on. This being said, I am using today to return to that “still room” called Remember to remember a lady that had a tremendous impact on my life. Gram, I know you wanted to make it to your 100th birthday. Physically that did not happen. Spiritually it did. Your memory is a blessing.

“The time is ripe for looking back over the day, the week, the year, and trying to figure out where we have come from and where we are going to, for sifting through the things we have done and the things we have left undone for a clue to who we are and who, for better or worse, we are becoming.” These words were written by Presbyterian minister Frederick Buechner and are part of a longer essay he wrote entitled A Room Called Remember. On the surface, this essay reflects Pastor Buechner’s Christian theology. However, as I re-read his essay, I heard a deeper message, one that transcends the pastor’s theology and captures perfectly the essence of our Jewish Day of Atonement. Pastor Buechner reminds us how challenging it is to do what we are required to do today: to truly look back at our life. “We cling to the present out of wariness of the past,” he says. The past can be a scary place – it’s where we fell hard; it’s where we got those scars; it’s where we tuck away the shame; it’s where we lost; it’s why we have that hurt that we try to push away. But the pastor points out that we have a deep need to go back, “to enter,” what the he calls “that “still room”” – that place “within us all where the past lives on as a part of the present, where the dead are alive again (and) where we are most alive ourselves.” The pastor says that: “the name of (this still) room is Remember—the room where with patience, with (kindness), with quietness of heart, we remember consciously to remember the lives we have lived.”

On Yom Kippur, we are obligated to remember our past – not just the things we said and did in the days, weeks, months and years of our lives that led to this moment, but to remember the people who have been part of the journey that got us here; to remember our loved ones who have passed away; to remember the generations of Jews that we’ve never met but, nonetheless, deserve our attention today because they’re part of our story.

For some of us, we began to fulfill this obligation to remember earlier this week by visiting the cemetery and placing a stone at the graves of loved ones. For some of us, we began to remember by lighting Yizkor candles as the sun went down yesterday. Some of us will ritualize this obligation to remember at our Yizkor Service this afternoon – where we say to God “Yizkor – Remember our loved ones!” Later, we’ll continue to ritualize our obligation by taking part in the both the Avodah Service – that pays tribute to ancient Jewish leaders who laid the foundation for our faith – and the Martyrology Service – that honors the countless Jews who lost their lives because of their Judaism, including the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust.

Yom Kippur is not just about the living. It’s also about the dead. For if we are to truly know who we are and where we’re going, we must not only spend some time reflecting upon our actions and our relationships with the living, we must also reflect upon how those who are no longer with us transformed our lives. The dead deserve our attention today because they gave us so much.

For some of us, it can be very emotional to remember the great Jewish leaders of the past, the heroic martyrs and the innocent six million Jews who were killed in the Holocaust. With the exception of a few of us who lost loved ones in the Holocaust, however, the emotions we feel when remembering these souls do not come close to the grief we feel when we remember the loved ones we have lost during our lifetime. Many of us don’t want to enter that “still room” called Remember. It hurts too much, so we stay away. Yom Kippur, however, pleads with us: Go into that “still room” where those we have lost remain as if nothing has changed. If we let ourselves enter the “still room”, if we push through the overwhelming, all-consuming sense of loss that we feel, if we have the courage to step into that “still room” and look around, it will allow us not only to honor the dead, but it will allow us to bring new meaning into our lives.

Czeslaw Milosz, the Polish writer, said: “The living owe it to those who no longer can speak to tell their story for them.” We owe it those who dwell in that room called Remember to keep their story alive – to honor them and all that they brought into this world. What they gave to us, through their living, has made us who we are today. We owe it to ourselves to remember them, because by doing so, by remembering how they made us feel so alive, we remember who we are. We bring our life back into perspective. We bring the gifts that they gave us back to life. We learn from the dead how to feel their positive energy and in doing so, they help us transform our lives on this holy day.

Most certainly, when we return to that “still room”, there will be people who don’t capture our attention. Maybe they had no impact on our lives. Maybe we want to forget the impact that they had – because it brought nothing good into our lives. This is okay. Also, there will be loved ones who we remember, but only because they died. Not because they lived. We remember their death – not their life. This too is okay. But we’ll be drawn to those who truly made an impact on our lives and we’ll come face to face with the reality that in order to be meaningfully remembered, the deceased must have lived a life worthy of remembering. This is an important lesson for us today as we reflect upon our own lives.

Judaism is not a religion that encourages us to celebrate the birthdays of those who have passed on. We mark the yahrzeit – the anniversary of someone’s passing. We remember a person for the entirety of their life – which includes their birth, death and, what we refer to as the dash – the line on the marker that sits between the birth and death. It is this dash that defines a person. It is during the dash that we have the potential to leave a lasting impact. Today, yes, we’ll remember those whose dash was unremarkable, but we will also remember those whose dash transformed us. These are the hardest people to remember, because when we do, it reminds us of all that we have lost.

Today, we must appreciate that when it hurts, it’s because the person we remember gave us so much. It hurts because the giving appears to have stopped and we want more: more time, more laughter, more wisdom, more love, more of them. It hurts because when we allow ourselves to enter that “still room”, there they are – waiting – as if they are alive: your grandparents, your mother, your father, your brother, your sister, your husband, your wife, your soul mate, your child, your grandchild, your friend….It might take us some time to recognize them because we have fought so hard not to remember, not to hurt. But, when we enter that room and take a deep breath and look around, we can begin to see their faces, to hear their voices, to feel their touch. We begin to discover that those we have lost still have the power to make us feel – feel grief yes, but ride out the grief – and discover that they can make us feel so alive. And this is why we must go back to this “still room” today.

Move past the grief and discover that they can still have make us smile, make our heart flutter, fill us with warmth. We can hear them – not just their voices, but also their lessons, their laughter, their silly jokes. And we can still be inspired by them, their wisdom, their accomplishments, their courage and creativity. It’s all there in that “still room.” And as we sit in there, with them, in that “still room” called Remember, if we ride out the grief, for a fleeting moment, we experience immortality.

T.H. Huxley, an openly skeptical scientist, wrote that “No conceivable event, however extraordinary, is impossible; and therefore, if by the term miracles we mean only ‘extremely wonderful events,’ there can be no just grounds for denying the possibility of their occurrence.” If you feel it, it is real. And if your deceased loved one can make you feel as you sit in that “still room” called Remember – that room that connects the world of the living to the world of those who have passed on – the fact that you feel is, to me, proof that immortality is a wonderful aspect of our existence that is well within our realm of comprehension.

While I do believe in an afterlife and I do believe that the soul exists after death, the immortality that I am talking about today, the ability of a person’s essence to exist after death and connect with us, with mortals, requires that we engage with the deceased – that we go into that “still room” and remember. If we don’t go to them, they remain alone in that “still room”. It is by entering that “still room” – by remembering – that we endow those who have slipped away with immortality.

For the skeptics out there, the Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno agrees with you: there is, he says, “no logical proof that immortality exists.” But, he also says that: “you should spend your life (in a way that makes) you deserve to be immortal.” You should live your life as if you believe in immortality – as if you believe in the power to touch people so deeply that the feelings you evoke in them during your lifetime can transcend time and death. If you can do this – you will not only transform your life – but the life of so many other people you care about.

This is why, today, on the holiest of days, the day that requires us to examine where we have come from and where we are going, we are pushed to visit that “still room” called Remember. When we do, for just a sacred moment, we’ll move beyond logic and experience the immortality of people we miss terribly. And we’ll be pushed to reflect upon what it is that allowed these people to return to us at that sacred moment.

What is it about those who are gone who still have the power touch us so deeply today? What did they do with their lives that makes them so powerful? What is it that makes them immortal? If we can answer this, we can strive, in our own lives, to do what Unamuno urges us to do: live our lives so that we too can be immortal. If we can do this, we will transform the way we look at our lives.

Fortunately for us, we don’t have to look far to learn what makes a soul capable of inspiring us after it leaves this physical world. Our ancestors give us the answer. Centuries ago, like us today, they had to visit that “still room” and they wondered, what was it about the souls of those who have departed this physical world that empowers them to inspire us here? The Talmud gives us the answer.

You’ve often heard me talk at funerals about the Jewish belief in heaven and that there is a special section of heaven for the truly righteous souls. I like to describe this special section as a five star resort with amenities beyond compare. One of the amenities is immortality. There are many different opinions about what you have to do with your life to be able to enter this special section and enjoy the gift of immortality. A lot of Jewish scholars believe that the sages, wise teachers and scholars, the ones who study Torah all day and night, these are the ones who obtain immortality.

However there is a Talmudic tale that speaks of a Rabbi who meets the famous Elijah the Prophet, who lived and died long before this Rabbi lived. Clearly, Elijah the Prophet, having the ability to come to life after passing away, obtained immortality. This Rabbi meets Elijah in a crowded marketplace. He is overwhelmed at coming into the presence of such a prestigious soul and does his best to learn from Elijah. He wants to know how one guarantees their immortality. So, the Rabbi asks Elijah to take him around the crowded marketplace and show him who will experience the gift of immortality. Without hesitation, Elijah points to two men in the crowd. The Rabbi approaches the two of them and asks them: “What do you spend your days doing?” Are you students of Torah, disciples of Jewish law, young, yet wise sages? “No!” The two men reply: “We are jesters. We spend our days making the sad laugh and when we see two people arguing, we try to make peace between them.” (Ta’anit 22a).

From this Rabbi’s encounter with Elijah we learn such a powerful lesson: it is those who bring happiness, laughter, levity and peace into this world – it is those who use their lives to transform sadness into joy, conflict into harmony – it is those who use their days to make people feel better and behave better – these are the people who are given the gift of immortality.

We must take this Talmudic lesson to heart as we travel to the “still room” called Remember. As we enter and push through the grief and the fear, notice that it will be the jesters that come forward and embrace us: the people who brought laughter, who sought peace, who spent their days lifting us higher, making the world so much better, making us so happy, so content with life. These are the souls who have the tremendous potential to inspire us even though they are no longer physically part of our lives. These are the ones whose memories overwhelm us – the ones we push aside because it hurts so much to remember. But, when we find the strength to remember, we not only honor their lives, we activate their immortality, allowing them to continue bringing their gifts into our lives, discovering how these gifts not only renew us, but inspire us to live a life that really matters.

May we all have the courage to go to that “still room” called Remember. And may we return transformed.