Friday, July 29, 2011

An Electrical Transmission

Here lies our dear father, a humble and righteous, God-fearing man who busied himself by doing Holy Works. Itzchak Eizik, the son of Joseph, passed away on the sixth of Nissan and was buried the following day on the seventh of Nissan. Isaac Miller, Rabbi of Moodus, Conn. 1871-1939 (translated from the Hebrew)

I read this Hebrew-scripted epitaph of my paternal grandfather at the Ahavat Achim country cemetery in Colchester, Conn., on a summer sun-drenched day in July.

I leaned on the five-foot-tall tombstone with my body and placed my hand on its curved surface. I trespassed on the currents of electricity that reached my grandfather’s soul’s teachings. Tears of loss watered my face.

In a moment of transmission, I experienced his love for Judaism, his love for the Holy One, and his love for me, his only granddaughter who followed his European footprints to become the first female rabbi of the Miller/Mlowdowski lineage in America.

Twenty years ago I came to this family grave site with my now-late father and mother, my eldest daughter, and my first cousin. I remember how my father chanted the Mourner’s Kaddish for each of my four relatives buried here (my grandfather and my grandmother, my aunt and my uncle). I remember how we searched for several special rocks to place on top of the stone as a sign that we had been there to visit. (Even in a cemetery one need not be alone.)

This time I walked by myself from grave to grave and recited the Mourner’s Kaddish for all my lost ones. I searched again for the tiny pebbles that punctuated the cemetery’s lawn. I placed them on top of the four graves.

I busied myself with this Holy Work to elevate my connection to the grandfather I had never met.

I rested in his peace.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friendship Matters

Friendship matters.

I am blessed with friends from around the world

If only I could gather you in one room and take a group snapshot!

I would thank you virtually for your voices that supported me and your hands that held me during the high and low tides of my life.

I reminisce with you and the memories return like waterfalls streaming down my heart.

Friendship matters.

In gratitude for you, my friend!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Searching for Liberty

While standing at the tip of Manhattan Island’s Battery Place Park, I scanned the New York Harbor in search of the Statue of Liberty.

My parents and grandparents journeyed by sea from Eastern Europe with thousands of immigrants seeking safe haven in America in the early 1920s.

I was born and bred in America, a first-generation citizen of the New World. By gazing at the harbor and the boats at sea, the history of my family’s cross-continental voyage was revealed to me. They were part of the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

My Blackberry camera zoomed into Liberty Island struggling to catch a glimpse of the majesty of the golden lamp that metaphorically lightened the sorrow and the burden of many freedom seekers. The sparkling, rippled waters dominated the simple snapshot. In the distance, the diminutive sculpture surfaced, perhaps, as it had appeared for my parents and grandparents 89 years ago.

Give me your tired, your poor.
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
The wretched refuse of your teaming shore.
Send these the homeless tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

- Emma Lazarus, mounted on a plaque besides the Statue of Liberty

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sensing God

As I stood facing the lake in the early morning hours of the day, I recognized God’s pulsating energy permeating around me.

Comprehending God may be difficult, but grasping God’s sensors in the universe is only a breathtaking view away.