Sunday, March 31, 2013

Cardboard Box Memories

He came bearing gifts of papers, pictures, and the poignant painted past.

The five of us sat around him while he unearthed each box and dismantled the treasures of six plus decades.

"This book belongs to you. The dedication says so."

"Who wants this picture that Aunt Anne painted three decades ago? My mother hung it in her living room."

"Ah, yes. Your bar mitzvah book. Save it for your children."

"What should I do with this prayer shawl (tallit) that my late father-in-law gave to me?"

It was the night before the Passover seder, and my former husband had arrived with four large cardboard boxes packed with tangible memories. He was moving out of his two-story house where he had been accumulating and protecting his family’s belongings. It was time to downsize and let go.

Our four children, their spouses, and their nine children had come together to celebrate another fabulous family seder. This night, the night before the cooking preparations would begin, was set aside to unravel the bubble wrappings of our past.

After two hours, each child had their own cardboard box filled with books from their childhood, pictures from their youth, a few choice letters and journals from high school and college.

My box was less full: One small book, The Ethics of the Fathers, that I had left behind after the divorce; a two-page story I had written about my son’s birth; and the tallit my late father had bought for his new son-in-law to wear under the wedding chuppah, a traditional gift.

We laughed. We reminisced. We jogged each other’s memories. We jostled over a few family jewels. (Another Aunt Molly pastel painting!) We transitioned yet again into a new Passover where memories could be shared and tossed and scattered from generation to generation. The truth of our tribal journey was inescapably bound up with our past, present, and future artifacts.

Just as we continue to look for that elusive "afikomen," we continue to look for ourselves in the history we create with every Passover seder. This year was not any different from last year.

We were a family making memories for a future keepsake. We never overlooked a memory that we couldn’t wrap up in a cardboard box of love.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Already Liberated

Liberating myself from the worries of my mind happens every Shabbat. I give myself permission to dream again. To be still again and to remember who I really am and who I really want to be. I may never reach the existential promised land, but I can always reach a modicum of joy and contentment.

As we anticipate the Passover seders next week, ask yourself this question or present it to your seder communities:

What would liberation look like if it was already here for you?

Please share your answers by emailing me with a poem, a comment, a story, or a vision.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Arriving at Your Destination

Is it possible to arrive at a destination and not know it? Is it possible to go beyond your intended destination and accept the beauty of the new geography?

You have arrived at your destination on the right . . . or is it on your left? Or doesn’t it matter?

What matters most is the feeling of accomplishment you receive from getting there and then being there and then savoring the next moment.

When you arrive at any destination, planned or unplanned, remember to give thanks and gratitude for journey’s sake.

Friday, March 8, 2013



Waiting for something wonderful is like waiting for the coffee to brew in the morning.
Or a baby to be born.
Or a trip to unfold.
Or a love to develop.

Waiting for something wonderful is like waiting for that God moment that catches you by surprise and envelops you completely.

Waiting is something I know how to do.

Anticipation is something I enjoy waiting for.