16 April 2010

Omer 17: Reflection

Omer Day Seventeen

At the beginning I got up and drank coffee.

Within an hour, I was drinking more coffee and waiting outside the kids' school for the annual PS 321 Go Green! walk for environmental awareness.

I turned back to shul for a morning meeting on membership for the young and then headed out to Long Island to conduct a funeral and bury a woman in her sixties who died this week. The burial was in Montefiore Cemetery, in Elmont, Queens and the men at the graveside were very sensitive and respectful today--not that they are usually not but they seemed particularly kind. A young girl, experiencing her first funeral, cried greatly, clutching a teddy bear. Down in the remaining earth yet to be removed back to the ground for the ritual of mortality displacement, I saw a small lizard. I didn't know that lizards inhabited Queens but now I know. One of the gravediggers told me that they lay eggs in the ivy and when they go to clip the ivy, sometimes a whole bunch of lizards come scurrying out. Imagine that sight!

I drove home, grabbed my iPod, requested that it play all my Mekons songs, and headed to Sloane to visit a congregant, struggling with metastatic breast cancer. Sloane is a remarkable place--uncommonly humane. She couldn't be getting better care.

I sat in her room with her and her husband and we watched their wedding video and talked about love. And promise. And commitment. And generosity. And we cried some.

After, it was back to the train--the Shabbat clock was calling. I bought the Friday Haaretz for news from Israel. The issue between Holocaust Remembrance Day and Israel Independence Day is particularly rich.

My mind was lost in Israel. I was, temporarily, at peace.

I got off the train to the Mekons singing "Empire of the Senseless" (ranked very high up there for me) and I saw a young Jewish man asking a Lubavitcher *not* to put his hat on his head and *not* to try to make him put on tefillin. The young man was gentle but firm; the Hasid was persistent. And each moved on.

I'm upstairs at my desk, looking out on Grand Army Plaza, listening to cars go by.

And in that moment of reflection, now gone, I'm off to Shul.

Shabbat Shalom.

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