Tag: Family


Grieving Loss Before a Death

I foolishly thought burying my almost 91-year old father would have been easier than what my siblings and I went through in saying goodbye to my mother who died prematurely at the age of 68, five years ago. After all, my mother was supposed to live long enough to see my still small children grow, become Bar/Bat Mitzvah, graduate and perhaps, get married. No, she died at an age which nowadays is considered young. Her loss was devastating. It took a lot of time and work to integrate her death into my......

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When It Comes to Holiday Greetings, Assume the Best

Back in 2009, Gap released one of my favorite holiday commercials. It featured a group of happy, sweater wearing, scarf-clad people dancing while chanting the following: Two, four, six, eight ’tis the time to liberate! Go Christmas! Go Chanukah! Go Kwanza! Go Solstice! Go classic tree! Go plastic tree! Go plant a tree! Go without a tree! You 86 the rules. You do what just feels right. Happy do whatever you wannukah and to all a cheery night! My then eight-year-old daughter loved the commercial as well and quickly memorized the lyrics.......

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Stolen Wisdom, Shattered Trust

I was raised by two teachers. My parents taught me to respect and trust authority; to question with appreciation and understanding for those before whom I stood. They also taught me to be wary and discerning of people who might hurt or take advantage of me. Sadly, recent news reports have revealed chilling stories of clergy allegedly using their positions of power to sexually abuse members of their flock. Even as my parents cautioned me about the danger that might lurk in any human being, they stressed that in order to progress......

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Why I Wrote a Thank-You Note to My Dead Grandmother

Late Saturday night, long after the trick-or-treaters had filled their buckets, after my loud neighbors finished what I can only assume was a full-blown EDM rave in the middle of the suburbs, and even after my two week-old daughter went down for her nighttime stretch, I wrote a thank you note to my dead grandmother. Not an email. Not a journal entry. Not even on my personal stationary, no matter how proud she would be to see “Rabbi” before her grandson’s name. I used the nicest thank you note I could find,......

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Why We Live Where We Live

It’s hard to keep track of friends and relatives when they move around so much. My address book (when I still used one made of paper) was full of crossed-out addresses and phone numbers and email contacts. Now it’s the same problem on the electronic version: three phone numbers for one person, all tagged “home.” I don’t know which is the old and which has replaced it, or even if any of them is current. For me the underlying question, however, isn’t “Where are they now?”, but “Why aren’t they where they......

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Who Are You, Underneath It All?

My grandmother, Florence Wolff Landesman, would have turned 100 on October 1. Unfortunately, she passed away this year, eight months shy of becoming a centenarian. As I sat down to read the news online that day, with my grandmother in my thoughts, various reports reminded me that October 1 marks the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One article I came across featured Robin Steinberger, a young mom whose breast cancer battle included having to tell her five-year-old daughter that she was “still her mommy, with or without hair.” As I read......

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Who Would You Wish to Spend One Last Day With?

If there were any person in your life, living or dead, with whom you could spend one last day, who would it be? And how would you spend that day? No, I’m not stealing this question from college applications. I’m feeling the pain of the mass murder at Umpqua Community College in Oregon and the killings of Eitam and Na’ama Henkin in Israel. The deep desire to hold close those I love is definitely part of my response. The preciousness of those we love shouldn’t be a function of their absence, or......

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Memory, Self-Love and Vulnerability: Our Week in Wisdom

On The Wisdom Daily this week (Sept. 21-25), we discussed the beauty of saying “I don’t know,” the difficulty we feel in forgiving ourselves, the vivid moments that your memory holds onto, the problem-solving perspectives that fuel innovation and more. Did you grow wiser this week? We hope The Wisdom Daily played a part.   The Courage to Be Vulnerable – Adam Lavitt Imagine a world where instead of saying, “I’m right and you’re wrong!” people say, “I don’t know.” Imagine a world where we have the courage to pursue dreams and......

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Are Memories the Heart of Wisdom?

A former New York costume designer once mentioned the concept of a “moment” to me. In theater costuming, a moment is some contrasting design element that catches the attention of the audience, so they focus on the lead actors, rather than on the supporting ones – think of a character in a red dress among a group dressed in pastels, another character in a shiny silver tuxedo among an ensemble dressed in muted gray. Why is this a moment? Because the attention of the audience pauses temporarily as they survey the scene,......

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It's a Season of Renewal. So Why Do I Feel Anxious?

This season is supposed to be one of renewal. The transition from summer to fall brings a cooler breeze, a change of color and the promise of brand new page in the books of our lives. We buy new clothes for our kids, who walk into their classrooms with the excitement of being a grade older, with the opportunity to begin with a clean slate. It sounds prospectively exciting, but I wonder why so many seem to feel so darn anxious about it…including my wife, my kids and me. The hope and......

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