Note: this is the first of in series of those who take my link challenge. I was going to do a more light-hearted post for the first one, but I got news that my friend Rick Black’s father died on Sunday. So this one is for G6 and Rick Black.
Remembering a father when a grandchild is born
G6 writes eloquently about how she felt when she lost her father:
I remember vividly walking home from the hospital in utter desolation after his petirah, feeling like my world was so very dark, that I would never learn another thing ever again — how would I smile and laugh again?
How I wish somebody could have come up to me at that very moment and taken me by my shoulders, looked in to my eyes and said….. “SEVEN YEARS FROM THIS VERY DAY you will be sitting at your Shabbos table, surrounded by your entire family, which will include a new son in law, a new daughter in law and you will be cradling your brand new granddaughter in your arms on her very first Shabbos, as everyone at the table sings zemiros and learns in your father’s memory. Your granddaughter will be given her Jewish name on this very day seven years from now.
Please leave comments for her on her post. So beautiful how she savors her father’s memory and connects it to her current family joy.
*petirah = death
• • •
An interview of a son with his father
Rick Black interviewed his father over the past two years. An excerpt from those interviews is on the Jewish Writing Project blog, spoken in his father’s voice:
I was bar mitzvahed in a very small shul – the one on Lake Street. We didn’t make much of it. It was just a small bar mitzvah for our family. I davaned Saturday morning for the service, Shacharis and Musaf, and when they took the Torah out of the ark, I had to sing the “Shema” and my voice broke, and a kid from Hebrew school said, “You alright?”
Another piece of the interview, where Rick’s father befriends Max the Russian:
So, this fella’s name was Max Bregoff and I met him. He was a tough Russian. I introduced him to a lot of my friends who were members of the club and we made him a member of the club, too. We called him the mad Russian. He used to get very angry. He’d spit at them. He was a tough hombre but he found the American way and he was able to live a good life and enjoy himself. He spent a lot of time at the Jewish Center. Yes, he did find the American way and he became a friend.
Read Growing Up Jewish, an interview of David Black by his son Rick Black.
Rick, may you be comforted among the mourners of Israel; may we all know simchas (happy occasions) like the one G6 describes, of a happy, healthy family singing and enjoying together.
Additional Note: I spoke to a friend (not Jewish) here in Highland Park who asked questions about making a shiva call. Topic for another time, explaining a shiva call – do’s and don’ts, the halachot (laws) and the customs. If anyone has suggestions for explaining a shiva call, please feel free to comment. I told my friend that the mourner is supposed to do the talking; the mourner should take the lead in the topic of conversation.