Cemeteries bloom in the spring, but who visits?


Cemeteries are designed to be beautiful, peaceful places. Yet, how many of us return to visit a loved one’s grave? Some people are cemetery visitors, and some are not, a rabbi told me recently.

Today, as I began some revisions on my memoir about grief and faith, I thought a lot about Rose Hill Cemetery in Chicago where my brother is buried. It is a strikingly beautiful place with ponds and century-old trees. Geese and ducks flock there. I have been there a handful of times since 1986, the year my … Continue reading

Bereaved family teaches us power of community


At the funeral service, about 500 people sat shoulder to shoulder on the benches in the sanctuary. There were so many people that some stood on the sides. We watched, we hurt, and we somehow hoped to offer solace to the family sitting in the front row.

The worst had happened. A 13-year-old boy went skateboarding in his neighborhood after school. As he rode his board around a corner, the oncoming truck tried to stop but could not. The boy died later that day. On the day of their son’s … Continue reading

Learning to conquer March


The anniversary of Kevin’s death hung like a specter. I had to learn how to conquer March.

Those words end a chapter in my yet-to-be published memoir about journeying through grief after my brother’s death and moving closer to my Jewish faith.

Today is March 1, the 24th anniversary of my brother’s death. It is a day I dread because it is a reminder of a horrific day in my and my family’s life. I remember March 1, 1986, as if it were yesterday. I was asleep in my … Continue reading

Welcome to the Jewish Muse Blog


Shalom. Chances are, you came to this blog because you too are trying to figure out how faith can fit into your life.

Born Jewish, I was raised in a non-religious household. My faith meant little to me until strangers threw my religion in my face when my family moved from western New York State to rural Ohio. At the time, I was 9, and was one of only three Jews in the school system; the other two were my older brothers. Peers often interrogated me when they found out I … Continue reading