Jewish Ritual Smooths Salve on Long-Ago Loss

Ignorant of my faith, I could not turn to Judaism when my brother died 25 years ago. Ritual was not a part of my upbringing, and it lingered in the shadows through my 20s and most of my 30s. Only in the last decade have I started to follow the path that Judaism sets for mourners. Jewish ritual now smooths salve on the long-ago wound. Continue reading

Chanting Kaddish: Do the words or ritual provide the solace?


Saying the mourner’s Kaddish during my brother’s yahrzeit, which I will do tonight at temple, usually tears me up. It is not so much the words that stir me; rather, it is the ritual. The prayer asks us to praise God, honor him, extol him, glorify him, and finally to wish that God will bring peace on us and all of Israel. There are no direct words of comfort, no pearls of wisdom designed to help us heal from loss.

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