How to even describe a zoom shiva…It was led by a very personable young rabbi from IKAR, Robert and Bob’s congregation in L.A. There were cousins from both sides, old friends of R&B’s going back decades, our next-door neighbors from Fair Lawn (though one of them was in Nicaragua), and so on. I barely recognized people, they’ve aged so much! Avdi and I were together at his office. The rabbi led us in a short ma’ariv (evening) service and the mourner’s kaddish.
Many people spoke about their fond memories of my mother and Avdi’s grandmother, including Avdi. I held back, not knowing what to say. My experience was quite different from others’, probably my own fault. But it was fascinating to hear the perspectives of the others, and anecdotes I had never heard. It made me wish I hadn’t estranged myself from the whole family and lost that connection.
The main point is that friends and relatives who are unable to travel long distances to reunite and show respect, are able to come together in one virtual space to give support and comfort, and just talk. It’s casual and come as you are, so different from uncomfortable physical shivas we’ve experienced. The rabbi was kind, humble, and engaging, not like the arrogant snobs of the past. In a way it was more intimate, yet not awkward or oppressive as shivas can tend to be. The people who joined, wanted to be there and were part of a support network, not just a dutiful minyan (minimum required quorum).
Well, that’s my zoom shiva review! I felt somewhat like a stranger on the periphery, just due to my own past lack of good decision-making skills, having alienated my own self and others. There were probably people present who still thought I was that old evil self who couldn’t be trusted! I wouldn’t blame them.
Anyway, this was about my mother, whose life obviously impacted many people for good. Who knows, maybe some of her good traits have inadvertently rubbed off on me! I couldn’t say.
Here are some (of course) irises.