Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Are you there G-d? It's Me, Marla...

I have always been proud of being Jewish and I consider myself more spiritual than religious. I feel like my faith is a large part of who I am and something that is deep inside of me.

During the recent high holidays (a time for celebration and reflection) I found myself celebrating in far different ways than I have in the past.

For starters I was readmitted into our local (Catholic) hospital. I never gave a second thought when asked about my religious preferences. I told the admitting nurse that I was Jewish. G-d forbid if I was ever in a situation where it became medically necessary to acknowledge my religion I take comfort in knowing that my Rabbis are a phone call away and that the hospital has a staff of Jewish Chaplains.

Thirty minutes before high holiday services began at our temple Rabbi J called to tell me that he was thinking about me and that he knew that next year I would be in the synagogue with Mike and Sully. I hung up the phone and was so deeply touched that he took the time to call.

While fellow Jews around the world were enjoying the tastes of the holiday (apples dipped in honey and round challah) I was taking laps around the hospital floor with my IV in the hopes it would reawaken my bowels so I could finally graduate to a liquid diet. While Jews were making their pilgrimage to synagogue to hear the sounds of the Shofar I was listening to a CD that one of the Jewish Chaplains had lent me. "The Birthday of the World: A Traditional Rosh Hashanah Service" narrated by Leonard Nimoy and featuring a glorious choir. I laid in my hospital bed and meditated to the melodies coming from that CD. I was transported to that synagogue. Being lent that CD was a magnificent gift. The sheer beauty and familiarity of the melodies will forever stay with me. It was a very moving way to celebrate Rosh Hashanah.

In addition to the call from my Rabbi and my own private high holiday service I also had the pleasure of having my very own shofar blower come to my room specifically to share in the mitzvah of blowing shofar. The group from our local Chabad that came to the hospital did so because of their connection with G-d and I received this mitzvah because of my connection with G-d.

I was discharged and sent home several days before Yom Kippur. Once settled in I listened to a very sweet message from Rabbi S.

Thankfully I felt well enough to attend services for Yom Kippur. Sully sat with Mike and I. Hearing my name as it was shared on the Mi Sheberach list and reciting the prayer for healing along with the rest of the congregation was deeply profound. I held onto Mike's hand and looked into his loving eyes.

These are truly high holidays that I will remember.

We all have our own beliefs which is what makes us all so incredibly special and unique. I am simply grateful to continue to have so many blessings of life and love around me.

Ancora Imparo


Anonymous said...

How glorious it is to know that you were supported and uplifted by people of many different faiths, and by those of different persuasions within a faith, during our High Holidays. What a gift we give each other when we tune in to another's needs!!

I wish you could join us here in Tampa for our Succot celebration...a time when we acknowledge G-d's presence with us on our journey through a desert, and/or through life's challenges. These, indeed, are the days that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in them.

With love.

Marilyn, Fred and Betty

Aaron said...


As you no doubt aware, I try to see the humor as well as the humanity in most everything, so with that in mind, the picture of you taking laps around the hospital floor with your IV, spending a "Traditional Rosh Hashanah" with Mr. Spock, all so you could get your digestive system working in time for the day when we all spend 25 hours fasting...kind of strikes a cord.

That said, I was very touched by the efforts made on the part of Rabbi J and all those at the hospital. How great that after all of that you were able to attend services with Mike and Sully on Yom Kippur. Now more than ever, I know faith is helping to see you through.