Is It Serendipity, Just Pure Chance? Or Is My Dad Listening?

2 Sep

My daughter lives in Israel and works at the Peres Center for Peace in Yaffo/Jaffa. I am so proud of her and all that she has accomplished. So when I learned at a committee meeting I serve on for my synagogue, Kehilath Israel, that they wanted more women speakers at services, I made an offer.

I told our Rabbi that my daughter would be flying in from Israel for Yom Kippur and for Succot, and perhaps she could speak about the Peres Center on the Saturday after Yom Kippur.

I figured I was doing everyone a favor: first after Yom Kippur everyone is exhausted. I thought the Rabbi could use a rest from speaking. Second, they wanted more women to make presentations, especially women members. Since my daughter grew up in the congregation, she would qualify on that account. Third and finally, my daughter would have a chance to tell the congregation about the Peres Center for Peace, providing some publicity for this non-profit and its work.

So it would be a little something for everyone, with positive outcomes for all.

The Rabbi agreed it would be a great idea. My daughter agreed, and said she would like to do it. Thus on the Saturday after Yom Kippur, my daughter will speak during Shabbat services at our synagogue.

I told my husband that he had to go to services with me that Saturday. We would get to hear our daughter speak, and perhaps ‘kvell’ a bit. But it is not to be, as he has to be out of town that weekend on business. I was disappointed, and a bit sad that he will miss it and will not get to hear her speak. I had been looking forward to sitting with him, among our friends, and sort of bask in the glow of hearing our daughter.

I told a friend about my daughter’s talk, and my husband’s travel. She understood my disappointment. She said her husband is out of town that weekend as well; so even though she belongs to a different congregation, she is going to come to services with me to hear my daughter speak. Okay I am not alone.

But today, I realized I was never really alone. That same Saturday will be the Shabbat that my Father’s name will be read to the congregation because his yahrzeit (anniversary of his death) is that week. I will stand and say Kaddish (prayer to honor the dead) for my Dad at services.

I say Kaddish for my parents, my grandparents, some cousins and my brother in law. It is the last act of kindness I can do for them. I remember them. Each time I rise to say Kaddish, I feel as though that person is with me for that moment of prayer. I commune with the in my mind. Their name is not forgotten. And so on this day I will remember my Dad and he will be with me.

My Dad was extremely active at his congregation, Temple Israel, in New Jersey. He served as president for eleven years. YES, 11 years. He went to services almost every week. It was his congregation, the Rabbi and the members, who emotionally supported him when my Mom was ill and then passed away.

It was members of the congregation that supported my siblings and I when our Dad died nine months after Mom.   They came to every night of Shiva. They brought food and gave us comfort. The Rabbi was there for us for too many funerals that year, even as he himself endured the loss of his wife.

My parents were so involved in their congregation. They shopped each Thursday at Costco to buy the food needed for the Shabbat Kiddush. They cooked; they volunteers; they served on the board; they went to services.

Mom was the daughter of European immigrants. The granddaughter, niece, cousin of many who perished in the Shoah, she also believed it was important to support the work of her shul (synagogue). My Dad believed in the importance of being a proud Jewish man, a husband, a father, a grandfather and a friend. He was so proud of all his grandchildren. He would be delighted to know she was making a presentation to the members of our synagogue. He would be so proud of her!

In my heart I want to believe that my parents know where my daughter lives and where she works. I believe they are watching over her. I do not think it is serendipity that my Dad’s yahrzeit is that day. I did not realize it when I made the offer. But it makes so much sense. It ties everything together for me.

When I rise to say the Kaddish, I believe he will have listened to his oldest granddaughter as she spoke to the congregation. I know that my Dad will be there with us, beaming in pride. Sometimes serendipity is more than just pure chance!

4 Responses to “Is It Serendipity, Just Pure Chance? Or Is My Dad Listening?”

  1. Amy September 3, 2015 at 9:11 am #

    You should be kvelling! Your story gave me the chills. I won’t be there, but I will try and remember you and your family on that shabbat.

  2. Saying Kaddish December 27, 2015 at 10:38 am #

    I have read your beautiful post after the holidays so I hope the memories of that Yom Tov have sustained you. I recite Kaddish for my father on his Yahrzeit and each Yizkor day and I, too, believe our Dads hear us and protect us and our children.

    • zicharon December 27, 2015 at 11:20 am #

      Their love is always with us. Thank you.

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