Wednesday, June 11, 2014


I landed in Israel, and as Shabbat ended I learned that another sparkly, beautiful, too-short life had been ended by cancer.

I was filled with white-hot anger, with a terrible sad rage that I contained beneath dry eyes.

I love Israel. 
I love the Old City of Jerusalem.
I love the ancient stones and the way the sun turns them golden.

I do not feel any closer to God in Israel than I do anywhere else in the world.
I do not feel that my prayers at the Kotel, the Western Wall, are any more holy or heard any more loudly. I just don't feel that way.

In fact, I don't feel much at all when I go to the Kotel.
I marvel at the age of the wall, the way that the hands of the generations before me have smoothed them with their fingers. But I don't feel God there any more than I feel God elsewhere.

Random brick wall in Highland Park...
I contained my anger and sadness as I moved through most of the next day, conducting errands and ordering (lots of) coffee in my rusty Hebrew. And then I made my way through Jerusalem to the Old City. Almost on their own, my feet made their way to the Kotel. Like a woman on a bit of a mission, I headed straight for the Wall. 

And I gave God a piece of my mind.
The piece I've been aching to give for quite a while now. 

Very quietly, though, since I don't think that the worshippers at the Wall on that Sunday afternoon would have appreciated my searing fury. 

This was no dialogue. This was a monologue in which I screamed and swore and threatened and cried.

I do not have perfect faith.
I do not know how to talk to God right now. 
I most certainly have lost my politeness.
I don't know how to invite God back into the conversation. I am not ready.

I could have answered, "Me too."

I do hard things.
I walk forward in the world.
I am, for so many intents and purposes, not broken.
You would not know, to look at me, that I am unmoored from my relationship with God.

I move through each day, as I've done before.
That same afternoon, Michael texted me: "How's your heart feeling?"


No words can adequately explain the way my heart continues to hurt when I realize that school ends tomorrow and this year, this year that Sammy was a 2nd grader, is coming to an end without him...that the summer begins without him...that the next year will start without him...

My heart is shattered into so many pieces that I can't even begin to collect them all. 

And it's been 180 days.
Feather on the ground right outside the David Citadel Hotel, where we stayed with Sammy
Overlooking the Old City...


  1. Hearing you, feeling you, nodding, crying.


  2. <3 yes yes yes. I feel exactly the same way. About all of it. Thank you for articulating it.

  3. I know God can take it. Scream all you want, walk away and continue taking your time to figure out what it looks like to start talking to God again.

    And that question Michael texted you; wow. I would imagine the answer to that changes minute by minute. One foot in front of the other...

  4. You are so courageous to admit that your faith is not perfect. I don't believe there is such a thing as perfect faith. And I truly believe that God accepts whatever depth of faith we can achieve at a given time.

  5. Anger, even hate, is good enough to take faith seriously. Unmoored, but not from us, I hope, who treasure our links to Sammy. 180, 181, we're staying with you. Thank you keeping us in the circle.

  6. Not enough umph in a message reply post to convey even a trace of the immense love we want you to know is with you. And we know it will never be good enough, or a fix it. But there it is

  7. Remembering the weight of this date and carrying you with me today. I often feel like shouting along with you. Wish I could ease your pain.

  8. Big, big virtual hugs to you, Phyllis.

  9. While I won't be in Jerusalem until later this month, who knows, perhaps our paths will cross and I will be able to thank you in person for allowing me into your life. You define grace!

  10. How could you be anything other than unmoored?

    And damn right you're entitled to give God a piece of your mind. As many times as you need to. God can take it; dish out whatever anger you need to express, from now until whenever the anger begins to fade.

    I also don't feel that my prayers are closer to God in that place than in others. In fact sometimes being there makes God feel further away -- an artifact of my issues with the Israeli rabbanut and with what's happening in the West Bank and so on. But I hope that you are with loved ones and I hope there is some comfort in that.