Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Rest in Peace, Saba Harow

We buried my father-in-law yesterday. He was 93 years old and left behind 6 living children, 35 grandchildren and over 60 great-grandchildren with a few 'on the way'. While a terrible loss for the family it is not a tragedy; the family knows tragedy. The first member of the extended Harow clan to be buried in Israel was 5 month old Yehuda Shoham, our niece's baby, killed by terrorists 6 years ago. Her new son will have his brit on Thursday at the house of mourning and will presumably be given his great-grandfather's name. May he merit his long life as well.

While my father-in-law was many things- physician, Jewish community builder, Torah scholar and not a bad softball pitcher- his lasting legacy is the family that he and his wife (who died at 89 over 2 years ago) established, the vast majority of whom are living in Israel and devoted to Judaism. At the end of the day I know that's what the 2 of them cared about the most. In a world where more and more people judge 'success' by how much money you have and how famous you are, he was happy that a lot of people called him 'Saba' and that he had enough to treat us all to Pesach together for a few years. Those priorities have trickled their way down and we all hope that everyone stays close despite the loss of the patriarchal glue.

My husband's oldest sister had to warn the rest of them today that they'd have to be serious this afternoon because she had friends coming to pay a condolence call who would be shocked at the laughter emanating from the house. Everyone was sharing memories and the vast majority were so pleasant and funny (even if they hadn't been at the time, like the one about being caught speeding in Idaho) that there was not the gloomy atmosphere one would expect.

It's a really special thing, the Jewish mourning process. When I was in psych grad school and we learned the stages of grief I was floored at how sensible and sensitive our religion is at this traumatic time, in comparison to other religions and cultures. An intense week, followed by a slightly less intense month and then a year spent refraining from joyous events. This week the mourners are being coddled and served (Earl is really enjoying this part, I'll have to slowly ease him back into our reality next week) as they accept visits from people, some of whom they haven't seen for years, who come to console and share their own stories. By Friday they'll all be fidgeting from sitting so much and not exercising, not to mention the strain of talking so much. For now they're okay, in the Shomron right where the land of Ephraim meets Menashe, surrounded by caring relatives and friends.

I'm in Efrat for the night getting the kids squared away, we'll go back tomorrow after I do my radio show in Beit El for Israel National News. My nephew Ari, who heads Anglo Likud, will be my guest and we'll do some politics and some personal. (Nepotism rocks.) It's a bit busy (!) but I'll manage and my nieces, nephews and sisters-in-law are great so no one will starve over there without me.

Right now Caroline Glick is at a neighbor giving a talk; maybe I'll mosey over after I put the little ones to sleep on this beautiful Judean evening. Wonder what she thinks will happen after Winograd. Shocked she ain't.

So life goes on, trying to make Israel a bit better. Saba would have approved, especially since he knew I can't hit all that well and ya gotta do what you can do. Or at least try.

Tanuach b'shalom.

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