Thursday, December 17, 2009

Six months of Kaddish: Lost in the transportation

I finally got around to checking my calendar, and it turns out that the six-month anniversary of my mother's death, kaf Kislev, was Monday, December 7. In all honesty, I'm simply not accustomed to thinking in terms of the Jewish calendar, and it hadn't occurred to me that her proper, Jewish-calendar yahrzeit (anniversary of death) might actually be earlier than her secular-calendar one. To me, Mom's yahrzeit will always be June 12, our wedding anniversary. But I'll observe it properly, on kaf Sivan.

Gary Rosenblatt recently wrote "In the Year of Mourning," about his own experience of saying Kaddish for his mother.

My experience has been very different. For openers, I decided that I would davven (pray) with a minyan (quorum of 10 required for Kaddish and certain other prayers) for Shacharit (Morning Service) only, since I'm disorganized enough that I hardly ever get to bed at a reasonable hour even when I get home at a reasonable hour, much less when I have to travel home at a later time. I davven Minchah (Afternoon Service) and Maariv/Arvit (Evening Service) bi-y'chidut (by myself), so I lose the opportunity not only to say Kaddish, but also to be with my fellow and sister mourners for the other services. For closers, I have to take the subway to say Kaddish every day except Shabbat (Sabbath) and Yamim Tovim (holidays), since none of the local synagogues gets a minyan on a weekday.

And that's where my Kaddish gets lost in the transportation. Mr. Rosenblatt is mourning among his fellow congregants, whereas I'm an "outsider" mourning in someone else's synagogue. I have no complaints, mind you, other than my standard kvetch about everyone davvening far too quickly for Ms. Molasses. The folks at my "kaddish minyan" have been friendly and helpful, and have even put up with my complaints about not being able to keep up. But I'm not "one of the gang." I don't davven there on Shabbat or Yom Tov (though I may davven there in the future, once our local synagogue closes its doors permanently). It seems to me that part of the purpose of having a mourner say Kaddish is to bring the mourner back into the community. Instead, I've had to leave my community in order to say Kaddish. And that's sad.


Blogger RivkA with a capital A said...

It is sad. You might contact Square Peg 613 -- she had a similar experience.

Sun Dec 27, 03:00:00 AM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

RivkA, how can I contact Square Peg 613?

Sun Dec 27, 01:51:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Ilana said...

Rivka alerted me to your post. I said Kaddish 12 years ago. I decided I would say Kaddish once a day -- that much was challenging enough with a full-time job, an infant son, and a preschool daughter -- and a supportive husband with a full-time job. Since my shul didn't offer daily minyan, I usually went to a nearby Orthodox shul that had daily Shacharit. (If I missed it, there were other, less comfortable, places I could go for Mincha).

I never thought about how much nicer it would have been to have said Kaddish daily with my own community. The people at the other shul were happy to have me there, but it wasn't like davening in my own shul. Though I wonder if I might have felt more at home if I had been a man. After a few months another woman from my shul joined me to say Kaddish, and a teenage girl started coming too. So it was less lonely on my side of the Mehitza.

Wed Dec 30, 01:19:00 AM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

SquarePeg 613, thanks for commenting (and RivkA, thanks for letting SquarePeg know about this post.) It must be a something of a downer to be the only person davvening in the women's section. I suppose I should be thankful that my "kaddish minyan" is egalitarian Conservative--my being a woman isn't really an issue. I've seen a number of women lead services and lein Torah (chant the reading from the Torah scroll) at my "kaddish minyan." I'd volunteer to lein Torah myself, were it not for the fact that I davven too slowly to get to the Torah service on time. (I'm sometimes still finishing the Amidah prayer during the first aliyah.) But it would be more comfortable--and comforting--to say kaddish among the people who've known me for over 20 years.

Wed Dec 30, 05:44:00 PM 2009  

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