02 Mar 2011


14 Comments Personal Crap

I participated tonight in a tradition I had never heard of, and it was very special.

A few months ago we became friends with neighbors of ours who have a son a bit older than Garrett. I’ll just use their initials, “J”  (the mom) and “B” (the dad). They’re lovely and we enjoy spending time with them. G-Man digs playing with their kids.

Last week, B’s dad passed away. If you’ve read my blog, you know that my father died in July and that it has been the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with. When that happened to me, my friends stepped up in a way I never even knew was possible. I felt love and support from everyone in my life. I felt so blessed during such a dark time.

Well, as soon as I heard about B’s dad I wanted him and his family to know we were thinking of them. I know they knew. They asked several of their friends to be a part of a Jewish tradition tonight that I never knew about. You walk around the block, surrounded by friends and family, to signify the end of Shiva (the traditional seven days you spend mourning your loss).  Here’s an explanation of “getting up from Shiva” from aish.com:

“The house that the mourners live in for the week of shiva becomes a house of mourning. It takes on an ambience of solemnity, filled with memory, contemplation, and meditation. But it is a house where people will continue to dwell. The concrete act of physically stepping outside, walking around the block, and coming back in, says that this house and our relationship with this house will now be renewed.”

In all the years I’ve been to funerals and shivas, I’ve never experienced this tradition. I just called my mom to ask if she had, and the answer was, “No”.

I will always remember this night, even though it was completely casual and the people walking were having their own conversations and thoughts, even laughing and being silly. But that’s the point of it, isn’t it? Starting life again. It’s a tradition I will bring to future shivas (of which there will be few, I hope.) It was wonderful. And I feel lucky that I was asked to be a part of it.

It also reminded me why traditions are so important. They tie us to who we are, who our ancestors were, to our friends and our families. Even though I’m not big on organized religion, I’m proud of my Jewish heritage and the traditions that come from it. So many of them are a big part of who I am. I was pleased to learn a new one tonight.

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Lisa Arch likes being a working actress... but LOVES being a Mom!
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14 Responses to “Tradition”

  1. Reply Michael Gaedeke says:

    What a beautiful story and tradition.
    Brings in mind that song


    I SO respect the traditions and History of Jewish families – so much more “Menschlich” than some of the semi-secular ceremonies that never seem to take-in the “whole picture”.

    Thank You for sharing this moving moment!
    M;) – your other Neighbor 😉

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      Michael! So happy to see you on here. That’s the perfect song! Yes, it was such a beautiful tradition. Thanks for commenting!! xo

  2. Reply Angela says:

    learning something new is always interesting.. The was new to me… U learn something new everyday… But u r pretty nice…

  3. Reply Laura says:

    What a beautiful tradition. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Reply Sara says:

    I never realized what the walk was for, but have participated in it. It’s funny how many of those traditions you just ‘do’ without really knowing the reason. I hope that those small traditions help your friend find some peace.

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      Sara, I hope so too.
      It’s funny, isn’t it? Traditions seem so much more meaningful once you know the meaning!! Otherwise, you’re just going through the motions because it’s “what we’re supposed to do”. I thought this was a particularly cool one, and worth finding out about.

      • Reply Sara says:

        I attended a Hindu wedding in India a number of years ago and was just sopping up the new rituals and traditions left and right until it turned out to be a lot of stuff from Jewish weddings just in Sanskrit. It was a little surreal to see a chuppah, the glass to step on, etc. Nice to know the meaning behind all of it and interesting that the meaning is relatively universal just in a slightly tweaked way.

        • Reply flawlessmom says:

          Whoa, Sara!!! How awesome!! I think so many religions share similar traditions… It makes all the bigotry and hatred among people seem even odder.

  5. Reply Camesha says:

    Really cool. I’ve heard the word before but didn’t know anything about it. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Reply Tracy K says:

    Neither Aaron nor I had ever heard of that either (and he had 10 years of Jewish Day School). Sounds like a wonderful tradition to take part in. I really love so many of our traditions, and you’re right, the more I know about their beginnings or meanings, the more I feel connected to our long history. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      Tracy, not ONE person I know knew about this tradition, including my mom, Karen’s parents, and anyone else I asked. Isn’t that crazy??

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