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Everyone Has a Past


Sunday night my Synagogue had a special Zoom program to remember seven members that passed away in the last year, and also having us look to the future. At the appointed time, we all gathered around our computers and clicked the Zoom link and spent a wonderful hour.

A family member of each of the deceased shared some personal reflections. These are people we knew for decades. Each gave us a touching memory. Some of what we heard we did not know. It seems when you meet someone the image of them that you carry with you is how they are at that moment. Nothing before existed, and neither anything afterward. You get tied up in a time warp consisting of that moment.

My deceased friends had exuberant lives before we met, and exciting lives after. The before lives we didn’t know about unless they constantly chatted about it, which they didn’t. The afterlives we are blind to since their lives are intertwined with ours and we never mark the passage of time in our own lives, so we will also never notice it in our contemporaries. Sometimes it takes a eulogy to be told about our friends, but we were not at a funeral, we were at a celebration of our friend’s lives.

The speakers were children and nieces. The widows and widowers did not speak. If they did, perhaps they would have been lost in that same time warp. The kids and nieces spoke about things they heard growing up, and shared their feelings of the people that they loved, who taught them, who played with them, who encouraged them and who loved them unconditionally.

They shared early histories, sacrifices they made for their families, dreams they cast aside that were replaced by life’s realities and the pleasures of seeing their children’s and niece’s and nephew’s successes and family’s growth. Their legacies were the successful lives they inspired and that we were told about at that Zoom program. They were all involved with Judaism, otherwise, they would not have been remembered by us, since they would not have been part of our Synagogue community. They were all productive, charitable minded and good people that led meaningful lives.

They left many fond memories and we were all blessed to have known them. The people in my synagogue that organized this evening did a real mitzvah – a good deed – for all of us.

The future cannot be measured by right now, but with the optimism that we feel in our bones that this will pass, the virus will be contained if not conquered, and by the combined strength and support of all of us working together. The program was more about remembering wonderful friends, seeing and hearing their family members speak and knowing that we will all be all right as long as we keep together.

In this era of self-lockdown, minimal personal contact and the difficulty in connecting, a program such as what I attended was a blessing. Our mayor and state senator also attended and gave us words of encouragement and thanks for our contributions keeping the community strong and viable. You should consider something similar for your organization or church. You will like it!

If you have any business or financial issues you want to discuss please do not hesitate to contact me at emendlowitz@withum.com.

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