If you’ve taken a genealogy test at home, you are in good company. In 2018 alone, over 12 million in this country have used home-test kits to get information about their genetic past. My sister Ziva is one of them. . . .
When you meet a person who is near the end of their life, it can take work to imagine them youthful and full of vigor. I thought about that difficulty when I met Alvin Siegal five years ago, shortly after I had moved to town. He was 90 years old at the time.
I can't keep up with the constant flow of news, the updates, and the never-ending changing websites. By the time I get well-informed on one issue, something new has already taken over the headlines. I know I am not alone in this struggle.
Sometimes we refer to the objects we own as "stuff." It's a light term - almost slang - although our memories, and even our identity can be bound up with these objects. And it can be a difficult, heart-wrenching process to weed through these things when downsizing from a large home to a small apartment.
I recently watched a whole community in Erie, PA, go through this same process as they downsized from a grand synagogue into a small, modest building - making decisions about nearly a century's-worth of accumulated "stuff."
To read more about this story, check out my article “When an old synagogue downsizes, what do you do with all its stuff?” published on the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website.
With the Jewish new year upon us, I’ve been thinking about tashlich - the odd holiday ritual of walking to a stream, tossing in breadcrumbs, and reciting verses of supplication. This very old folk practice is illustrated in an arresting woodcut made in the 16th century.
ALANNA'S JEWISH EXPLORATIONS: