Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Shiva Impressions

First off, DO NOT ASK A PARTICULAR ORGANIZATION IN HAR NOF TO PUT UP DEATH NOTICE SIGNS ON YOUR BEHALF ANNOUNCING AN UPCOMING FUNERAL.

They were asked to do this, and in return for blasting the details over a loudspeaker in Har Nof for a half an hour, and putting up some signs in Har Nof, and near my house in Arnona, and two signs each in Beit Shemesh and Kochav Hashachar, they demanded from my mother 5,560 NIS (that's around $1,500). That included 1,200 NIS for Beit Shemesh, and 900 NIS for Kochav Hashachar.

In addition, they added to the bill (without asking us) the cost of a headstone at twice the going rate. We managed to knock that off the bill, and also to shame them down to 5,000 NIS. However, when the funeral hasn't happened yet is not the time you want to be arguing with someone about money, which I believe was their plan to begin with.

I think you could probably get a few yeshiva students to do it for free or for a few hundred NIS at most. This service should really be included free with the funeral costs, or as a gift from the state or city government.

In this day of Facebook and email, the entire endeavor was a complete waste of time, anyway. Maybe, maybe, one or two people who didn't already know heard about the funeral from a sign or from the blasting loudspeaker, but I hardly think it was worth that kind of money.

My father would have been blowing his top.

Impressions

I'm gratified that so many people could come to the funeral on short notice (as Jewish funerals are). Thank you so much. Being Rosh Hodesh, there was no formal eulogy, but Rabbi Shenkolevsky from Nofei Aviv spoke some beautiful words, anyway.

I volunteered to do the final identification of my father before the burial, having not been at the hospital when he passed on. I didn't realize that seeing him in this manner would so emotionally affect me. It was like being punched in the head. Nevertheless, I think it was something I needed to experience.

Many people have expressed condolences and offered kindness, comfort, and food. Generosity abounds in our little Jewish neighborhoods. Many of the condolences came from my non-Jewish friends and acquaintances around the world.

I neglected to realize that sitting shiva with my aunt and mother would require me to hear them tell the same stories over and over again as each new visitor comes along, with the stories often changing as the day went on. I'm thinking of drawing up a FAQ.

The many kind words I hear about my father from friends, neighbors, and relatives is helping me sides to my father that I did not always get to see when he was alive. It is a blessing.
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