So Much Loss

Jewish Week Online Columnist

It’s been a strange period of time. We rabbis are used to having many different types of lifecycle events throughout the month. We ride along the continuum of a human life, understanding that funerals are balanced by baby-namings, and that B’nai Mitzvah will hopefully lead to beautiful weddings under a chuppah. We visit sick congregants in the hospital, and hope to welcome just as many healed congregants back into our synagogues’ walls.

Rabbi Marci N. Bellows

The Funeral Whisperer

Watching friends, family and acquaintances go the way of obituary and biography.


 “People are dying who didn’t used to,” my mother could have said, but didn’t. It was somebody else’s mother.

Now I’m thinking along the same lines.

There are deaths in the family, of course. Shocking, awful, and no matter how expected — unexpected. My father’s was the first and the worst. Besides being beloved, he was a rabbi and the one we went to when someone else died. How could we ask him questions about his own funeral? About grief? I am still asking him.

ALAN FALK Gustav Mahler & The Youth’s Magic Horn  (A Child’s View of Heaven), 2006, oil on canvas, 48" x 84".
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