Over almost forty years in the pulpit have given me ample ammunition for almost every imaginable inquiry. Sifting through all of those interrogations – some of them very formal and others closer to drive-by-shootings at ongei Shabbat or at the supermarket – I think the most oft repeated (by children and adults) is “What happens when we die?” The translation of that has nothing to do with the physical aspects of death and everything to do with “is this all there is?”
This is how my son describes the books I’ve been reading for the past 35 years:
So they were poor Jews in Russia/Eastern Europe, the bad guys came and burned their homes and they were forced to walk and walk and walk, with no food, in the snow, and their jewels were sewn in the lining of their clothes. A righteous goy, with ten in his family, takes them in to his two room flat, shares his meager meals till they can get enough passage money for America, while one of the precious daughters hooks up with a blond/blue-eyed soldier and stays in this foreign land.
Ok, so it sounds a bit like Fiddler On The Roof, but it is a real scenario that has happened in many of our families.
“Aging is not just a process that can be measured or a population that can be counted, plotted, and tracked.” So wrote Dr. Fernando A. Guerra in a collection of essays entitled (Aging, Biotechnology, and the Future” (Johns Hopkins Press). With increasing frequency, we are seeing attempts to study, plot and track us as we age. Trends are nice.
However, what is also real is that each of us enter this stage as out own independent human beings, with our own distinct traits, personalities and family histories. What seems to be quite clear, however, is that with life expectancy growing and medical technology providing more life enhancing possibilities; we are having the gift of time being given to us in ways never before imagined. With that gift is coming increased opportunities for personal growth as well as increased challenged in areas of care-giving and economic stability. Read more