This past weekend, my wife, son and I traveled to Detroit to celebrate my nephew Jonah’s Bar Mitzvah. Jonah did a marvelous job reading from the Torah and describing the meaning of his Torah portion to the congregation. It also gave our family a welcome opportunity to be together and celebrate Jonah’s coming of age.
Our family was ready for an opportunity to celebrate because less than 2 months ago, my mother suffered a stroke. This unfortunate event happened about 2 years after she fell down her basement stairs shattering her femur and breaking 3 vertebrae in her neck. As I wrote during her recovery, her brave battle to rehabilitate from these devastating injuries reminded me of why she is my hero.
My mother has approached her effort to rehabilitate from her stroke with the same attitude that has allowed her to recover from many setbacks in her life. She knew her grandson’s Bar Mitzvah was not far away, and she was determined to be there and soak up as much pride as a bubbie can absorb.
Sure enough, on Friday night, as family and out of town friends gathered for a Shabbat dinner, my mother leaned over to me and said, “you didn’t think I would make it.” To the contrary, I informed her that I always knew she would make it.
During the past few years, my son has had an increasing interest in understanding where his ancestors came from and enjoys talking to his grandparents to fill in the holes in his knowledge about family history. On Friday afternoon, we had a chance to visit my mother while she relaxed at home and he asked my mother many questions about her family history, going back to her grandparents in Europe. She told him stories that I had not heard, including a trip she and her husband Peter (who has been a true marvel in helping my mother recover) took in 1999 to the small town in Poland where her family emigrated from prior to World War II. My son asked questions and took notes, and despite my mother’s slowed speech due to her stroke, he learned a lot about his family history.
On Saturday night, my sister and brother-in-law hosted a lovely party to celebrate Jonah’s Bar Mitzvah. My mother and her husband came and enjoyed their third event in 24 hours, but after a few hours, they needed to go home and rest. When they did so, much of my family accompanied them as they left and you can see the pride and joy which my son and my mother take in each other’s presence.
Although my wife and I do not live in the same towns as our parents, we have always strived to raise our son with a deep respect for his ancestors. Now that he is an adult, attending college away from home, we take great pleasure in watching him connect with his grandparents, as he seeks to learn about his family history from them. We hope our parents continue to live for years to come and provide their grandchildren with the knowledge and history that helps them understand where they came from to better understand who they are.
For more information on how I can help you accomplish effective, progressive systems change contact Jeff Spitzer-Resnick by visiting his website: Systems Change Consulting.