Please take a look at a delightful new children’s book published by my adopted sister, Rabbi Galina Trefil. In short, this book teaches kids that it’s ok to be different and that in fact, being different is beautiful! I will be reviewing it later this month!
Just a quicky Hi to you guys! I am so honored that so many of you are still sticking with me even though I’ve been on a bit of a radio silence for a while.I want you to know that I am doing better and although I miss my mom every moment, I am learning to move forward. I am starting to read again at my usual pace and have actually a book in mind that was given to me during my mourning that I would love to comment on here. Alice Hoffman does wonderful nonfiction, you guys!
Anyway, I will be back soon, hopefully after this weekend’s birthday celebration. That would be my own, and I think I might be ready to celebrate myself even though I feel rather wistful at the same time.
One month ago, my mommy had gotten diagnosed with diffused large b cell lymphoma. Two weeks ago, she began her first chemo cycle. Thirty eight hours ago my beloved mommy passed away. She handled chemo like a trouper, didn’t complain or ask for anything. For several days after chemo ended, she felt fine. Then the fatigue set in and things unraveled from there. On Tuesday she ended up in the ER and eventually ICU as everything got worse. On Friday, early in the morning despite putting up an insanely hard fight given how sick she became, my mother went back to her first family: her mother, father and older sister.
You may ask me how I can write right now. With a great amount of difficulty but full clarity of mind. I am the younger of two, and the daughter and I don’t think I grasped even the millimeter of how much I love my mother until now, how close I was with her. This blog is important to me and I feel like I’ve bonded with you all to the point where I can share my real life with you. My mom is (and I think I am going to be saying is for a long time) a very private, old fashioned person, I don’t think she understood what a blog really was and I seem to recall her pretty much rolling her eyes at me when I told her about it. But she cared about what made me happy and having this outlet makes me happy. She had the same attitude towards Facebook.
She instilled the love of reading and books in me which led me to this blog in the first place. As many kids, I didn’t share myself fully with mom and though I know she was often hurt by it, she understood. She raised me to be loyal and independent, stubborn and private like she was. I wasn’t always the easiest daughter but I know she always knew how much I loved her and how much she meant to me. On her last day, I started reading to her from a book she shared with me as a child, a book we both read as kids. And I know she was happy to hear me read to her, maybe she thought it was cheesy but I know she heard me and it comforts me that we could share this even when she was asleep.
I think this was probably the best book I’ve read this year, perhaps one of my very favorite Jewish stories of the last few years. . As an Ashkenazi Jew, my knowledge of pre war and Holocaust Sephardi Jewish experience has been sadly lacking and frankly, barely existent, One Hundred Saturdays made a great way in changing that, I don’t think I can find a single thing to complain about, dislike, or otherwise negatively speak about his absolute gem of a book. I desperately want to meet Stella, or at least listen to her speak because Michael Frank was able to make her voice shine through every single word of this book, he was able to paint such a vivid portrait of Jewish life in Rhodes that I physically hurt when the timeline moved the pendulum closer and closer to the war years.
This is a must read for any person who has any humanity and desire to learn about Jews as real, vibrant citizens of the world and to truly understand what we lost in our world with the Holocaust and all the death that it wrought on the world. Read it, read it, read it. Also, Stella is amazing.