It is fitting that the post that will be dropped off the front page of this blog to make room for this post is this one asking for healing prayers to be said for my friend Sylvie Braitman. Please now say healing prayers for her family - Sylvie took her last breath this past Friday, November 10.
I just returned from her funeral. While there was lots of time to prepare for this moment, you're never really prepared. So, there was lots of sadness, and there was, like Sylvie, lots of strength as well. Her family - her husband, Phillipe Chouraki, and children, Reuben and Maissa, had a sense of peace about them. Sylvie knew her time here was dwindling and I'm sure she left each of them with her spirit to carry them through.
The rain had let up a bit as we joined together at the gravesite after the ceremony at the chapel. The grey drizzle was appropriate for the occasion, the world shedding tears for our loss. The casket was lowered into the ground as Rabbi Lew recited prayers. We then lined up to fulfill the mitzvah of tossing dirt into the grave to cover the coffin. Rabbi Lew explained that this was symbolic of a parent covering a child with a blanket for comfort. It gives each one of us there a chance for one last goodbye. The sun came out as the casket was covered--maybe Sylvie's way of saying goodbye to us.
Of all the friends and family at the funeral, the presence that touched us all was that of Reuben's football team from Redwood High School in Larkspur, California. It was amazing to see these boys all wearing their football jerseys there to support their friend and teammate.
The family will spend this week surrounded by friends and loved ones. That is part of what the Jewish tradition of shiva is about. An evening service will be held at their house, supporting the family as they begin a year of reciting the mourner's kaddish, starting that process of healing.
Zichrona l'vracha - may her memory be a blessing.......