Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Missing my teacher and his teachings

היום ששה ושלשים יום שהם חמשה שבועות ויום אכד בעמר
Today is the thirty-sixth day, making five weeks and one day of the omer
חסד שב יסוד

A day of loving kindness in a week of foundation

I'm missing Rabbi Lew these days. There are a couple of things I'd like to share with him, and one thing I'd like to ask.

It was Rabbi Lew who gave me a teaching of Jewish medieval sage, Don Isaac Abravanel, that has been formative for me. I have been doing research on Abravanel for a talk I'm giving at Netivot Shalom's after-kiddish program on May 15. I am fascinated learning how he navigated being a financier, a statesman, and a mystic all in one lifetime. The time and place he lived in--late 15th/early 16th century Portugal/Spain/Italy--leading the Jewish community that was expelled from Spain in 1492 by Ferdinand and Isabella. The book I'm reading, Don Isaac Abravanel: Statesman & Philosopher by Benzion Netanyahu is a thorough biography, but I with I could share my enthusiasm with Rabbi Lew, and I'm sure he would have some tidbits of knowledge that he could share with me.

I also would like to tell him about my teaching, and my participation in the LINK Educator Fellowship program at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. I had talked with him looking for my calling. As with his answer to finding my questions, he said that my calling will find me. I wish he was here to turn to for guidance as I walk towards what I hope will be a path found.

And I wish I could ask him how he came to be a Giants fan, as he grew up a Dodger fan. My friend Robert Rubin is one who decided to remain true to his roots, and wears his Dodger blue with pride--something not so easy in the Bay Area :) Rabbi Lew chose to change his allegiance. This was something I always meant to ask him but never got around to it. There's a story there---one I'll never know.

I will dedicate my talk on May 15 to Rabbi Lew. I will continue to spread the teachings he gave us. It's the best way I can honor his memory. But I will also always feel the loss.

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