Sunday, February 21, 2010


This is the year that Ross turns 13 and becomes Bar Mitzvah. Throughout this school year, he attends the Bar (for a boy) and Bat (for a girl) Mitzvah’s of all his classmates. In some instances, DDTF and I are invited as well.

At each service, there is a program that describes the activities of the shul we are attending, the service, and various other aspects about the event and the child being celebrated.

At a recent Bat Mitzvah, there was a poem in the program that brought tears to my eyes. I sat there thinking about the love we all have for our children. I looked around the shul which was filled with a mix of people. There were people there I consider to be friends, some mere acquaintances and others I had never seen before. We were however all united by several common threads; our heritage, an understanding of what we were there for and of course, wanting only the best for our children as they move toward their futures.
I am not sure why, but I also found myself thinking about how quick people are to judge others. We form opinions about people without any knowledge of what goes on in their lives. I find this interesting because we all go about our lives wanting, needing and striving for the same things: Acceptance, love, to be respected and quite simply, just to be seen and appreciated. It’s unfortunate how easily distracted we are from what is important to us and how quickly we forget that each person may feel the same way as we do.

As soon as I could get Ross’ attention, I called him over to me and just held him close. I was sitting behind the last pew as I was in my wheelchair. I was so grateful in that moment to have this child who has an amazing ability to move through life and not be hindered by my restrictions at all in a world that can be overly harsh at times. I closed my eyes for a while and listened to the Hebrew commentary, none of which I understand because I don’t read or speak Hebrew yet it takes me to a place I enjoy very much. I thanked my G-d for my blessings and I thanked my body for sustaining the process of bringing this child into my world.

This evening, Daniel and I had all our children at home for the first time in almost two years. Somehow, through hardship and the deepest of hurt and lack of understanding, the togetherness of a family ultimately makes the most sense. To quote someone whose name I can’t recall right now, “To find peace, you have to find all the pieces”.




I wish for you to be a
person of character
strong but not tough,
gentle but not weak.

I wish for you to be
Righteous but not self-righteous
honest but not unforgiving.

Wherever you journey, may your steps be firm
and may your walk in just paths
and not be afraid.
Whenever you speak, may your words
Be words of wisdom and friendship.

May your hands build
and your heart preserve what is good
and beautiful in our world.

May the voices of the generations of our people
move through you
and may the G-d of our ancestors
be your G-d as well.

May you know that there is a people,
a rich heritage, to which you belong
and from that sacred place
you are connected to all who dwell on earth.

May the stories of our people
be upon your heart
and the grace of the Torah rhythm
dance in your soul.

Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

48 ...

On Sunday 1/31 DDTF celebrated his 48th birthday. For those who don’t already know, DDTF is Daniel, my wonderful husband. I could get all schmaltzy and soppy and list an A-Z of positive and colorful adjectives to describe him, but for those who know him, that won’t be necessary. DDTF stands for DAN DAN THE FIREMAN.

Soon after settling into our new town when we arrived in the States, Daniel came home one day and told me that he had stopped in at the local firehouse and signed up as a volunteer. Ours is one of many volunteer emergency services. I was shocked and had mixed feelings about it. My first reaction was that as far as I am concerned, the idea is to run out of a burning building and not into it by choice. He was adamant though that this was something he wanted to do and felt that the knowledge he would gain from his training as a medical first responder would also stand us in good stead in terms of my disability. (I tend to throw myself at the ground from time to time involuntarily so I guess living with a first responder is quite a plus even though I have begged him to go to beauty school and get a hairdresser license!)

Being part of a volunteer department extends way beyond answering 911 ambulance and fire calls. These men and women go through ongoing training programs, attend drills, serve their community with all sorts of events. The department hosts an annual family festival which boasts one of the best fireworks displays in our county. They deliver fire awareness programs in the public schools and more. There are families in this department whose lives revolve around the firehouse, its members and its place in the community.

Memorial Day Parade 2009 - Second from left Assistant Drill Master DDTF in charge of the Color Guard.

(Pizzeria in background is to confirm that we are in a small American town. Volunteer fire fighters and pizza go hand-in-hand.)

What amazes me about these people is how they take it in their stride. To wake up out of a deep sleep in the middle of the night or early in the morning and rush out on an ambulance call certainly gets the adrenaline going. To come home a short time later knowing that you have just played an integral role in saving someone’s life has to be a most humbling experience.

I feel honored to be able to talk about my husband this way. I feel blessed to be his wife and I am grateful for him being the father of my children.

These pics show the two life saving awards that DDTF has earned.