By Zoe Steiner, CIT (Counselor in Training)
It’s not something we like to talk about. Even when we try, the words catch in our throats and often don’t find their way out. It creeps up on us when we least expect it, dark and looming over our shoulders. We try to start conversations about it, but the reality is that death is a subject no one wants to discuss.
The process of grieving can be incredibly difficult. For some people, it can be the most painful thing they will ever experience. For others, it can be a confusing time where their grief maybe isn’t as intense as they thought it would be. Sometimes, death doesn’t affect you in a major way, and that is normal.
Many people have a choice of whether they want to mourn alone or with the support of their loved ones, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes, those who seek comfort in other people are unable to find them.
That will never be the case at Camp Newman. This vast, comforting space provides the opportunity to seek support when it is wanted. When we pray the mourner’s kaddish (the prayer mourners recite during the bereavement period and to mark the anniversary of a death of a loved one), there is a sense of understanding and seriousness that isn’t always necessarily found throughout a service.
Where other prayers may have stories or songs attached to them, the mourner’s kaddish is something that is and will always remain the same. Reading the words from the pages of the siddur (prayerbook) and feeling the mutual connection between us joins us as a community.
Whether you are observing a shiva, shloshim, or a yahrzeit (respectively, the 7-day mourning period, the 30-day period following a burial, and the anniversary of someone’s death), or just praying for those who can no longer themselves, Camp Newman is with you. The strong, Jewish community that we have here is unparalleled. If you need to be with people, they’re here. If you want to be alone, you have the space to do that.
We are a community. and together, we pray the kaddish.