BC – Before Covid, the families would meet in Jessica’s house for many celebrations or no celebrations- we just gathered. Jessica lives in a Group Home with four other women, each having different Abilities. Years have passed since we sat side by side in the same Room. But this week, we were together again to share a blessed event. This is the story of what we discovered in The Room Where it Happened.
I received a text from Rabbi Ori, “I have a chance to bring a Torah to the ladies’ group home tomorrow in anticipation of Shavuot…” Getting a text that a Torah is coming to visit is as rare as saying, “Hey, come to my house. Moses will be there telling a story!” Maybe not that rare, but you get the picture. And the holiday is what I refer to as the cheesecake holiday! Sounds good, right?
In Judaism, the Torah is the law of g-d as revealed to Moses and recorded in the first five books of the Hebrew scriptures. And the holiday of Shavuot is not just for eating cheesecake, it’s actually – commemorating the day when G-d gave the Torah to Moses at Mount Sinai. (OK, those who know me realize I did not make up these sentences – blatant plagiarism alert! )
The families gathered in the living room to share the blessed event of seeing, touching, and kissing the Torah. Yes, it is tradition to kiss the covered Torah or touch the Torah and then kiss your hand. The Rabbi held the scroll as each housemate and family member got their turn. Did you know if a person accidentally drops the Torah, they need to fast for 40 days! Now that is a weight loss program! Fortunately, Rabbi Ori held on tight!
This is only part of the beautiful moment; the second blessing is that we were together again. OK, we wore masks, but we were still there.
We were sitting next to our extended family of women who live with Jessica and their families. It was kind of a miracle because rules are strict in Jessica’s house. And this is not a criticism. Jessica’s house manager, Kelly, navigated the pandemic expertly, and for that, we are all grateful. But sitting together was like the old days. Although many people are back to socializing and large gatherings, we are still not doing that in Jessica’s home.
A Word about Covid
Mitch listened to my draft blog and said, “people aren’t thinking about Covid like that anymore. It’s like you are writing in the past.” I know most people are going about their business and Covid isn’t a huge concern anymore. I admit, I no longer wear masks in stores and have shared food with my grandchildren! Yes, a Covid No-no. But in Jessica’s house, the rules are still strict. the ladies have health conditions, and we need to be extra cautious. (So I added this paragraph!!)
Back to the Room Where it Happened
T., who lives in the home, told us she was happy! Jessica screamed and hummed the sacred Shema prayer as she held the Rabbi’s hand. KK’s smile was radiant. J. helped with the flowers and felt the love. L., who wasn’t feeling well, began to smile when she touched the Torah. We all felt the joy!
People of All Abilities understand the joy of togetherness, tradition, and family (biological and chosen family). Everyone experiences it to the best of their ABILITY!
Yes, I like to write, but as the saying goes, a picture is worth 1000 words, and who wants to read 1000 words anyway. Isn’t it more fun to look at photos?
With all the tragedy spewing around us, violence, racism, murder, and unthinkable acts of horror, we could take a break from the news to soak in the love and spiritualism in the Room Where it Happened.
If You haven’t already purchased, Raising Jess: A Story of Hope – Please consider a copy for yourself, a friend, a teacher, a therapist, a mom, a sibling, or a book lover…you can purchase it at all major online retailers.