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I Accidentally Hired an Orthodox Rabbi for My Father’s Funeral

May 11, 2016

Adele Levin writes for The Washington Post about how she accidentally hired an Orthodox rabbi for her father’s funeral. Levin only realizes after meeting Rabbi Eli Fink that she’s called the wrong rabbi and the mix-up has the makings of a screwball comedy:

“We gathered in the funeral home: my sister, my Swiss mother with her thick Swiss-German accent, my agnostic lesbian partner, our baby, our Orthodox rabbi and me. Under different circumstances it would have been unlikely for all of us to even be in the same room.”

Instead this happened:

“But on that day, we were all Orthodox Jews.

Rabbi Eli gently explained to us what Judaism teaches about death. I don’t remember the exact words, but I know it felt incredibly comforting at the time. He guided us through the ancient Jewish mourning ritual of keriah: He solemnly gave us each a piece of black fabric, then went around the room, asking us individually if we accepted Dad’s death. When we said we did, he told us to tear the cloth and pin it on the left side of our chest, over our hearts.

During the eulogy, our little Orthodox rabbi was so short you could barely see him from behind the podium. Yet in his traditional garb, he loomed larger than life.”

Read the full piece here.

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.