Getting lost


Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh received a B.A. from Skidmore College and was ordained as a Rabbi from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She is fortunate to be involved in so many facets of the community including serving as the chaplain for JF&CS and an instructor for CAJE. This will be her fifth year serving as the visiting Rabbi in Decatur, Ill. She has also served congregations in both Sydney and Perth, Australia. When not writing her weekly BLOGS, she can be found running marathons.

By Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

A couple of months of ago I got lost coming home from a facility. I felt like I was in a bubble and could not escape. For dozens of months I have taken 44 east to return to St. Louis. For some reason I had become distracted and turned onto 44 west. When I realized I had made an error I turned off the highway and for some reason got back on 44 west! I thought I was a character in “Groundhog Day.” I was trapped in a feeling of confusion. I can promise you it was a most unsettling feeling.

I then thought about the residents I see who are trapped in a bubble of confusion every day. I reflected upon how we tend to get impatient with repeated questions or confusion. I was overwhelmed with a renewed sense of responsibility to be more patient.


If I felt frightened for about 20 minutes, how must residents feel on a moment by moment basis? I visit people who have signs on their doors reminding them where they live or notes reminding them which way the dining room is.

Think about all the activities and rituals we do in a day. We drift through a day performing acts that we don’t even consciously think about. How would it feel to have a sign on your bathroom mirror that read, “Brush your teeth?” or “Make your bed?” (And I don’t mean for your 10-year-old!)

Since this experience I have become more sensitive to the fragility of the human mind. It was so easy to become lost. It was not so easy to find my way.