Memories of my father

Elizabeth Hersh is Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel (TE), and a blogger on the Jewish Light’s website (stljewishlight.com).   Joel Iskiwitch and John DeMott, authors of the  “What can you do?”  sidebar, are congregants at TE.

By Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

My father died five years ago this January. While I think about him often, especially this time of year, the five year anniversary is really tugging at my heart. I have been reminiscing all that he has missed in these years as well as everything I wish I could share with him.

I bore people with stories of my son. My dad, or Pa, as my son called him would never tire of his youngest grandson’s adventures. With each fever or cold, my dad would have held the worry but in a quiet and comforting way. My dad would have enjoyed sports activities as well as school programs. He would have happily answered the questions when it was time to interview a grandparent.

My dad would have enjoyed hearing about the marathons both full and half and challenged me to run faster. He would have kvelled at my installation as the Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel. I knew he thought that congregational life was my “calling.” 

I sometimes picture him in the front row with his subtle smile and thumbs up after what he deemed a good sermon. I know he would like the interaction with my congregational family. My dad was not about numbers. He was about people which would have suited him well at TE. I see congregants and know which ones he would have stayed after services speaking with until the keys were in my hand.

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I carry a lot in my heart rarely sharing these memories. May his memory be for a blessing and may he rest in peace.