essays kaddish in two-part harmony

nyt remembrances—a kaddish for departed strangers

Today’s online New York Times, front page and center has a spot reserved for readers to place a picture and their remembrances of those who died during the year. It’s an overwhelmingly simple tribute, moving to the core. Each photo is accompanied by a short paragraph. The pictures are from all stages of life, from childhood to the deathbed. And the paragraphs are candid and filled with love and idiosyncrasy. Check it out here.

The thing about newspapers, though, even online ‘papers,’ is that tomorrow—like those commemorated in the piece—it is all likely to be gone.  Still. Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

What struck me, looking at all those faces, lives, and tales, is how comforting it is—yes, comforting— to glimpse all those departed lives. Comforting in that each one is being remembered. Memorialized. In the New York Times, no less. For the whole world to remember them, and know them, if only for an instant.

A kaddish for all those departed strangers throughout this, our kaddish in two-part harmony year.

By mira

Mira Z. Amiras is Professor of Comparative Religious Studies and founder of the Middle East Studies Program at San Jose State University. She is past-president of the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness, and has served on the Executive Council of the American Anthropological Association. She is co-founder, with Ovid Jacob, of Beit Malkhut, a study group in Jewish sacred text. She's most attached to the creatures of her body and her household — first and foremost, her kids, of course: Michael and Rayna — and then the other folks large and small of various species, including Roshi and Vlad, a whole lot of hummingbirds, the old parrot who lives next door, and a beautiful garden that does what it will.

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