Sitting Shiva for America

I woke up this morning feeling a sense of great loss, loss for so many things…the loss of civility in our country, the loss of life from Covid, and cancer, and guns, and innocent black men and women being killed, innocent protesters being gunned down, the violence in our streets.

The seemingly impossible divide between left and right.

The loss of stability and security.

The loss of freedom to hug our friends, and so much more.

Later, when I looked at my Facebook feed I found more loss.

Friends mourning the loss of loved ones, beloved pets, careers that were once promising that have disappeared.

Grief. Mourning. Fear. Uncertainty.

On my walk this afternoon it came to me that as a Jew I might want to try sitting Shiva.

In the Jewish tradition when someone dies, after the burial, you go home and for seven days, your friends and family come and sit with you to remember and to mourn the dead.

You cover your mirrors, light candles, and in lieu of flowers, most bring a dish of Jewish comfort food.

We reminisce, remember and recapture memories of a loved one.

Surprisingly, there is often laughter as you recall the fun and zany things your dead loved one did or said. It really helps.

And, if there are ten Jews present, then each day the Mourners Kaddish is chanted.

In my own virtual version of sitting Shiva, in this time of lockdown and Covid, I won’t be with nine other Jews, so I’ve asked my dear friend, Liana Chaouli, to make this short video to use as a daily prayer to connect with our collective grief and loss. It is also a prayer for peace.

Whether you are Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Pagan or a non-believer, if you are experiencing grief for someone or the current state of the world, may this video be a balm for your soul.

Below is the video:

Wishing you love and laughter,


“The reality is you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same again. Nor should you be the same, nor should you ever want to.”

~Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

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