Today my week ended differently than it usually does. We spent time at the Har Sinai cemetary with the kids from the synagogue. Honestly this was something I had been trying to get out of doing. I didn’t like the idea of spending my day at a cemetary. It seemed depressing and not the way I wanted to end my week. But that wasn’t the kind of example I wanted to set for my daughter and I put on my best ” This is really going to be fun even though you might not think so ” face and we made our way to meet up with the other parents who also tried to pass this off as ” a good learning experience” for their kids. We all had lists of things we’d rather be doing instead of stomping through the mud to a cemetary.
We walked through the rows and talked about the names, searched for history, and oddly found ourselves starting to enjoy the beautiful day. There’s a great sense of your own mortality when you spend the day among the dead. You find you walk a little closer to those you love, forgive a little easier, and take time to just breathe in and breathe out. You talk more, let go of the stress, and just let the peacefulness wash over you.
Today we came together as a congregation of children and families to bury the books and other items of our temple. We wished to give those items our honor and place them to rest as scared as we do our own bodies. It was not only a history lesson for me of our congregation’s ancestory but of Maryland and Baltimore as well. Driving to get to the cemetary down in the deepest part of the city, we passed the bones of Baltimore’s past. In parts it was as if we were passing through a burial ground of buildings that used to rise in beauty and greatness and now stand as monuments to how destructive mankind can be. We talked about the origins of neighborhoods that were once home families proud of their homes,neighborhoods, and place in society, yet now they are boarded up and homes for vagrants and graffiti.
I was really proud of most of the kids, they were respectful and listened when directed. I was thankful that my daughter was one of the kids who took it seriously and was interested in actually reading the names and dates of those passed on. We found interesting icons that I hadn’t thought to expect there, the Eiffel Tower, a telescope, and sadly the ages of the young who were set to rest there. The cemetary is old, it needs some care as it seems that it has been forgotten by most. It reminded me of when I was a child and my family would attend “Declaration Day” when our whole community would gather at the cemetary and spend the day cleaning up the grounds, bringing flowers and ribbons, and celebrating the lives of those who “went away” the celebrate the lives of the living with our children who ran through the grass and held no fear of the peaceful park.
All in all it was a lovely day and I am thankful to end my week with good memories, history, and the love of my family.
Take care,love much, and never forget who you are.