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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thoughts and Prayers

Back in the late Jurassic period when I was finishing my degree at Yeshiva University, I had a few different circles of friends which, to a very small extent, overlapped.

There were my YU friends... my musician friends... my Stern College friends (I used to go there frequently for shabbat)... and my Columbia/Barnard friends (I also spent many shabbatot there).

One of the people with whom I became very close at Barnard was a a pretty red haired girl (no, she was never one of those who bridled at not always being called a woman. She was a girl and I was a boy... and we were friends.).

I don't think we ever dated, but the two of us spent so much time together that I think many people assumed we were an item.

I have no clear recollection of when, how or why I lost touch with this charming red haired girl. More than likely it was shortly after I moved to Brooklyn... and I'm sure entirely due to my laziness about keeping up 'long-distance' friendships. Whatever the reason or timing, the end result was that by the time I had begun to work, make new friends, date, get married... this bright, energetic, pretty, red haired girl was no longer a regular part of my Brooklyn life.

Fast forward a couple of decades to a small party thrown by a fellow blogger in her apartment in Jerusalem. There, among the guests, was my old friend from Barnard... now married (with her red hair mostly concealed beneath a stylish hat), and raising a family in Jerusalem.

I don't know if we made the blog connection at that point, but we were both pleased to be back on each other's radar.

Fast forward a couple more years to an evening hosted by the high school where our daughter, Ariella, would eventually end up studying. We had been to several of these evenings for perspective students and their parents that week, and were thoroughly confused... and more than a little stressed.

There among the other parents and students was my old friend from Barnard with her husband and daughter in tow. The evening was a great success, with both families having hit it off, and also having decided that this was where we wanted to send our daughters for high school (heck, Zahava and I wanted to study there too!).

From that point on we were in touch directly... and through our daughters (who had become good friends), as well as through our respective blogs. But while we followed each other's lives via our blogs, I was less than thrilled about that aspect of our relationship. You see, my friend was, by this time, keeping a blog called 'Coffee and Chemo'; an apt description of her ongoing struggles with cancer... and of her many friends who came to drink coffee with her while she received her chemo treatments.

Anyone who has been following along with my friend RivkA's blog knows that she has had her ups and downs in her battle with cancer, but that she has remained an incredibly vibrant, positive person no matter what was being thrown at her.

The only tiny glimmer of vulnerability any of us were allowed to see, was the polite request with which she closed each of her blog posts:

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism, RivkA

That's it. Simple, 'tznuah'... unassuming. Typical RivkA. The way most of us might ask for a tissue or a stick of gum, RivkA was gently saying, "I'm in a fight for my life... and I believe with all my heart in the power of prayer and positive thinking. So won't you please share a little of yours with me?'.


I'm writing today because Rivka could use a few extra prayers directed her way... the more good thoughts and positive energy, the better. One of her friends posted the following last week, and I am re-posting it here for the benefit of those who might want to add their voice... and of course to benefit my friend RivkA:

As most of you know, RivkA has been hospitalized.

I would like to start an open-ended mishmeret tehillim for her. Participants would each take a chapter or chapters of tehillim to be said every day for up to 40 days. The mishmeret will start tomorrow (to give people time to sign up). Please forward this email!

Participants say 'bli neder I will say these tehillim every day as a zechut for a refua shleima for "RivkA bat Tirzel" and say their tehillim, the same chapters, every day.

It's recommended that you have a buddy, in case you cannot say your chapters or in case you forget.

Every day I will, bli neder, say the traditional prayer before reciting tehillim in the morning, and the prayer up on completion every night.

If, be'H, we can keep going after 40 days, we'll create a new page.

Please click this link and choose your tehillim.

Posted by David Bogner on October 27, 2010 | Permalink

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Jurassic?! Be nice, RivkA is *not* that old :)

Posted by: toby | Oct 27, 2010 1:33:15 PM

toby... hmmm, I hadn't thought of the implication of my self-deprication on RivkA. In fairness, I was considerably older than she at the time, having served in the navy for four years and then studied at Hebrew University for two years followed by two more at YU.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Oct 27, 2010 1:48:18 PM

Of course RivkA has my prayers and best wishes.

Posted by: Jack | Oct 27, 2010 5:46:09 PM

RivkA has been a joy to me, even through her toughest times she is a blessing to others. I am praying for her and her lovely family.

Posted by: Kiwi Noa | Oct 27, 2010 8:37:00 PM

How lucky you are to have that personal history with her.
Sending all the happy healing thoughts I can.

Posted by: frozenchallah | Oct 28, 2010 5:01:31 PM

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