Archive April 28, 2019

The Wall of Water

In the past month I have offered an oncology consult to a woman whose cancer was diagnosed eighteen years ago and declared cured thirteen years ago – a Jewish lifetime since diagnosis and long enough for a child to reach the age of Jewish maturity since her oncologic cure.

Such is the world of chronic illness.  We don’t let ourselves think in terms of cure.  We don’t let ourselves say we have had cancer, or had mental illness, or had lupus, but rather we are defined by them.  We are living with schizophrenia, suffer from lupus, or at the best we are cancer survivors.  The cancer is gone; it’s mark on us is indelible.

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Healing and the Haggadah

This past Friday night, April 19, 2019, marked ninety-five years since a woman named Paula Harris, at the end of a long day toiling in her kitchen, set out a Passover Seder on the dining table of her home on Shady Avenue in Pittsburgh.  It was not a meal in which she was destined to take part.  No sooner had she finished setting the table than she left for Magee Hospital, in active labor.  The following morning, April 20, 1924, my Nana, Elinor Harris (later Goodman), came into the world, a Passover baby.

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