In honor of my wife’s memory, and to help continue her amazing legacy, I will be republishing over the next few months some of her writings, which not only give an insight into how amazing she was, but really helped inspire so many people around the world.
My plan is to also publish her writings in a book, along with testimonials from those who were somehow inspired or helped by her (whether by her writings or good deeds). If that includes you, please send your experiences to me at israellycool-at-yahoo-dot-com.
Happy New Year
First published Sept 16th 2012
This evening marks the end of the year for millions of people. Tonight, Jewish people around the world will light candles as we welcome Rosh HaShana, the New Year on the Jewish calender. It is customary to greet others with: “L’shana Tova / Ketivah vi-chatima Tova.” which means: “For a good year / You should be written and sealed in the good (Book of Life).”
In preparation for the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, we ask forgiveness from anyone we may have hurt, insulted, or wronged during the previous year. With the New Year, we also welcome a clean slate.
So, I guess my write-up in last year’s Book of Life was a bit sketchy. Obviously, I was written in the Book of Life because, hey, I’m still here but the timing of my diagnosis and beginning a journey where I’m actually fighting for my life is inscrutable and spiritually awakening. The Book is closing on the last year. I’m being handed a clean slate… and what will be written on that slate is still open for discussion. That’s the situation for everyone. Same for you and same for me. As the pages were thinning and we neared the end of this year, my eyes were forced open. I’m sure I’m not alone in this awakening. Surely the highly spiritual and blessed are able to embrace this reality every year. I can only speak honestly and for myself when I say this New Year is different from any other I’ve ever experienced. In the past I’ve worried and prayed for many different things. This year I’ll be praying for health. Good health for myself and every member of my family, and for my friends.
Leading up to Rosh HaShana, is a time for introspection and self examination of the soul and purpose. I want to be a kinder person and share and reflect the kindness that has been and is being shown to me. What can I change or how can I grow and be better this year? It’s a very “heavy” time.
I’ve mentioned that when I run, my mental state separates from my physical. I enter a different mindset and a different place. I don’t feel or hear my feet or my stride and my thoughts are clearer and sounder. During the few runs I’ve had since beginning this Cancer Survivor Journey, I’ve thought a lot about how I’m going to greet cancer as a turning point. How is this going to change my life and how am I going to change how my life affects others, whether it be my closest circle or even beyond. Last night, after the Sabbath, and almost erev/the eve of Rosh HaShana, I went out on a run. My thoughts swirled around running together with as many people as I can gather or convince to agree to joining me… I’ve focused on the upcoming Jerusalem race in March which includes a full marathon, half marathon, or 10K. Many friends and family members have already agreed to walk or run with me. It’s my dream to do it together with a charity to raise money for women and their families affected by cancer. I’d like to do this as a Cancer Survivor. I want to bring relief to families who are struggling through Cancer and I want to do it hand in hand with people affected by the disease… Survivors and their supporters. AND, I want those who lost a loved-one in the fight against Cancer to be able to participate in honor and in memory of their loved-ones. Having this goal is giving me so much energy and pleasure. Perhaps this isn’t the most Orthodox vision for a New Year however, I hope I’ll be able to pull it off. I hope so many of you will join me and celebrate and support Cancer Survivors and bring even more awareness to everything and everyone involved.
Good health is my new focus. It’s not a simple cliche. Without health we have nothing. The greatest gift is the gift of life, and health. I wish every reader, every friend, every family member the gift of a clean slate filled with good health for the coming year! L’Refuah Shleimah kol CholeiYisroel!
Shanah tova u’metuka! A good and sweet year to all!