by Linda Cohen (Portland, OR)
After Linda’s father died in December 2006, she began her blog, 1000 mitzvahs, as a way to move through the grief that she was feeling at that time. “It has proved to be a transforming experience both for myself and my family,” she writes. “This mitzvah project has allowed us opportunities to talk more about my father, doing mitzvahs and sharing more family stories.” The numbers below refer to the number of mitzvahs that she has performed since starting the blog.
Today is December 1, 2008. My father died two years ago today. His death also coincides with my son’s birthday which turns out to be a wonderful blessing. Solomon was so excited today to turn eight. I had left three gifts on the table and he was so happy to find them when he woke up. Later, he confessed to me that he had peeked into one of the bags while I was still asleep. When he opened the presents he never let on that this was the case. I know sometimes my husband and I wonder if our kids really need one more toy, but today Solomon was so grateful for everything that he received. There were some baseball items (hat and cards), PJ’s, Legos, several gifts of money but his most favorite gift was a boxed set of Chaotic cards. He had been coveting them for weeks at Target and I was excited when I snuck them to the cashier without him seeing a few weeks ago. He was shrill with excitement when he opened them and saw what was inside.
I spoke with my stepmother today and she had gone out for dinner with my stepsister and her family. They ate Chinese food, told stories about my dad and toasted him. Officially in Judaism, you commemorate or have someone’s “yartzeit” on the Hebrew date of their death. So I have decided that even though it is sometimes easier to remember the English date, I want this date to remain Solomon’s special day and I will light a candle in memory of my dad next week on his yartzeit, December 8th. I am sure my dad would want it this way too.
820) Referred a friend to a colleague of mine for some services.
821) Have you ever offered to do something and then really wished you hadn’t? You might wonder why did I offer to do that? I had one of those moments this weekend and was even contemplating how I could get out of it. It was kind of a misunderstood offer that would require about an hour of my time which in itself was no big deal, it was just that it was in combination with my son’s birthday party on an already busy day. In the end, I just figured I should make the best of it and did, and you know what? Attitude is everything because it turned out to be exactly what I needed at that time of the day.
822) Offered to drive two children to Solomon’s party to help out the parents.
823, 824 & 825) Donated a gift certificate to a Mitten Tree project, as well as coordinated a donation of hand creams and purchased some baby clothes for the project.
826) Brought new magazines to my gym to donate to the reading area.
827) Donated in memory of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivkah Holzberg of Mumbai, India.
Linda Cohen considers herself a young, hip Jewish mother who does what modern Jewish mothers do. They bring the traditions into the 21st century. They take care of their families, their communities and get involved with organizations they care for passionately.
Linda feels blessed to be married to her insightful “renaissance” husband. She’s also the mother of two spirited and exuberant children who keep her laughing and always keep her humble. They all live in Portland, Oregon with their Cavalier Spaniel.
You can read more about her work at http://1000mitzvahs.wordpress.com/ where this piece first appeared. It’s reprinted here with permission of the author.