(510) 859-4718 customersupport@namw.org

Sarah Birnbach
A Daughter’s Kaddish: My Year of Grief, Devotion, and Healing
October 6, 2022
4 PM PDT | 5 PM MDT | 6 PM CDT | 7 PM EDT

When my father died, I had a singular focus: to show God that my father’s soul was worthy of His positive judgment and to ensure the gift of eternal life in Paradise for my Dad’s soul. To do this I broke from Jewish tradition and undertook a prayer practice historically reserved for males.

My father believed that the redemption of his soul depended on the recitation of the Mourner’s Kaddish prayer in the presence of a 10-person quorum, called a minyan, twice daily for 11 months. Reciting the Mourner’s Kaddish is believed to prove to God, by the behavior of the sons, that the deceased was a worthy person.  The soul of the deceased is in the hands of his descendants. The problem for my father: he had only daughters.

My story begins with my father’s funeral but flashes back to the day when my Dad, reflecting on his mortality, asked me to hire a male to recite the Mourner’s Kaddish for him after he died.  Caught completely off guard, I agreed. But 23 years later, when my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I knew I could no longer keep my promise.

A Daughter’s Kaddish recounts the challenges of a feminist woman, whose job required extensive travel, to persevere through an unfamiliar patriarchal world of prayer. To honor my beloved father, I incorporated these religious and spiritual practices into my already hectic 21st-century life while struggling with the heavy emotional distress of grief.

As a novice worshipper and single working mother, I encountered many obstacles, including objections to my prayer practice because of my gender, my daughter’s near-fatal car accident, an incident that tore my synagogue apart, and my mother’s dismissiveness.

When I undertook this act of devotion, my sole focus was to give my father’s soul the gift of eternal peace. But I learned through my journey that I was the recipient of many gifts.

Writers will learn:

  • About Jewish mourning rituals
  • See the importance of rituals to help us move through grief
  • Learn ways to support and comfort mourners
  • Find ways from my story to heal from their grief
  • See that with determination and dedication, one’s goals can be achieved

 

Bio
Sarah Birnbach began her encore career as a non-fiction writer in 2016 after successful careers as a human resources management consultant and a family therapist in a juvenile court. As a sought-after speaker at conferences she delivered more than 500 presentations and workshops. Through her professional life she dedicated herself to enabling individuals to become their best selves.

Sign up below to receive Zoom access information and recording.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from NAMW.

You have Successfully Subscribed!