the windows


The first week, while we were sitting shiva, I spent many hours staring out the windows of our 22nd story windows. There was nowhere to go–we were alone with our grief.

I noticed little things about the city of Tel Aviv from that height–the way the shore curved alongside the hotel buildings and the color of the sky and the rhythms of the Mediterranean sea. I gauged the weather and temperature by how many guests gathered in the swimming pool below, and by what the people wore as they walked on the boardwalk along the sea.

There was a mosque next to the hotel, one with green lights in its tower. I was mesmerized by these green lights that gave me a strange hope, and I was reminded of the character of Jay Gatsy, his arms outstretched to the green light at the end of the dock. What did they mean? I emailed a friend to ask–ah, they are a welcoming light in the “official color” of Islam and a beacon to let people know that there is a place to pray.

In this country, so devastated by violence across religion, I found strange comfort in the green light of a mosque while participating in sacred Jewish rituals, and in practice of Judaism. Does that make any sense at all?


I stared at the horizon, stared below at the street, examining the vigor of Carmel Market from afar, feeling so removed and sad and alone.

Now I am leaving town, now I am sitting in an airport lounge, ready to depart. Now I am trying to remember so much and take what I can in my journey forward.



Filed under Life, SuddenDeath

2 responses to “the windows

  1. Yes, I think it does make sense to find comfort in the welcoming lights of the mosque and in the Jewish traditions of grieving– to find yourself touched by them at the same time. Both are part of what’s good about communities of faith. In the one, a reaching out; in the other, a sheltering.

    So sorry for you and your family.

  2. Thank you for your kind wishes, Kristin. I agree–in the seat of loneliness, I reached for whatever comfort I could find. And I was touched by all–the light of a mosque, and the Jewish tradition of sitting shiva…and the sunset over the Mediterranean sea, too.

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