Please enter your username and password below.
We were in downtown Chicago on Feb. 17 when my wife Galit got the first call. Our niece Maya, 24, had been in a bad car accident near our house, some 28 miles outside the city. Her parents were away, so we needed to come to the hospital. We were told that in the person driving the car was also injured, but that person was unconscious and the paramedics and police officers on the scene hadn’t been able to ascertain her identity. It wasn’t a mystery for long. Minutes later, Galit’s phone rang again: The driver of the car was our daughter Becky, 23. Forty minutes later—an eternity—we were led to Becky and Maya’s bedsides. Later that day, sequestered in Becky’s hospital room, shades drawn against the winter gloom, we were alone in a frigid, fluorescent ecosystem of monitors, IVs, and white lab coats. We were overwhelmed and lost track of time. Before long, we had to consult our phones just to remember what day it was. Becky—asleep or semiconscious most of the time, the entire left side of her body battered and lacerated—appeared pallid and unchanging, like her environment. Maya, whose jaw had been shattered, was conscious, but her face was swollen both from that impact and the reconstructive surgery that followed. For the next three days, the girls’ families settled into neighboring bunkers of anxiety, exhaustion, and vigilance, meeting with teams of doctors, responding to calls from worried friends and relatives, taking turns dashing home to keep our households from being swallowed by the chaos. It was on one of those trips home, on Feb. 19, that I saw the Jewish calendar hung by our back door and realized that it would soon be Purim. How ironic, I thought: We’re supposed to be happy, to down some drinks, and give tzedakah—and here we were, miserable, sober, self-absorbed. In that moment, the holiday seemed more of a cruel joke than an object lesson in mindfulness and gratitude. Little did I know at the time how important that calendar would become. Continue reading.
Every purchase you make through our marketplace helps to support us financially.