Working Backward

After my previous-minus-one post, the wise Miss Em delicately asked that I not try too hard to put out little storycrafted works of literature. That I should just tell y’all what I’ve been up to. Fair enough. And there are plenty of noteworthy things over the past month that I’ve let go by the wayside, so let me do some backfilling here.

First: Yay, Mom!

Jem and MomMany of you know my mom (psst: she’s reading this right now!). I’m enormously proud of her, not only for her accomplishments, but for how she’s come about them, and why. Some of you know the story of how, as her kids were leaving the house for college, she decided to go back to school. Got her Bachelors degree, then Masters, then Ph.D. and began teaching Biblical History. Got hired as the first female professor for a rabbinical seminary and has already taught a generation of new rabbis who adore her. In the process, became a renown scholar and award-winning author examining traditional texts with an inclusive, feminist perspective. Heck – she has her own Wikipedia page. I, Mr. Internet-connected Silicon Valley fancy-pants don’t have one. She does.

So – pretty awesome stuff for a mom, eh? There was one thing that she’d not done, though, that had been weighing on her. In spite of all these years of teaching rabbis, she’d never actually gone through the process herself, run the course and been ordained. She’d started twice, only to be interrupted by personal tragedies. But last year she went back to her studies.

There were some awkward things about going back to school at this stage of a career. Many of her professors were former students of hers, and felt self-conscious asking her to write assigned papers on topics where she had, quite literally, “written the book”. But everyone could see that it was important to her to go through these steps, to not be treated deferentially or given a “pass” with a nod.

And so two weeks ago, Devon, I and the sullen teens (just kidding, you two) flew ourselves down to LA to join the rest of the family, her students, her professors and her friends to watch as she was ordained Rabbi Tamara Cohn Eskenazi. We’re soooo freakin’ proud.

(There was a bunch of other stuff that weekend, too. Did I mention that we flew ourselves down to LA? Was a gorgeous Saturday afternoon trip down the coastal valley with beautiful seascapes to the west and spectacular mountains to the east. I swear, I exposed the kids to too much flying when they were young – everyone was lost in their laptops and iPads while I oohed and ahhed over the landscape unfolding below us.)

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