by Gerard Sarnat (Portola Valley, CA)
15 years ago, we flew south to be around during our 1st grandchild’s birth, then stayed a decade which included our eldest’s #2.
5 years ago, my wife and I returned home up north that night #4, of eventually 6 grandsons, arrived at a nearby hospital.
Every Friday, when both family tree branches are in town, as well as friends, we now gather at our younger daughter’s welcoming house for Shabbos.
Although meditation may offer inklings or glimmers of some higher spirit, I am a hand-me-down true-blue once-hostile Stanford community atheist.
But since others seem at least sorta believers, it’s become much easier to hospitably sit back eyes closed while enjoying my Israeli son-in-law’s gorgeous chanting.
Perhaps particularly since those Hebrew words oy remain absolutely Greek to me. Plus who could ever get enough of multi-millennial traditions
Such as three generations lighting candles, drinking from the grape, breaking bread, drumming together on this week’s most festive well-appointed table?
Gerard Sarnat won San Francisco Poetry’s 2020 Contest, the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award, plus the Dorfman Prize, and has been nominated for handfuls of 2021 and previous Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards. Gerry’s work has appeared in numerous journals and publications, including Hong Kong Review, Tokyo Poetry Journal, Buddhist Poetry Review, Northampton Review, Texas Review, Vonnegut Journal, Brooklyn Review, San Francisco Magazine, The Los Angeles Review, and The New York Times, as well as in books published by university presses such as Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, and University of Chicago. He’s authored the collections Homeless Chronicles, Disputes, 17s, and Melting the Ice King. Gerry is a Harvard-trained physician who’s built and staffed clinics for the marginalized, as well as a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO. Currently he is devoting his energy and resources to deal with climate justice, and serves on Climate Action Now’s board. Gerry’s been married since 1969 with three kids plus six grandsons, and is looking forward to potential future granddaughters. If you’d like to learn more about his work, visit his website: gerardsarnat.com