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Lori’s Line

Since the day mom died, one date on the calendar has loomed big, bold and daunting: March 19.

Next Tuesday is the birthday that mom never got to celebrate, the day we should be eating cake, not missing someone we love so much.

Has it really been almost three months since that horrific December? It seems like years, like I haven’t seen her, talked with her, held her hand in forever.

Death sucks, to say the least, it sucks for the dead and for the living.

We all miss her so much. The time between the painful moments grows, but the pain does not dull. Just starting to write some of these words whips me out of a normal day in the office and back into the reality of loss.

But let’s also be honest about all that mom accomplished. Her greatest treasure, for her the proof of her life’s worth, were me and Shanna. She loved her husband(s), she loved her parents more than anything (except for when she worried whether they were nice or not), she was proud of her work and all she gave to her community. But her identity was in us. Lori was the mother of David and Shanna, the rabbi and the physical therapist.

This is the line of Lori, Lori begot two children: David and Shanna.

It reads like a verse from Torah. That’s no coincidence. So many sections begin their description of a person’s accomplishments based on their lineage. “This is the line of Noah – Noah was a righteous man; he was blameless in his age.” “This is the line of Isaac, son of Abraham…” The list goes on.

Our greatness is not always in what we do, more often it is what we leave behind.

Which is not to fill this page with a gloating of my sister or myself. To the contrary. Mom’s failure was in not realizing that she left this world so much more than just the two of us. She left a city changed, a community inspired, friends moved, a family built.

Lori’s line is more than her two kids. Lori’s line is a fundamental gift to the community, a new lens through which we can understand what it means to believe that there is right and wrong in a topsy turvy world, to believe that we have an obligation to do good, to believe that there are things you do because your gut says you’re supposed to, that we with abundance must give to those without, that our worth in this world is discovered through the most unintentional ways in which we create meaning, find purpose, give back.

Lori’s Line is about more than one person, two people. Lori’s Line is about a community better because of someone we knew and loved. Someone who filled this world with more good than we ever could have known while she was here.

And Lori’s Line, as it should be, is about clothing, the one thing Lori may have adored more than life itself.

Today, the Jewish Gift Closet – San Diego Community Community G’mach – with the help of my family and Hillel of San Diego dedicated a special line of upper end clothing in my mom’s memory. Lori’s Line will help those in need find clothing for job interviews and special occasions, to be dressed properly to help turn their lives around during their most trying and important moments.

Lori’s Line will wed high fashion with acts of righteousness. I cannot imagine a more fitting tribute to my mom. I cannot imagine a better birthday present for her.

Just this morning, the line collected 5 racks filled to the brim with clothing, shoes, purses and cosmetics. Contributions in the form of lightly used items or money can be made directly to the G’mach, through there website here.

Happy birthday mom. I miss you.


One Comment Post a comment
  1. Rachel Ahava #

    Rabbi Singer,
    I have been reading your articles about your mother’s passing, and about how we remember and honor people after they’re gone. I really love that you brought up that a persons legacy is more than just their children. I am a junior in college, and over the past four years I have lost one friend to cancer,two to suicide, and another to gun violence. And what I have found is that its the small moments that are the most important. Odd little moments that have the most heartfelt repercussions. You’re right, it really sucks to be left behind, but the beauty is in knowing people at all, for all of their quirks (my friend Alex requested that his memorial card have “FUCK CANCER” written in italics beneath his photo), we are left to honor them in as many ways as we possibly can. Personally, the best thing that I have found is to live as much as possible, and as positively as possible.
    Rachel Ahava Rosenfeld

    April 24, 2013

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