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It took twelve years to tell this story. Twelve years of triumph and defeat, of ecstasy and misery, of tears and laughter and throwing up my hands in dismay only to clap them together in joyous applause. Twelve years of struggling to nurse my babies.
In an era when most women could not even read lashon hakodesh, and Turkish was the vernacular in Eretz Yisrael, Rachel Luzzatto-Morpurgo was a prolific poet in the Holy Tongue. Her sonnets, written in lashon hakodesh and spiced with references to psukim and Torah concepts, were published to wide acclaim and popularity. This remarkable woman was two centuries before her time; her poetry is as relevant today as it was then.
The last few months of my mother’s life, I constantly worried about her death. What would it be like? Would she suffer? Or would she die peacefully in her sleep, as I requested daily in my prayers? Would I be with her? Would she be alone? Would it be too painful for my children to watch? And what of Ofelia, her dedicated caretaker of ten years? Would she be able to handle it?
Even if we don’t admit it, most of us hope that our children will follow in our hashkafic footsteps. So it can come as a big surprise when a kid goes off the family derech, choosing to move down — or up — the Yiddishkeit ladder.