To Mourn a Child Discussion Evening (Full Audio)

March 25, 2014


The OU Press held a Discussion Evening in honor of the publication of To Mourn A Child: Jewish Responses to Neonatal and Childhood Death on March 20.


Welcome and Introduction:
Rabbi Jeffrey Saks | Director, ATID/, Co-Editor

Panel Discussion of essayists:
Moderator: Rabbi David Fine | Dean, Barkai Center for Practical Rabbinics
Dr. Benjamin Corn | Professor of Oncology, Tel Aviv University, Founder and Executive Chairman, Life’s Door-Tishkofet
Drs. Dassi and Dan Jacobson | Psychologists in private practice
Mrs. Yonit Rothchild | Author and writer

To Mourn a Child Discussion Evening at the OU Center

March 13, 2014

tomournachildThe OU Press invites you to a discussion evening in honor of the publication of:

To Mourn a Child: Jewish Responses to Neonatal and Childhood Death

March 20, 2014/18 Adar II 5774
8:00 p.m.
OU Israel Center, 22 Keren Hayesod Street, Jerusalem

With a panel of experts and essayists on the subject, and with an introduction by editor Rabbi Jeffrey Sacks.

Click here for more information.

The Unthinkable Loss

July 21, 2013

From TorahMusings.comtomournachild

I cried on Tisha B’Av. Not for the destroyed Temple we were mourning, to which most of us have trouble relating, but because of a book that served as my primary Tisha B’Av reading. R. Jeffrey Saks’ and Dr. Joel Wolowelsky’s To Mourn A Child: Jewish Responses to Neonatal and Childhood Death (published by OU Press, with which I am closely connected) is haunting, terrifying but comforting.

The collection of essays, primarily by parents who have lost children, touches on every parent’s worst nightmare. How do you recover from losing the child in whom you invested so much time and emotion, to whom you have dedicated not only effort but hope and dream and the deepest kind of love? As each parent (and a brother and a few professionals) tells his story, the answer becomes clear. Everyone copes differently. Each child is unique; each parent is different. There is no single road to recovery.

However, reading the different stories, you sense that there is hope. There is a path for returning to life, for continuing despite the irreplaceable loss. Everyone’s story is different but learning that alone is crucial. Misery loves company, not out of masochism or role reversal but because it relieves the loneliness and confusion that compound the pain. The recognition that others understand your loss, not just abstract knowledge that other people have felt the pain but concrete realization of their similar experiences, creates a bridge out of your darkness.

Most of these stories are heart breaking–a mother and daughter both write about losing a child! Only read this book if you are willing to enter a world of emotional pain. This is a difficult book for the average reader but indispensable for someone enveloped in tragedy. I imagine that someone suffering from such a loss will find not comfort but commiseration in these personal tales. Reading other people’s lessons from despair might help one find his own lessons, his own bridge out of the darkness.

To Mourn a Child: Jewish Responses to Neonatal and Childhood Death

May 30, 2013

From The Jewish Action:tomournachild

A Bible scholar once commented that the Bible would have been profoundly incomplete had it not included the Book of Job. Written according to tradition by Moses, the Book of Job describes the suffering that befalls people for no apparent reason.

Nachmanides observed that our inability to account for the suffering of the guiltless represents the biggest challenge to, and unanswered question within, religious faith. These questions assail any honest, sensitive religious person, but often we distract ourselves – after all, why dwell on them? Nothing, however, shocks or focuses us more intently on these agonizing questions than the death of a child. In the realm of human experience, the death of a child is surely one of the most emotionally wrenching events. For a parent, the grief and pain are unendurable. In To Mourn a Child, Jeffrey Saks and Joel Wolowelsky have assembled an anthology which consists primarily of personal accounts written by parents who experienced the death of a child. In addition, there are essays by rabbis and healthcare professionals and selections from traditional Jewish sources.

Many currents flow through the book: theological and Read the rest of this entry »