Thursday, August 18, 2011

to cover her eyes and sing

Cindy Jeanne Cohen (1949 - 2011)

I will not be able to put into words the depth of sorrow I feel for the passing of Cindy Cohen. So, perhaps it would be best to crystalize the memories and meanings of my childhood as seen from the innocent view of the “children's table”. It was here that it truly began-- my Jewish childhood; not in the hallways of Hebrew school or dressed up in that flattering teal bat mitzvah dress, but perched into the fold-out card table at the end of another Passover dinner; an unfathomable seder plate spread out with untouchable and curious tasting nuggets of history.

And then, there was Cindy: the good-smelling unspoken conductor of it all who would be gracefully pulling things out of the oven while simutaneously stirring things in the pot, brewing the decaf, and controlling the little dogs. Cindy was a Master of Ceremony. But in my eyes and in my heart, Cindy held just one beautiful purpose- to cover her eyes and sing. When she this, all time stopped, and even my young heart understood that what was happening was timeless and sacred. She was my corner stone, her face now eternally etched into my memory with peace and sacrality; bathing in the candle light soft with her own love and affection.

Every year, for just about all of them, the Carmona family would walk down Conifer Street to the Cohen's house dressed in our holiday best. We would walk together past the crickets and the creek, already hungry for Charoset, this exodus as a family becoming more important then I will ever realize. Even as I grew into a teenager showing up drunk on wine coolers or home from college and feeling like the self-righteous Buddhist, I showed up. We always made it to the Passover table. Even now, with our own kids and new families, the new dogs and new vegetarian recipes, tradition remains the simple act of coming together. These precious evenings came together not without the strong and supportive husbands, the tolerable if not excited children, timeless friendships, gifts of good food and abundance, of loving servitude, perseverance, and now a deeply felt humility.

It is undeniable that Cindy will be missed and always loved. I am so grateful for her life and her friendship and her gifts. May we all learn from her to be reverent of tradition and generous with body and spirit.

Rest in Infinite Peace dear Cindy Cohen.

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