Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A Memorial for Judy

Photos emerged without a video, thank goodness. 

We all knew we had to say goodbye to Judy. But no one was really up for saying goodbye.
Still, we did.  Friends and family poured into town. We talked and commiserated, remembered good and bad moments.
“When we were kids, this was how we all met through the years,” Al mentioned, reflecting on the funerals of his childhood.
Sunday, we wandered through the city with cousins, chatting and catching up, playing in the park, and strolling through the Lower East Side.
And Monday, we woke up early. Ready to say goodbye to Judy, we heard about David Bowie.  Saying goodbye to Judy and the Starman in one day - that was a hard. None of us could imagine a world without. Yet, ch changes are the only constant.
And then we walked out to the Subway, to say goodbye to Judy at Lincoln Center.  Arriving up there, we recalled that moment a few months prior with Judy. Took a Kaye walk through traffic.
We met Al just inside.  He recalled his days putting on a show for Velvet Underground there. He was now walking with a cane.
The family all met for  coffee inside.  A friend of Judy’s produced a couple of the photos of Judy and I singing together from the previous spring.
Bag pipes and pomp and circumstance, this was a state funeral.  And former Mayor Michael Bloomberg was on hand to hand the flag to one of Judy’s sons.
Read Psalm 23 and Psalm for the Dead.
“The lord is my shepherd; I shall not want...
Yea though I walk through the Shadow of darkness I will fear no evil for thin is with me ”
The Rabbi talked about the mother of justice… growing up in Monticello, walking in the footsteps of Benjamin Cardozo at their synagogue.
He recalled the Sabbath for Sharin the year prior during her Bat Mitzvah. Luminous, Judith was caring for her kids and a mother of justice. So justice, congregant, judge who brought people together,, a beloved chief judge who blessed us with her friendship,a fan of music, the language of the soul, and words, tools for the mind.  In Judith, this love of the law and the soul shone through. Sabbath for the music of her soul.
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg recalled his inaugurations with her through the years. “As elegant as she was playful…. No judge ever looked more stylish.”
“What I admired was her fearlessness,” he explained. “She had a vision for court  centered solutions.  She envisioned a community court so that people did not just cycle through the system.  And gradually, problem centered courts expanded  across the city. Her influence on the city will be felt for decades.”
Carmen Ciparick spoke next recalling arriving late for her first meeting with Judy as the second women on the court with her. Judy anticipated her late arrival, producing a bottle of champagne and a warm greeting when she finally arrived.  She recalled years of friendship as it intertwined with the problem solving courts. “Judith, you are no longer in pain… with much love Carmen.”
With red sneakers on, Sonja, recalled her as a grandmother.
“What do grandma and grandpa never say – no.”
“Isn’t my granddaughter fabulous?” she’d ask friends in her presence.  “Actually it was her.  She was fabulous.”
Luisa recalled her mother, starting with thanks.  “I want to thanks Skadden for getting her onto center stage a Lincoln center.
“I have a vision of my mother arriving in the city at 16 years old and shedding the country like a banana peel, wearing black turtle neck sweaters and going to the Bitter End in the Village.
She was playful growing up.  “No cake had your real name on it.  When Dad asked for a piece of paper, she tore a small piece, handing it to him.”
Looking through her closet, she found a pile of copies of the book,  The little Engine That Could. That was really her philosophy of life.
“I disappointed her in my 20’s when I asked her where Sax Fifth Ave was.”
“She fought for life.  When my brothers found her in bed, she was sitting up.”
And so her life’s work was like a stone which hits the water, creating circles and circles of ripples.
Finishing she referred to death be not proud by John Donne.
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,

Jonathan, her son, recalled her joy in our successes.
Gordi, her son, followed, thanking the Rabbi, noting her missed the word “favorite.  I’ll let it slide this time.”
Recalling advises and a life with a powerful mother, he recalled calling her at work to ask where his shoes were.  And she took the call, demonstrating the point, family comes first.
Finishing he asked us all to follow a bloggers advise and stand up and give his mom a standing ovation for a life well lived.
And the crowd rose to its feet.
We all cheered.
Walking out, I greeted Tish James, New York’s public advocate.
Countless, dignitaries were there.
Finishing we drove out to say goodbye.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, we said goodbye.
Offered a Kaddish for the dead.
And felt the earth.
Watching the dirt hit the ground, it felt as if the earth was
opening, Gaia opening and taking back her child.
Its primal and raw. 
Ashes to ashes dust to dust.
We are all children of this big earth.
We are all stardust  
Looking at the cold winter day, feeling it.
Laughing for a moment.
We sat Shiva.
TS Eliot is always with me in such moments.
Ash Wednesday
Because I do not hope to turn again

Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?
Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again
Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice
And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us
Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

A day in the life in New York city. 

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