Feed on

Hello, friends.  Perhaps you are reading this in your PJs, or you took the big step today to shower, put product in your hair, and zip into jeans.  It’s 7:48 AM as I write this, coffee by my side, in my flannel yellow duck PJs.

But here’s really what I want to talk about. We recently announced a new class that I am teaching starting next week on April 16 about writing your ethical will.  I thought I’d write a bit about why I’m doing this.

Here’s the flyer for the class. You are invited to attend.

Although the incentive to teach this class is not really related to the fact that we are facing a worldwide pandemic right now, the effort to change it from an in-person class originally to be offered in May, 2020 to an online class offered for the next three Thursdays in April, when we will all still be home, is directly related to what we are all facing.

Since you might want to consider attending you might be curious about why I am teaching it. Yes, I’ll tell you that, because I always love to read about the background of things, and people.   But let me step back two steps so everyone is with me.

What is an ethical will?  It’s a document that describes what you care about in life. That’s it in a nutshell.  The document does have its roots in Judaism.  For example, here is the Wikipedia entry

I honestly can’t remember when I first heard the term.  But around fifteen years ago, I decided I liked the idea of the ethical will enough to create a class around it, to teach at our synagogue, Temple Beth Emeth.  Honestly, it was partly an incentive to get my own ethical will done!  Also, I spent time interviewing my parents about their thoughts on it.  (Not the only thing I interviewed them about.  I spent hours recording their thoughts on family history, their childhood, and really enjoyed hearing what they had to say.)

Yes, I did get it done fifteen years ago. Then fast forward to Sept, 2019.  Two congregants at my synagogue asked me at High Holiday services if I would teach this class again.  I put about two seconds of thought into the question, then said “YES!”  (Thank you Bette Cotzin and Stu Simon for asking me!)  Rabbi Josh Whinston helped me with the details.

In the last year, I completed another memoir, which could be seen as an ethical will as well, especially the chapter that answers the question, “What makes your faith stronger?” But my new memoir, From the Period. To the Colon: Memoir of a Child Writer is 325 pages.  It was so comforting to have this book done, about so much in my life that is important to me. But obviously its not a one-sitting read, which every writer knows is the optimum length if we want something read!

And then corona virus came into our lives. Yes, I’m scared, but I’m hopeful, and like you, I’m just trying to survive.   I’m excited about the class, because I will (and you will, if you register) have the opportunity to create an ethical will with a one-quick-sitting length of 600-1200 words—the length of one or two typed pages.  As we sit at home in our pjs, trying to stay alive as we wash our hands,  this seems like the perfect time to hone in on, as Nietzche called it, the “why.” What do we cling to in life?  “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” — Nietzche  (Read my poem, Virus, Why Us?  about this thought here.)

So if you took my class fifteen years ago, please return and give your ethical will a facelift.  If you never took this class, please attend!   There is a registration form attached to the flyer here.  It’s a free class, and you don’t need to be a member of our synagogue to attend.

Do you have questions for me?  Please write to me at debbiemerion@gmail.com.

Stay safe, and stay well, friends!

Leave a Reply