THE YIZKOR CANDLE by Jacqueline Becker as it appears in MSK anthology



     It was time to light the Yizkor, or memorial candle.  We traditionally light it during the week of shiva, or mourning.  We light it at sundown just before we light the four major holiday candles.  We also light it on the anniversary of the death of a close member the family.  The candle represents the soul.  Yizkor is the command verb to remember.  It would translate into:  “He SHALL remember.”  Remembering is imperative in our religion.  The candle is meant to burn a full 24 hours. 

    When our department took our supervisor out to celebrate her retirement, we went to a small, lovely Mexican restaurant.  It was late afternoon and the staff began to light the candles on our table.  My colleague-friend, Debbi, looked at me and I looked back at her.  We were the only ones who understood.  We burst out in laughter.  We could not hold back as the tears streamed down our cheeks.     To be continued tomorrow…


Mother’s Day is here!  We have an unusual tradition that my daughter invented.  My daughter and I celebrate Mother’s Day together the day before Mother’s Day.   She devotes almost the entire day and we spend it together doing girl things.  We chit chat over tea.  We buy junk jewelry.  We wander in and out and about town.  We sit down to lunch.  We get reflexology.  It is truly a great gift because my daughter is so busy.  I have to thank my son-in-law and my grandkids for sparing their mom for the entire day.  It makes us feel younger – like when my daughter was in high school.

On the real Mother’s Day, my daughter is the mother that her children celebrate.

She brought me a card and flowers and asked my granddaughter and grandson to sign.  My granddaughter sent me a “jewel.”  My grandson who is older and can write, refused to sign.

“It’s Mother’s Day,” the six year old lawyer inside him said.  “It’s not Grandmother’s Day,” he explained.

And the more I think about it, the more I respect his judgement to honor his Mother on this day!  And my daughter promised me that he will get me a card on Grandparents day!








This lady clearly loves flowers but her yard is slightly overgrown and there are odd pots strewn here and there.  Her house is a little run down and I can relate.  Once I got joy from doing the gardening and my daughter even bought me special  garden knee pads to help me with my work.   But my knees now hurt and I am afraid that if I go down on them, I may never get up.  Besides, I can only do a certain amount in the day, and writing and doing art has replaced my love of gardening.  I can see letting the house go a little at a time because that is how aging happens, a little at a time.  And at this point in my life, I became Cindi Lauper:  I JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN!

Nonetheless, I am very fond of this lady and her house and her garden and perhaps I will get a dog!


I was raised to believe that all of human intelligence can be found on the shelves of our libraries.  I have been told that my book RAGING AGAINST AGING is a mix of wisdom and wit.  Anyone of the over 100 readers, please consider donating a copy to YOUR library.  And remember, I donate a portion of proceedings to Memorial Sloan Kettering for cancer research for the sake of my children and grandchildren.


I was never interested in my larger family.  I grew up in a small, insular community, and heard stories, and saw photos but no one put the stories and photos together.  No one gave these people life.  My mother was a very negative person.  So, I turned my back, went to therapy, and spent years trying to untangle the web my mother had created.  And now, I am lonely and aging, and my daughter had gotten my grandson interested in DNA and so, long story short, I managed TO FIND a real second cousin I never knew existed!  And here we are.    It is true you cannot pick your family members.  BUT imagine how great it is to find a relative you connect with and actually like!  It fills that emptiness and together you bond and fill in gaps and connect dots and share stories with.  And MARLA is a pro at this- for real.  I am just the lucky recipient!  And if Marla and I lived closer we would probably light the Chanukah menorah together!  And we will in our hearts!

10 Days to My Book Talk

Feel free to contact or call 593-6364 or email or text me.   HOPE TO SEE YOU THEN.

10 Days to my Book Talk and 12 until CHANUKAH!

I AM ON THE PODCAST -guest of Rabbi Address. INTERVIEW about my book

If you go to you will see that I am the featured guest of Rabbi Address.  He interviews me for 26 minutes about my new book:  RAGING AGAINST AGING kicking & screaming, laughing & crying, stretching & kvetching.  Available NOW on and Kindle.

MY (unproofed) BOOK ARRIVED!

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I came home to find my (unproofed) book in my mailbox.  It is weird to hold a book I have written.  My mother would tell me that my father would be so proud.  He revered books.  AND THIS WHOLE JOURNEY STARTED RIGHT HERE – on wordpress – in the form of a blog; a blog I started to keep my sanity, or at least the part of it that was left.  So thank you  Thank you to the people who invented and perfected the computer.  Thank you to Microsoft Words for Word.  Thank you to Apple for the MacBook Pro.  Thank you to Amazon for filling a void.  Thank you to my Oceanside Union School District for providing me with the stories the children told.  Thank you to my friends and colleagues for listening and laughing all these years to my stories.  You encouraged me without knowing it.  Thank you to the School of Hard Knocks for providing me with more than a lifetime of experiences.  Thank you to the Facebook group Belarus Genealogy and Ancestral Travel for your outpouring of comments on a small post I wrote on the website.  After 76 people responded, my husband told me that post should be a chapter.  So, I dedicate chapter 7, JEWISH GENEALOGY to you.   Thank you to the Facebook group Yiddish Shmaltz, Shmooze, and everything Jewish.  When I posted questions about Yiddish words I remembered but was unsure of, you answered my questions, thus, contributing to my book.  They are sprinkled throughout the book as I could not find any good alternatives.  Thank you to Pratt Institute for the training I received as a designer.  I learned that form must follow function and how to organize space.  A book is blank space that needs to be filled and organized.  It must serve a purpose.  Thank you to Yeshiva of Flatbush for the deep, if rather orthodox and rigid, education.  You gave me a fabulous foundation in critical thinking.  Thank you to everyone who has touched my life.  Whether you knew it or not – I WAS listening!