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October 21, 2010 - Image 54

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2010-10-21

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Arts & Entertainment

Sy

vallable for Private
Parties

Read

S

Now is the erfect moment for enhancing your energy told.
It's the spiritual sense that everything is possible.

Finding Hope

* International reader with over 45 years of experience
* Find ways to change the things you wish to change
* Get answers to specific questions on relationships,
family, career, business & health or difficult
decisions
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I

Rabbi Naomi Levy's advice on facing
life's obstacles comes from her own
experience.

Andrea Sachs
Time.com

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50

October 21 • 2010

f there's a fast track for mem-
bers of the clergy, Rabbi Naomi
Levy was on it. She was in the
first class of women admitted to
study to become rabbis at the Jewish
Theological Seminary of America and
the first female Conservative rabbi
to lead a congregation on the West
Coast. By July 2001, she was a pub-
lished author, lecturing around the
U.S., teaching rabbinical students and
counseling. She was also happily mar-
ried with an 8-year-old son, Adi, and a
6-year-old daughter, Noa.
Then came the phone call that over-
turned everything. During a festive
Sabbath dinner, Noa's doctor called
to say that Levy's daughter had a rare,
fatal degenerative disorder called
ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T).
What happened next is the subject
of Levy's moving new book, Hope Will
Find You: My Search for the Wisdom to
Stop Waiting and Start Living.
Time magazine spoke to the rabbi
about her daughter's
condition, how it chal-
lenged Levy's faith and
how she found new
sources of strength.

I imagine that
some people think
that members of the
clergy have no prob-
lems themselves.
Yes, I think there's
an assumption that
all is well. I think that
part of it is that we
see our parents as
strong or as perfect
or that their role is to help us. It's very
rare that a child will say to a parent,
"Is everything O.K.?" because we fall
into a comfort zone assuming that
everything is O.K. with our parent. So
I think part of it is that kind of projec-
tion.

How did you first find out that
your daughter Noa had health prob-
lems?
She didn't walk until she was 2, and

Rabbi Naomi Levy

even then she never really got out of
the phase of toddling. At 3, 4, 5, she
was still sort of walking like a toddler,
falling down. So there were signs that
there was something going on, but I
don't think we were prepared to see it
as a significant problem.

So what did you do after the diag-
nosis from Noa's doctor?
I fell apart. Time
stopped. I stopped
preaching, I stopped
teaching, I stopped
writing. My sole focus
was to find a way to
fix Noa.
The situation I was
in dovetailed with my
career as a spiritual
counselor. The over-
whelming majority
of counseling cases
that I do as a rabbi
have consistently been
around the issue of
"my life will begin
when ..." and people waiting, feeling
that what they're doing now isn't really
their life. That they're waiting for a
certain piece to fall into place and then
life will begin.
It could be somebody 20 coming
to see me, it could be somebody 65,
somebody 40, it doesn't seem to really
matter. The theme remains the same:
"My life will begin when ... When I can
quit this job, when I get this job, when
I get married, when I get divorced,

Photo by JIII Es hman

A

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