It was the best of times and the worst of times….
With the help of Hashem, we launched the first full-day yeshiva program for boys with Down syndrome and developmental delays within a mainstream yeshiva.
With great excitement and anticipation we planned and prepared for Moishey’s Bar Mitzvah.
And then…my dearest, darling mother became very ill and died.
Yes, it was indeed the best of times and the worst of times.
Yeshiva Bonim Lamokom started in September ’01 with great joy and fanfare. We had a mezuzah-affixing ceremony to herald the opening of this wonderful yeshiva. Attended by the students, parent body, relatives, friends, dignitaries, and the ‘chashuva’ Board of Directors of the mainstream Yeshiva Torah Vodaath, the celebration consisted of heartwarming speeches, food, music, dancing, and the mezuzah-hanging. It was a wonderful beginning for something so special and long awaited in our community. But, what was, and is, even more special is the year that followed that opening ceremony, and the comfortable second year that the yeshiva is now into (See Greetings From…).
With the yeshiva in ‘working order’ and with all the administrative duties having fallen on my shoulders, I was quite overwhelmed, to say the least. Therefore, I put the magazine on the back burner and hoped that my reading audience would forgive me until things calmed down and my life took on more of a semblance of ‘normalcy’. And then ‘the bomb’ dropped my dear mother a’h, who had been in remission for a while, was re-diagnosed with a dreaded disease, which had metastasized with a vengeance. So here I was, raising a family, running a yeshiva, and attempting to be a helpful and supportive daughter to a very ill mother. Fall, winter and spring of last year were seasons that I’d rather not remember, yet don’t think I shall ever forget.
The ecstasy and agony climaxed almost simultaneously in the Spring, when our yeshiva ‘bochurim’ celebrated their first ‘siyum mishnayos’ in a ceremony attended by well over 100 people, and my dear mother breathed her last breath on Friday, 28 Iyar, May 10, ’02.
What an end to such a beautiful woman and a beautiful life (See Grandparents’ Page).
With that harrowing ordeal over, it was time to prepare the children for camp and then really start to concentrate on Moishey’s Bar Mitzvah. So, in reality, my daily schedule really did not ease up; it just changed. Instead of pacing hospital corridors and processing CSE (Committee on Special Education) documents, I was now (the yeshiva was closed for the summer, with its students having all left for summer camp) fully involved in the simcha preparations. What a bittersweet chapter in our lives. How Moishey missed his ‘Bobby’ and asked for her all the time. That hole in my heart was not shrinking.
Moishey’s Bar Mitzvah was a most beautiful and joyous occasion and I would like to share my review with my dear readers (See Moishey`s Bar Mitzvah). So, here I am, approximately 21 months after having last produced an issue of Down Syndrome Amongst Us, asking my readers for forgiveness and hoping that this issue can make up for the lost time.
This article first appeared in issue #11 of Down Syndrome Amongst Us