I got up from shiva yesterday morning for my mother. My mother didn’t die in the community in which she was born; she didn’t die in the community in which I was raised. Instead, she died in the community in which we moved my parents to about 10 years ago, closer to one of my brothers, so that she could be cared for by one of her sons. As a result, I spent the beginning of my shiva period in a hotel. It seems that this is a growing phenomenon, given the mobility of the generations that make up the North American Jewish community today.
As a result, I was forced to go to a local synagogue for services—until I was able to come home and be surrounded and supported by my own community. And while I worried about what I might encounter, this congregation was incredibly welcoming and supportive. They saw me as a newcomer, and they quickly discerned that I was a mourner. As a result, they reached out to me—for the time I was in their community.