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Meaning behind a tallit

Meaning behind a tallit

Thank you Johanna Ginsberg for your thoughtful musings in your Exit Ramp, “Losing My Religion” (May 18). As one who has left and returned to Judaism more times than I can count — and now firmly back again — I appreciated your honest soul searching and sharing with the world both the meaning of your tallit and how your relationship with it has changed over the years.

I received my first tallit from a friend of my mother’s the day after she died. My mother killed herself, and the tallit seemed like a gentle soothing each time I put it around my shoulders, as if for an instant it comforted the searing burn in my heart that had shattered at my mother’s death. When I was in Safed several years ago, I went off the beaten path and stumbled into a shop where the tallit were handwoven; I knew I wanted to pick out my own. And in doing so, I was both thrilled at the colors of the one I chose and in the next instant, humbled and saddened knowing I had just bought my burial cloth. A juxtaposition of mixed feelings, for sure.

Thanks for writing the article and sharing yourself with me. That meant a lot.

Debra Winegarten
Austin, Texas

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