I recently celebrated my birthday. Looking back, I reflected on the years that have gone by. The long and convoluted road, the path whose shades have altered, the ups and downs, the changes, the successes, the question marks – some were answered, and some remain unresolved… wow, what a fascinating journey.
Birthdays are an important moment in life, a chance to look back and review what transpired and think about what is to come. The song by Arik Lavie is a reminder of the important cliché to make the most out of every moment in life, because nothing is known, and we cannot really do it all again. This maxim has always moved me forward, and today, at age 46, after the “normative” journey of school, army, higher education, advancing up the career ladder and simultaneously giving birth to three heirs, I am at a different place. Not a standard place for me. With the insights of the fifth decade of life and the energies of the second decade; with a desire to touch upon the soft, tender places.
One significant event altered my perspective and brought about a change.
Five years ago, we were told of the sudden death of my aunt Abigail Korach. Abigail was my father’s sister. She was 70 years old when she passed away of cardiac arrest. For me, she was like a second mother. When I would think of my childhood, Abigail’s image was always present in my memories.
She was about 20 years old when she decided she wanted to make a different life for herself, to make her mark working with children, to teach the Torah and the love of Israel in New York. And so, with no funding, education or personal ties, she left for the United States one day and slowly developed herself. She was a teacher at Jewish day schools. She never had a family of her own. At age 60 she was diagnosed with advanced stage cancer, but she did not give up and she overcame the disease. She lived for another decade, cancer free, but then her heart failed.
The moments when a person is suddenly gone from your life are difficult, painful and jarring moments which shed a different light on reality. These are moments when we begin to wonder about our place in the world, with a lot of “why” and other question marks, that we usually cannot answer. Abigail’s departure from this world caused me to think that there are other people who experience pain due to the death of a loved one; that there is a void, a longlining and there are physical and spiritual needs which are not all met nowadays. Because Abigail was buried in Israel, her friends and acquaintances from the United States do not come to memorial services here in Israel. This caused me to think of the possibility that there are other people in a similar situation who would like to preserve the memory and the physical connection with their loved one’s gravesite. A year and a half ago I founded an initiative called nerzikaron.com, which allowed any person to order memorial services of his choosing through us, and we held them on his behalf. There was much interest and enormous feedback. We realized there is much we can do in this field and give back to the community.
These insights and others brought about the decision to transform NERZIKARON into something much larger, to expand the vision.
FOREVERLY is a foundation which supplies the most extensive set of services in the field of the “day after death”. Our services can begin at the time before death and include assistance and support, or they can focus on commemoration and memory, through practical and technological solutions. At the basis of this initiative is a great appreciation for the fact that someone in this world made sure to give me life, and I love life and value life. I also understand more than anything that every person is significant, and this is the motivation which drives FOREVERLY.