Sara and Reb Zalman

Sara and Reb Zalman

Sara Davidson is the New York Times best-selling author of Loose Change, Leap! and Joan: Forty Years of Love, Loss and Friendship with Joan Didion.

A few years ago, she was surprised by a call from Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, a colorful and brilliant rabbi of 89, asking her to talk with him about the December Project. “When you can feel in your cells that you’re coming to the end of your tour of duty,” he said, “what is the spiritual work of this time, and how do we prepare for the mystery?” She jumped at the chance to spend time with him, and they met every Friday for two years. Read More

 

“Thoroughly engaging, this book about the winter season of life glitters with insight and wisdom – for all our years.”  —Andrew Weil, MD
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Reb Zalman’s Last Breath

His leaving was as unconventional as his teaching and his life.

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi wanted no casket, no plain pine box. For his funeral, held on the fourth of July, he wanted to be clothed in his white kittel (prayer robe), enfolded in his father’s tallis (prayer shawl), sprinkled with ashes brought from Auschwitz, then shrouded in white linen and lowered directly into the earth near his home in Boulder, CO.

He wanted the ashes buried with him in honor of his uncle, cousins, and the millions who’d died without receiving “a holy burial.”

It felt wrenching to shovel dirt onto his body. It also felt a privilege.

Carrying his body to the grave site.

Carrying his body to the grave.

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