In the United States, and certainly in New York City, summer is promoted as the season for fun, a time for light-hearted activities, going on vacations or stay-cations. We are urged to get out and enjoy things. Hey, there's no school (unless you opt it for it, or failed enough classes during the semester) and there are opportunities abounding that you don't have access to during the rest of the year.

In many ways, there is pressure to have fun. This can cause anxiety (look around, am I having less fun that those people over there?) and by the time the summer is over, many people (and at times I) have felt that they didn't do enough to make the summer worth it. I know many teachers and school staff in particular, who get the end-of-summer-dread feeling as they turn the calendar page to August. Ahhh, the promise and potential of late June and early July turn into the waning days of summer.

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The Jewish tradition even encroaches upon the "have a party, it's summer" mood. We have the somber days of the Three Weeks, the Nine Days, and Tisha B'Av. Okay, after that live it up but then here comes Elul and that "start to take stock in your life" attitude.
Can't catch a break for fiesta-time, can we? Oy vey!


As a child I usually loved summer, summer day camp and then summer sleep away camp. Vacations with family and then with friends. As I've grown older I admit I've felt more pressure and I end up comparing past summers to the current edition. Such is life.

This summer did start off quite promising. We had a fun July 4th weekend, my daughters were enjoying sleep away camp (younger child) and the First Summer Job (older daughter) even with a bit too much rainfall than we'd all have wanted. But hey, California has a drought, we should not complain here! There is sunshine a' plenty.

But then we heard terrible news, that a woman we know had died. This woman, a wife and mother of four children, had apparently succumbed to cancer at the too-young age of 46. I had known her for 11 years and while never a close friend, I did like her and felt that she was a pleasant, sweat person who seemed to have a charmed life. Happy family, comfortable financial situation, many friends, and so on.

I learned about this on Sunday early evening, and we are all saddened by this. My older daughter is friendly with two of the woman's kids. My brother was friendly with the husband back in high school. There is rarely a "good time" to die, but this is especially awful. Heavy. The complete opposite of summer. I feel so badly for the family and particularly for the children. To have your mother die young of a terrible disease is never good, and here it happens in the summer.

It puts things in perspective. Try to enjoy life while you can but realize that there is always someone hurting. Realize that summer is oft considered to be this fun time but it can be painful for others. Offer comfort and help to those who need it, no matter what time of year it is.



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