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“If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it does it make a sound?” If a Jew doesn’t attend Rosh Hashanah services or hear the sound of the shofar is she not an observant Jew? I looked into it and the answer is yes, because God is everywhere and she is all knowing. Because I experience Jewish guilt, God will recognize me. Now that I live with cancer my guilt is not destructive, but constructive. I think God will like this and give me a pass. Yet I still question if I should risk it. This piece is my offering to God.

Of all people shouldn’t I attend services? I spent seven years asking the almighty for peace, purpose and prosperity and finally got some. So what if the almighty handed it to me in the form of a blessing and a curse. God recognizes my learning differences in understanding life and has adapted a lesson plan catered specifically to me. Cancer be damned.

Over the last month or two I have caught myself regressing via indecision, bad behavior and ungratefulness. For instance, my husband Todd and I were having a conversation about my purchase of a beautiful Rag & Bone blazer in case I have an event (like an interview with Stephen Colbert say).

“That’s like buying a beach house before you have the money.” Todd says.

“No,” I say, “It’s called forward thinking.”

“Get the book event first.”

Minefield! Before I hit pause, I defend my stance tooth and nail; so utterly uncool. When the dust settles I say to myself, Hello, Did you not read the book? The book being the one I wrote, “Why Didn’t I Notice Her Before?”

The act of writing “Why Didn’t I Notice Her Before?” has set new rules for me to live by. They are new and a bit squirrely still. While I write in the comfort of my home, after hours of contemplating services, I realize the coordination of my waning and Rosh Hashanah is perfectly aligned. After all, Rosh Hashanah is a time for self-reflection. It takes me back to the moment of my enlightenment. Leading up to my cancer road trip I doubted there was a God and if there was one, I doubted its destination for me. On the first leg of my cancer journey I asked, “Please don’t let me be a disappointment.” On the second leg I almost believed I had passed the test and swore I would not squander my newfound freedom.

I’m not going to services, but I am going to find a straw or hopefully something better, to blow in substitute for a shofar. I will take my dog Artemis on a long walk and ask the universe to keep pushing me forward with gentle kindness, and in return I will do the same for others. I will thank who or whatever has emboldened me to say the words I am happy to be alive.

Shana Tova!

- Beth Cramer

Beth Cramer is an accomplished editor and director of independent films, commercials and music videos. She is the author of WHY DIDN'T I NOTICE HER BEFORE? Irreverent, painfully honest and often hilarious, Why Didn’t I Notice Her Before? is a beautifully observed memoir that finds courage and humor in the face of undefeatable odds.


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