On a Friday afternoon I attended a funeral at the Fuller Road cemetery just down the street of someone I didn’t know. An alumni friend (whom we know) called and said it was his old UAlbany college roommate (early 1980’s) who had passed away and wanted to ensure a Minyan (prayer quorum) so they could say Kaddish (memorial prayer) at his graveside.

It also happened to be my first time inside that cemetery small chapel (much prettier inside than I imagined, gorgeous wood ceilings etc). TBH, I knew almost no one there, which is rare at local funerals. The area’s Jewish community here isn’t small but small enough to know or recognize some people.

But one face looked familiar. We were standing near the partially covered grave, I went over & introduced myself. He asked me if I was from Chabad. I said yes.

He swept his arm out at a whole row of gravestones, explaining that they were all his family, all local, he was named for this one, etc. He said that he was away from his heritage for too long, apart from community, and it was time to come back & do some Jewish stuff again.

I thought of this when we read Parsha Vayishlach on Shabbat “And Jacob was alone” that night when he wrestled with the angel. And like it says in Genesis at the start of the Torah: “It is not good for man to be alone” – we do better with and as a community.

We did a different post, another year, on positive and negative takes on “Jacob was alone that night” see that post here.