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Life is stronger than death

A wreath is seen outside the Congregation Chabad synagogue on April 27, 2019 in Poway, California. A gunman opened fire at the synagogue on the last day of Passover leaving one person dead and three others injured. The suspect is in custody. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

On the last days of Passover, while helping lead a holiday festival retreat in the California desert, I saw my father for the first time in ten years.

Awakened by a loud, frightening knock on our hotel door at three in the morning, I jumped up to see him, grinning and enthusiastic in a familiar blue suit, unexpectedly arrived to celebrate the conclusion of the festival with us.

It was a dream, of course — my wonderful father died in 2009. But his presence seemed so vivid, it reminded me of the Yizkor (remembrance) prayer I’d say next day in his honor — a tradition Jews observe on four set occasions in the calendar.

Ironically, that part of the services was precisely the moment the anti-Semitic killer burst into a synagogue in Poway and began firing. But as my late father always insisted — we know, ultimately, life is stronger than death.

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