If life is light, then we live forever.
This post is dedicated to the memory of Dorina Kalaty, a woman who the world was blessed to have, for too short.
I wrote this after leaving her home where her family sat shiva for the last week. Dorina passed away on Shabbat Day, the 7th of November, the 20th of the Jewish month of Cheshvan. Shabbat was her favorite day of the week. Dorina is pictured to the left of me, in between her best friend Dina.
"I sat in the home of an angel tonight.
I wish it still was the home of a beautiful, regal, spirited, gifted, humble, sensitive woman, who was attune to the balance between the spirit and the world, a true servant of Hashem.
Chaya and I drove the thirty minutes to the shiva house and it wasn’t long enough for my devastated tears that fell in unison with the unsettling downpour outside of us. They needed to keep falling.
I wouldn’t say that we were friends the way regular friends speak to and see each other often, or even from time to time. In fact, we had only actually met Dorina four times in person, but it took only once for us to feel how drawn we were to her. I distinctly remember feeling immediately that she was one of those rare individuals who’s casual encounter was way bigger than just that passing moment.
Dorina stood out. My gut sensed it. Her kind, knowing, and wise soul shone through her.
We met for the first time at one of our Pop Up Shops which is usually characterized by swifter, more passing interactions that surfaced between outfit changes, and fitting room moments.
Dorina shared that she was inspired by our fusion of modesty into our everyday lives, the space for our Judaism not being in a different one. I wish I would have told her that it was actually us who were inspired by her. That her passion for the interweaving of spirituality into her life and those around her was a wake-up call for us who easily fell into a cycle of rote motions.
Her husband shared with us at shiva that one of the few times we were fortunate enough to have her at our Pop Up Shop, Dorina had come straight from chemotherapy. If Hashem had put us here just to have that one Pop Up where we met for the first time, I would count myself lucky.
Dorina’s journey into the depths of her Judaism, and discovery of her synchronicity with Hashem’s plan mirrored the deep thinker, and emotionally attune person she was.
She was driven to pursue deep inner work, even when it was hard. Over the last few years as she battled with cancer she was a beacon of hope in her community. Dorina was a spiritual mentor, a healer, a leader, a listener, and a renowned life coach in her community. Dorina had the understanding of life that only few do.
The Jewish people lost a gift to our nation, the world lost a light. But her husband and children lost their wife, their mother who will forever be in their breath. Every falling leaf they see hit the ground will know.
The sadness is insurmountable, the devastation and loss to her family, friends, and community, palpable. But if I am writing this to share a droplet of her being, the tiniest amount of her essence that I can hardly scrape, I want to share her light, that will always be. The light that will always enliven those that were lucky enough to have her, and those who will get to know her.
In this world that is so physical, loss has forced me to reach for something more, to go deeper and search for that which I can’t see. Shivers went down my spine when I learned that Dorina’s physical body left this world on the same day that Shua did, the same day Rabbi Jonathan Sacks did, who was also Dorina’s mentor.
May we learn and grow from those that did this journey right, that walked with light, and may we be reunited with them again soon.