It was a quiet little email sent to me from my brother-in-law, Gary. Attached was an essay written by his daughter, Julia, as part of her confirmation. Of course I was interested to read it—we all traveled to New York just three years ago to celebrate her Bat Mitzvah. It was a holy weekend I found to be beautiful, fascinating and deeply moving.
But still I was not prepared for the power of 16-year-old Julia’s perspective. In a few carefully considered paragraphs, she offers insight into a question I have struggled with all of my days: Where is God when bad things happen?
I asked Julia for her permission to share her essay with you, here. I thank her for agreeing to do so, and I thank Rabbi Jeffery Sirkman, Larchmont Temple, for the guidance that lead Julia to this clarity. Her insights came to me as the whispered answer to a thousand prayers, and my hope is that these words, written by my beautiful niece, Julia Rodbell, will touch your heart, as well.