Words matter

The list goes on and on about things that we don’t want to talk about — death is at the top of that list. We talk around it instead of about it. No amount of language or magical thinking will bring people back. It doesn’t give power to death to speak its name. Sugar-coating death doesn’t make it easier, but it can make it harder.

About Phyllis Sommer

Rabbi Phyllis Sommer has served Am Shalom as Associate Rabbi since 2003. She is a native of Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2003, and in addition to Am Shalom has served congregations in New Iberia, Louisiana and Billings, Montana. Rabbi Phyllis and her husband, Rabbi Michael Sommer, are the proud and loving (if sometimes harried) parents of four amazing children - David, Samuel Asher z"l, sister Yael, and baby Solly.

Rabbi Phyllis Sommer blogs at Ima on and off the Bima, where she discusses ins-and-outs of balancing her life as Rabbi, wife, and mother. After her son, Sam, was diagnosed with leukemia, she began blogging at Superman Sam. The Huffington Post named her one of their Influential Jewish Twitter users in 2011. She started the #36Rabbis to raise money for childhood cancer and #whatrabbisdo to shed life on the real roles and responsibilities of today's rabbis.