Hospital visit from the rabbi

I was pleasantly surprised last week when my rabbi showed up at the door one evening during my hospital stay due to an infection.

Let me back up with some details. Rabbi Rose Durbin is not only the first female rabbi I’ve known, she is also the youngest, and I consider her a peer.

Although Rabbi Rose and her family will be leaving for a new opportunity shortly, she took the time to look in on me at the hospital last week. I enclose a picture of her visit.

The rabbi I grew up with back in Cleveland, Armand E. Cohen, was about 70 and a real sage, but somewhat unapproachable except in the pulpit.

Rabbi Rose is just the opposite – very approachable, friendly and supportive in real-life situations.

I don’t mean to say anything bad about Rabbi Cohen, just that he was from a different era and had a different disposition.

Back then, I was in the temple choir, and as I recall I was up on the “stage,” which in the temple is called the “bima.” The temple choir sang in both English and Hebrew, but basically in Hebrew during services.

My relationship to Rabbi Rose has been much more informal, with her making a special effort to visit me at home and most recently here in the hospital, where I am writing this from.

However, as you read this, I expect to be back home with my things around me, and most importantly, my pets, the sunshine, the beach and the lake. Together, they are all more therapeutic than any stay in the hospital.

I just took a farewell tour of the hospital here at St. Mary’s in Amsterdam, and everyone I’ve talked to has been wonderful and encouraged me in my trip home. So, cheers to the staff at St. Mary’s; you made my stay there much more pleasant than it might have been.

I enclose a picture of Rabbi Rose Durbin’s visit to my bedside. I wish you and your family the very best for your future.

As we say in Hebrew, “L’Chiam!”, which translates, “To life!”

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website,