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About Ronen's Torah

Ronen Eliezer Labovitz came into this world on his own terms on August 20, 2019, bein ha-sh’mashot, in the liminal time at dusk between the 19th and 20th days of Av. After a mostly-uneventful pregnancy and 30 hours of labor, Ronen was diagnosed with a right-sided congenital diaphragmatic hernia within minutes after his birth, and transported by ambulance to the NICU at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC. At seven days old, the surgical team repaired the hole in Ronen’s diaphragm. His doctors told us that he was, by all accounts, making a remarkable recovery, being weaned from respiratory support and gaining strength in eating. He was extubated, interactive, and smiling at us., cuddling with us Ronen's death in the last hours of the Jewish calendar year was entirely unexpected. Ronen Eliezer, our third child, lived a total of 39 days and died at 4:39 PM on September 29, 2019.

When we went through our loss, there were so few resources, particularly from a Jewish context, about neonatal loss. (There still aren't very many.) At that time, I said, "I hope that we are the last people to experience this kind of loss; but when it happens to someone else, we need to be there for them." I have been privileged to comfort, advise, and witness families who have suffered perinatal and neonatal losses of all kinds -- stillbirth, miscarriage, neonatal death, termination for medical reasons, abortion -- and offer a listening ear for those who just need someone who understands this deep loss that is incomprehensible to most. 

In the year after Ronen's death, during which the world shut down for the COVID pandemic, I studied the entire Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) with nearly seventy study partners. This blog memorializes my study in Ronen's memory, and our journeys in grief through that year and since.

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About Ronen's Mom

Cantor Hinda Eisen Labovitz is the cantor of Ohr Kodesh Congregation in Chevy Chase, MD. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband Bob and their three living children.

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