Do You Believe in Miracles?
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Do You Believe in Miracles?

Are unrelated confluences coincidental, or are they true miracles? Six Atlantans candidly respond to this age-old question

Chana Shapiro is an educator, writer, editor and illustrator whose work has appeared in journals, newspapers and magazines. She is a regular contributor to the AJT.

Chana Shapiro, Atlanta Jewish Times' Roving Reporter.
Chana Shapiro, Atlanta Jewish Times' Roving Reporter.

Zahava Kurland, business owner
I don’t believe in coincidences; miracles appear unexpectedly. This one occurred several years ago.

I am finishing a conversation with the arborist who tells me that it will cost $2,200 to take down my rotting 300-year-old oak tree. I am in a tizzy as to how I will pay for this.

A few days later, a neighbor and I are sitting in the den with our kids playing near us. She looks through the deck doors and says, “I didn’t realize how huge your deck is!” Now, I look at the deck with different eyes. “Wow, you’re right!” Suddenly I realize that my deck is empty! All the deck furniture is gone! Someone stole all of it!

The insurance claim paid me $1,900. Problem solved!

Peter L. Wilson, metal artist
(Zahavah Kurland’s son)
My tonsils were removed just before my fourth birthday. My mother had a terrible cold and took meds to sleep. She was knocked out. Something woke her up (she says it was my “angel.”) I was in bed, on my knees trying to call her, but I was hemorrhaging from my throat.

We had just moved to Atlanta from New Jersey, which didn’t have 911, so we weren’t accustomed to using it. My mother tried calling numbers the hospital gave after my tonsillectomy, but none worked. Somehow, she remembered to dial 911, and an ambulance came within five minutes (she said it seemed like forever). When I got to the hospital, I had lost most of my blood, my veins had collapsed, and I was experiencing hypothermia. Thank G-d, I lived.

After that, I shook every time I heard a siren. The supervisor of the ambulance corps suggested that we visit an ambulance. Our drive to the station in Decatur took 20 minutes. They showed me the ambulance, gave me a toy physician’s bag, and I rang the siren. Recalling our 20-minute drive, my mother asked how they got to our house so fast. They had been on a false alarm call and stopped at the fire station around the corner from where we lived. They were sure that if they had driven from Decatur, I would not have made it. Now, that’s a miracle!

Helen Gerchikov, nursery school teacher
What makes something a miracle? I would describe the event as above nature, out of the ordinary. Something that makes one stop in one’s tracks. And sometimes a miracle is finding comfort in a sad situation that is extraordinary. Last year, near Thanksgiving, my father passed away.

That same morning, my husband’s father had passed away. Both fathers died on the same day. It was a hectic, emotional, exhausting day. The two funerals were surreal, one following the other in a haze of tears. But among the pain was a huge comfort. My husband and I were experiencing this together. We were sitting shiva together. The community supported us together. And the biggest miracle was that my husband said kaddish for both fathers.

This November, as we lit the two yahrtzeit candles, a feeling of peace came over us as we remembered our fathers together. Not an ordinary event, definitely above nature, a “wow” kind of day. It was a miracle.

Mira D. Bergen, real estate broker
Tune in to G-d’s communication daily and you will see with your heart that what seems coincidental is really miraculous.

We were recently married, and I already met five of my husband’s six children, and most of his 12 grandchildren, so we were anxious to go on our trip to Dallas to see this son with his wife and five children. Our reservations were made two weeks earlier. We were flying out Thursday afternoon, spending Shabbos, and then returning to Atlanta on Sunday.

A few days before, they needed to cancel because of non-health circumstances. We were so saddened and disappointed, and so were the children, who made “Welcome Grandpa and Mira” drawings! We could not understand why this happened.

My husband’s friend of 68 years (like a brother since he was 10 years old) died Wednesday of the same week. My husband wanted to help put him to rest, and he was able to fly to Los Angeles that Thursday afternoon, the same time we would have been on the flight to Dallas.

We did not realize G-d had other plans for us. Coincidence or miracle? We are tuned into the “miracle network;” we choose miracle!

Bob Levin, author
I suppose miracles occur outside the boundaries of our curiosity. Several times doctors have used the idea of miracle when it came to me, most recently during my cancer episode. And while I was in my late 30s (I’m in my 60s now) I was told that by the time I’m 50 I would be carrying around oxygen. I don’t carry it, and I’m walking 6 ½ miles a day to help cure me from the cancer cure.
When my dad came to Atlanta, for seven years he quietly asserted his imminent death. I developed an ulcer. The doctor said it was among the worst he’d seen. The next year’s ‘scope found no evidence it had ever been there. This the doctor’d never seen and couldn’t explain.

But it’s explainable because of my immersion in Chinese medicine, although Confucius would explain it differently. As a part of “the natural unfolding,” he would say, wonders occur for those who conscientiously practice and study the ancient rituals and wisdoms, that is, the Judaism in which I’m also immersed.

Iris Levin, manager of member services
Bob’s wife
No.

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