I always had a love and a longing for Judaism. I was a little girl from a traditional Conservative family, but when I would see Chasidic-looking people I would say, “Oh, they’re so beautiful,” like I wanted to be like them. When I grew up and got married, I lit Shabbat candles and kept a kosher home but I was not Shabbat observant.
And then my brother Levi Reiter and his wife Raizel became Lubavitcher chasidim. Through them, I started coming to classes in Crown Heights every Sunday and then I became a lot more observant.
I went on to have three children, and before each of them was born, the Rebbe gave me a blessing for everything to be okay. At one point, he told me I would have tremendous nachas from my children, and as it turns out, they are all amazing, thank G-d.
But when my middle son, Yehoshua Leib, was one year old, he had his first seizure. The doctor felt it might have been caused by a fever, but then there was another mild seizure, maybe six months later. Apparently, he had a kind of seizure disorder. Then one night in 1981, when he was nearly three years old, I went in to check on him. Even in the dark, I could just tell something was wrong.
I turned on the lights and his face was blue. I don’t know how much time he had been in that state, but by the time I got there, he was totally limp and his breathing was very shallow. We picked him up and ran outside, hoping that the cold night air would revive him, but nothing did. We called the ambulance.
At the hospital, while the doctors were checking him out, they mentioned something, in this matter-of-fact way, about his paralysis.
“What?” I gasped. (more…)