We read off the ancient Hebrew words, with no idea of what they might mean, and the congregation responds with more words that they don't understand either. We are gathered together on a Saturday morning to speak gibberish to each other, and you would think, in these godless times, that the experience would be empty, but somehow it isn't. The five of us, huddled together shoulder to shoulder over the bima, read the words aloud slowly, and the congregation, these old friends and acquaintances and strangers, all respond, and for reasons I can't begin to articulate, it feels like something is actually happening. It's got nothing to do with God or souls, just the palpable sense of goodwill and support emanating in waves from the pews around us, and I can't help but be moved by it. When we reach the end of the page, and the last amen has been said, I'm sorry that' it's over. I could stay up here a while longer. And as we step down to make our way back to the pews, a quick survey of the sadness in my family's wet eyes tells me that I'm not the only one who feels that way. I don't feel any closer to my father than I did before, but for a moment there I was comforted, and that's more than I expected.