Welcome to Lab/Shul, an artist-driven, everybody-friendly, God-optional, pop up, experimental community for sacred Jewish gatherings based in NYC and reaching the world.


30 days – A Journey Of Grief

Dear Lab/Shul Community,

On March 17th, 2016 – my life changed forever. My mom died.

And along with grief, sadness, disbelief and every emotion I experienced, I also took on a new identity.

I became a mourner.

IMG_6130And with that, I embarked upon a journey – albeit an unwanted journey, but an exploratory journey, nonetheless.

The journey of burial. The journey of shiva – sitting for 7 days in Chicago in a 24/7 immersion of emotions, love, friends and memories.

And now…approaching the end of the first month of my new reality – I reach the moment of Shloshim.

As the first part of this journey was located in Chicago, with my immediate family and old family friends, I am conscious that when I returned to New York, my chosen home, my chosen family, you all had not been a physical part of the rupture, the grief, the experience of loss. And many of you have sent cards, emails, voice mails of support – wanting to reach out and be with me. I am deeply grateful.

And as my grief continues to endlessly transform itself, where I am now is in a place of yearning – yearning to share about my mom, yearning to bring people together from my chosen NYC home – and begin to transition my deep, paralyzing grief and sorrow to a new reality – the honor, privilege and responsibility of bringing my mom, Madalyn’s memory to life.

And so, on the eve April 18th, I will mark the Shloshim – the 30 days where I will begin to make the next transition. It will launch me into a less public grieving process than shiva for the next 10 months – and beyond. And I invite you to share this night with me. It will be a night of tribute music, learning and memory-sharing – to bring my mom, Madalyn Loris (Naiman) Less’s memory to life.

Our Lab/Shul partners at SAJ will be hosting this gathering on Monday 4/18 at 7:30pm. There is limited space, so non-traditional though it is, I will ask that you rsvp to this link here (Event info on the rsvp form). When we reach capacity, I am sorry to say, we will need to take the link down.

I want to make very clear that I don’t want folks to feel obligated to come – my hope is that I will continue to connect and share in an ongoing way through the year.

Thank you all, again, for your continued support.

With love,