Before Shiva

Yahrzeit Memorial Candle in memory of my father-2, by Zeev Barkan via under Creative Commons 2.0 License
Yahrzeit Memorial Candle in memory of my father-2, by Zeev Barkan via under Creative Commons 2.0 License

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a series of poems contributed to Jewish Sacred Aging by Sue Klau. Future poems will also appear as guest blog posts.


I pad barefoot into the kitchen

My sister has made my coffee

Accepting a hot fragrant cup from my daughter-in-law

I sip gratefully

Kiss the head of the baby in the high chair

Ruffle the soft curls of sticky girl cousins giggling over pancakes


Good morning, Mom,

Sit down, pleads my younger son

Yes, Sit, echoes his brother


And then I remember

Why they are all here.

About Sue Shapiro Klau 1 Article
Sue Shapiro Klau has belonged to Temple Sinai since moving to North Miami Beach in 1978. Sue is a retired teacher, most recently serving as the Art Specialist at Temple Kol Ami-Emanuel Day School in Plantation. Her passion has been Reform Day School Education not only at Temple Sinai, where she and her husband Irwin z”l were founders of its Reform Jewish Day School, but also on the national level. Sue was also a founder of PARDeS, the former affiliate of the URJ which oversaw Reform Day Schools in North America. Sue served on the PARDeS Board for over 15 years, including as its Chair from 2001-2003, which gave her a seat on the URJ Executive Board. Sue is a Past President and Trustee Emerita of Temple Sinai where she worked with Rabbi Alan Litwak to create L.E.A.P., Temple Sinai’s Leadership Education And Preparation program. Sue has chaired many major events and committees at Temple Sinai during her 42 years there. From 1992-2000, Sue was also an active participant in the Miami contingent of the March of Living, serving on its leadership board as well as participating on the March five times as a madrichah. Sue attends Saturday morning Torah study as well as Melton classes and painting classes. She is a consistent Shabbat worshipper. Now, during COVID, Sue is revisiting her interest in art history with online lectures and webinars. Sue earned an A.B. in Art at Smith College in 1968, and holds an M.A. in Art Education from Lehman College of CUNY. Sue and her late husband, Dr. Irwin Klau, a vascular surgeon, are the parents of Andrew, Lisbeth, and Edward, and the doting grandparents of Emmaline, Hailey, Sadie, and Beckett.


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