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It’s been 16 years since my mom died, but there is hardly a day that I don’t think of her with gratitude. But as we approach Mother’s Day, the memory of her is still fresh in my heart.
My mom was my hero. She was tall and beautiful and had a strong faith in the Lord. She approached every task with an attitude of “I can do this.” I can still hear her praying in the night, and in the early morning, asking God’s protection over us, and to keep her in her “right mind” as she left for work. I used to think there was nothing she could not do.
As a teenager, growing up in the Liberty Square Housing Project, I never feared that the young men who came a calling on me from time to time would take advantage of me. My mom only had to give them “the look.” While warm and friendly, Mom as also a no-nonsense woman and they knew she didn’t play.
She always had a way to make me and my brother Adam feel secure and safe. We were poor, but I didn’t know it. That’s because Mom provided a warm home for us in the housing project (back in the day, it was the best place for blacks to live, and we treated it like our very own home). She bought second-hand furniture and had slip covers and matching curtains made for the living room. She bought pretty linoleum for the concrete floors and it was my job to keep the floors clean and shining.
When it was time to mow the lawn, she sent my brother to the project’s office to borrow a lawnmower. It was his job to keep the grass trimmed.
Mom had a great alto voice and on the nights she didn’t have to work, the three of us would often sit around the desk by the window in the living room and sing from our favorite hymn book. We didn’t have air conditioning and the sound of our our voices would float out the window, causing passersby to stop and peer inside the window and listen to us sing. Those evenings were some of the best times of my life.
Mom had a good heart, often feeding some of my friends who were less fortunate. It never occurred to me until now, that many times there was just enough food for the three of us, so Mom must have given up her own plate so one of our friends could eat. She never complained.
When she discovered that I had a knack for cooking, she would buy the food and tell me to cook it. And so I did. With a lot of errors. Needless to say, I burned a great number of pots of rice, before I learned the secret. On the days that she worked late, she used to tell me, “Now, at dinnertime, you set the table for you and your brother and sit down and eat like human beings.” That always cracked me up. “How else would we eat”? I’d say to myself, “Like dogs?” And, so I remember folding paper napkins, and placing the fork and knife like Mom had taught me, and saying grace before my brother started to devour the food.
Mom taught me so much — like the importance of being a lady, of having good manners and a good reputation. Most of all, she taught me to keep looking up, to not give up when the way seemed dreary. She believed there was a silver lining behind every dark cloud. And she taught me to always look for it.
Thanks, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.
Congregation ‘Mother’ to be honored
Congratulations to Ofelia Ruder, who will be honored on Saturday at the Mother’s Day Shabbat Celebration at the Cuban Hebrew Congregation in Miami Beach.
Ruder, who served as the synagogue’s beloved executive secretary and “Mother” of the congregation, will be honored on her 90th birthday.
“She’s the original executive secretary of the synagogue,” Rabbi Stephen Texon said. “She has been incredibly loyal and devoted in that capacity for the past 56 years, and she is beloved by the congregation and the community.” Texon said Ruder will be presented with a proclamation from the city of Miami Beach at the service.
Also, the synagogue will honor all mothers and grandmothers at the Shabbat. The event is sponsored by the Synagogue’s Woman’s League. A luncheon will follow the services.
Bishop Walter H. Richardson invites the community to the annual Pentecost Revival at The Church of God Tabernacle (True Holiness), 1351 NW 67th St. in Liberty City.
The week-long revival, which commemorates the out-pouring of the Holy Ghost, marking the birth of the Christian church, will begin at 10 a.m. Sunday , and will conclude on May 20, which is Pentecost Day. The order of service will include preaching and lots of great gospel music and testimonials.
Service times are 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays, and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. There will be no service on Saturday.
Everyone is welcome.
Trinity Cathedral will celebrate Pentecost Day, May 20, by welcoming new members and their families at 10 a.m. If you go, you are invited to wear red to symbolize the flame of the Holy Spirit and the “tongues of fire” that came down on the disciples on the first Pentecost.
Also on Pentecost Day, Trinity will hold baptisms for children in English at the 10 a.m. service, and in Spanish at 12:15 p.m. Call the Cathedral at 786-888-6692, if you have are interested in having a child baptized on that day.
Trinity is at 464 NE 16th St. in Miami. Call 305-374-3372 for more information.
Start of Ramadan
Muslims around the world will celebrate the holy month of Ramadan beginning Wednesday, May 16. Ramadan is a time when Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, refraining from food, water, and any worldly pleasures. It is also a time of reflection and intense prayers.
Locally, South Florida Muslims will host open houses at different mosques throughout the month, offering non-Muslims the opportunity to join with their Muslim brothers and sisters in breaking fast and sharing a meal. During the open houses, non-Muslims can visit mosques and learn about the true spirit of Islam.
Open Houses will be at the following locations:
- Islamic Center of Greater Miami – Miami Gardens Mosque, 4305 NW 183rd St. Miami Gardens, at 7:30 p.m. on May 17. To RSVP, contact Khalid Mirza at 305-904-0074 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and Dr. Samra at 954-505-0701, email@example.com
- Ershad Center , 6669 SW 59th Pl. in Miami at 7:30 p.m. on May 19. To RSVP, contact Zohreh Van Ghaemi at 305-338-5792 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Islamic Jafferia Association, 10554 NW 132nd St. in Hialeah Gardens at 7:30 p.m. on May 21. To RSVP, contact Jamil Rizvi, 305-607-1768 or email@example.com
- Islamic School of Miaki – Al Noor Mosque in Kendall, 11699 SW 147th Ave. at 7:30 p.m. on May 23. To RSVP, contact Naveed Anjum at 786-512-3150 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Masjid Al-Ansar, 5245 NW Seventh Ave. in Liberty City. To RSVP, contact Alla Pasha at 305-467-9419 or Pashaemail@example.com
Sickle Cell Awareness Brunch
The Advancing Sickle Cell Project will have its first A Mother’s Heart Sickle Cell Awareness Brunch at 10:30 a.m.May 19 at First Baptist Church of Bunche Park, 5700 NW 22nd Ave. in Miami Gardens. The theme will be “Southern Bell.”
The event will honor mothers who have lost children to the sickle cell disease, and will celebrate mothers who are have the sickle cell disease or who are raising children with sickle cell.
The program will feature Jill Tracey of Radio Hot 105 as the hostess and will include a raffle and other giveaways. It’s free, but tax-deductible donations will be accepted. Seating is limited to adults only and if you go, you must RSVP by calling Kemba O. Gosier, president at 305-498-3533 or you may register at amothersheartbrunch.eventbrite.com.