Shloshim & Duck Eggs: Rabbi Joshua Ackerman


This piece is by Rabbi Joshua Ackerman (photo above, with son Eli) of our Tzevet Limmud (Education Staff).

One week ago we started incubating duck eggs from our farm here at camp, in the hope of hatching some ducklings. With an incubation period of 28 days, we may see some hatching before our second session comes to an end. They have to be kept at just the right temperature and humidity, and rotated several times a day. Yesterday morning I came to the farm early to feed the animals, and to turn the eggs. I’ve been candling the eggs for a couple of days, where you hold them to a bright light to check for signs that they are developing. I hadn’t seen anything the night before, but yesterday I was amazed to see a network of blood vessels and the beginning of a beating heart. Although the eggs have another three weeks to go in their development, it was amazing to see life taking shape, see here:

Through a little coincidence, yesterday morning also marked the completion of shloshim for my father (photo, below). To see the continued potential for life on this day was a special gift. My first thoughts were of him and his work as an obstetrician/gynecologist and infertility specialist for over 40 years. That he supported patients through infertility and had a hand in bringing thousands of children into this world was his joy and honor. Through the lens of a microscope and advanced sonography, he repeatedly witnessed the early stages of embryonic and fetal development. I can’t say whether he was continually awe struck by witnessing what I have just seen with my own eyes, but I know that he was filled with hope in all of these moments to help others in realizing their dreams. May our hearts grow stronger each day, basking in the love of those among us, and those who have departed. May we be ever sensitive to the preciousness of life, and those who have shared their warmth and protection. תְּהִי נִשְׁמָתוֹ צְרוּרָה בִּצְרוֹר הַחַיִּים In joy and sadness…thank you Dad!