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a mother, a father, and a child.  It could be any combination of two or more people who share a sense of trust.

When Abraham and Isaac returned home, our tradition tells us, Sarah had died.  Now the family was without a mother, but Sarah stayed with them in memories.  Loving memories are all we have when any member of any family dies.  You may never be able to talk to that person again, but you can think about them.  In that way they never really die, and as long as you can remember them, as I remember my grandfather Joseph Walzer, it can be said that they are never really dead.  In that way, also, our Matriarch Sarah is with us still.  And even if you can't remember them, even if you never met them, they can be kept alive by others who will pass their memories on to you through generations, as my dad has done for me, to keep my grandmother Sarah Leavitt (whom I was named after) and my grandfather Isaac Leavitt, along with my Grandpa Joe, with me on this very special day.

My extended family is small compared to others, but that doesn't matter.  A family of three, like the first Jewish family, is as much of a family as a family of 20.  A family needs to be able to communicate.  If they can't communicate, then neither can the world, because a family unit is the closest group of people there is.

In the case of my family, the branches all live far apart from each other.  But I don't think that stops us from being close.  In face, it might make us more close also, because we have to take time out to see each other.

I'd like to talk about just what makes families close.  To do that, I think we have to take a look at other people's families also.
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