This is the season of celebration and rituals of all kinds, from champagne at midnight to lentils for good luck. It’s the time when politicians take office here in the U.S., and tonight two Berkshire staffers have gone to Boston for inaugural balls.

But David and I, and Tom and Rachel, have another kind of ritual before us. David’s father, Elias Levinson, died early this morning. His sister, in spite of not being at all certain that the situation was grave, called us last night and urged us to come down. I am so glad we were there, together, and that we had a little time with Eli, and that David and Judy could be together when this happened. The week ahead will be filled with Jewish rituals to celebrate his life and mourn his death, and to help us connect with one another. I’ll try to convey something of the experience here, but first I really must get some sleep!