Thursday, October 1, 1998
Dear G.U.C.I. Staff:
The mood of camp has shifted dramatically from the noise and action of the summer to the cool and calm of fall. The leaves started changing into their colors around the same time we were all putting on our High Holiday finery. It’s a pretty time. We started our camp introspection, thinking about what we’d like to do differently this winter and next summer, around the same time that our Jewish cycle stopped on the look-into-yourself-and-figure-out-how-to-be-a-better-person square. This is our strength. That we stop each year and examine ourselves, that we seek new directions or re-adjust our present ones. I asked myself this season, why we Jews keep coming back to our synagogues on the High Holidays? Why are they so important to us?
One of the answers might be that we come seeking words of wisdom (but unlike the Beatles, we just won’t let it be…). I think that we would like Rosh Ha Shannah and Yom Kippur to smarten us up. Teach us something. But, what? Well, think about it. We’re looking for direction, and to find direction into the future, we have to know who we are and where we have come from. The Holidays connect us to our past, to our history. The physical act of going to Temple links us to Jews all over the world. And the service itself (and perhaps the rabbi’s words) speaks to our values, our relationships, responsibilities, our shortcomings, our dreams. It seems to me that Temple is exactly the right place to come seeking words of wisdom.
We all are wise in our own rights. What words of wisdom would you share with others if you had the chance? Here’s a list of wise words I came across; maybe one or more of them will speak to you:
“I’ve learned that you can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk” - Age 7
“I’ve learned that if you want to cheer yourself up, you should try cheering someone else up” - Age 14
“I’ve learned that brushing my child’s hair is one of the great pleasures” -Age 26
“I’ve learned that there are people who love you dearly but just don’t know how to show it” -Age 41
“I’ve learned that the greater a person’s sense of guilt the greater their need to cast blame on others” -Age 46
“I’ve learned that you can tell a great deal about a person by the way s/he handles these things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights” -Age 52
“I’ve learned that making a living is not making a life” -Age 58
“I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance” -Age 62
“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw some things back” -Age 64
“I’ve learned that whenever I’ve decided something with kindness, I usually make the right decision” -Age 68
“I’ve learned to believe in miracles. I’ve seen several” -Age 73
“I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one” -Age 82
“I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn” -Age 92
What words of wisdom would you use to complete the sentence; “I’ve learned that…?” Now, it seems, is the appropriate Jewish time to start composing them. Shannah Tovah…All the best in 5759.