This September will be my 19th year of entertaining the elderly. I can remember when I began as if it were yesterday and I can tell you that I enjoy it more now than when I first began. To me, it is more of a calling than a job. It is wonderful to find our purpose, our place in this world and I can honestly say that I sense that I have found mine. What makes it more special is that I know Who opened this door for me.
Every day I witness people who work with the elderly to whom very few pay attention. Some are private caregivers; some are family members; some are staff nursing or even cleaning staff. They go out of their way to make others feel special. They don’t only look at the ones who they are “paid” to take care of; they go beyond the call of duty. One young lady busies herself making sure that everyone who is ready, gets to my music programs. She doesn’t think of herself, only of others. As I sing I watch how a son of one of the residents looks around to see who needs help. He honestly cares about people. There is one very special young lady at Hope whose sense of humor lights up the place and she has a heart for making sure that her people are cared for. Instead of complaining about the lack of staff or the lack of money, these people and others like them seek every opportunity to give of themselves. They are my heroes! They are living the Golden Rule…love your neighbor as you love yourself. May their tribe increase!
During the sermon on the last Shabbat of Pesach, my Rabbi asked us “What is holding you back?” We have been freed from Egypt and were now ready to begin a new life free from slavery. He always teaches Torah as it pertains to our lives today. Pharaoh was proud and immovable and it caused his demise and that of his people. Moses in contrast was a most humble man understanding his limitations but with the Creator by his side, there was nothing he could not accomplish. I asked myself this very important question and realized that there are times when I am content not to push myself further than I think I can go. After all I’m older now. I am retired although I am still working but with the attitude of someone retired…no pressure; I can take it easier.
The following week I received a call from a young lady, Dayna Rabin at Federation CJA. She wanted to know if I would sing at two programs for kids and their parents at the Jëwish Y. My first impulse was, “I sing for the elderly” Then I remembered “What is holding me back?” Instead of saying no, I told her that I usually sing for the elderly but I love kids so why not. I’m up for a challenge. Then the most amazing thing happened. I got a call from Zev to sing for his mother Peshale who had just turned 95 and is living at Maimonides. I performed at her 90th birthday party and know her for over 20 years so I was happy to do that. The amazing thing is that all her grandchildren were there so I focused on them. We sang Pesach songs together, danced the hora and had a ball. At that point, I knew I was ready for my meeting on Thursday with Dayna to talk about the event for the kids. You can see the pictures on my photo album from this past Sunday. It was great. I am so thrilled to know that when I say “yes” and walk through the doors that God opens for me along this path of life, there are such joy and blessings on the other side.
I just learned that the story in the book of Esther is more of a midrash than actual history. I love the fact that everyday, there is something to learn. Whatever the reality is, the story of Esther is about a woman who was humble, obedient and courageous and who was used by the Almighty to save her people, the Jews. She listened to her uncle Mordecai which shows that she had respect for her elders and was willing to follow their instruction. Her beauty, inside and out, won her the position of being queen in the highest court of the land. She was not pushy because she hesitated when asked to go to the king to plead for her people but when push came to shove, she was willing to go the extra mile to do what is right. My hope is that all those wonderful women I know will learn from these qualities and always stand up for what is true and just in a world that is rapidly losing its moral compass. I want to wish all my friends a happy Purim. May we remember that it is not about getting so drunk that we forget the name of Haman but that it is a time to stand up for what is right. Let us always remember that the Boreh Olam, the Creator is always behind the scenes watching over his people. Purim Sameach!
Imagine writing a blog at the age of 70! I can remember getting our first tv when we lived on Esplanade. I was 6. Where did the time go?
Well we have just finished these Holidays of Hanukkah, through Christmas and New Years 2018. We live in a world where the latter two reign yet like Joseph who always kept his identity, I want to do the same. I didn’t always. Growing up I never really knew my identity. You see my parents were rarely home to help form what we kids need to grow up feeling safe. Some people never feel safe because either the world they live in is far too dangerous or others like my generation who grew up after the war, with one eye looking back at the pain and the other eye looking forward to the hopes of what could be. A friend of mine, Miriam says it’s because we weren’t licked enough. They found that out through puppy research.