An Ethical Will is a parent’s final written wisdom to their children. This, the final bulletin article of my career, is my last opportunity to remind you, my wonderful students, of the valuable lessons I tried to teach you over the years.
Remember that you are part of the Jewish people (Klal Yisrael) who have survived adversity and challenges for over 5000 years. There are many reasons for this, including belief in God, being part of a community that has great values and beliefs, being adaptable to the time they lived, and having a positive outlook.
Remember that you are the link between your ancestors and your descendants (L’dor V’dor). They passed on this wonderful way of living and doing that is Judaism. Don’t be the one to let it go.
Remember that Judaism provides a logical and ethical way of living. The more you learn (L’lmode) the more you will find meaning and joy in your life.
Remember that you are a Partner with God in making the world a better, saner and safer place (Tikkun Olam). One person can make a difference and that person is you. Don’t wait for someone else to pick up trash, comfort a mourner or befriend a new kid in class. Be remembered for the good you do. You’ll be happier and the world will be a nicer place.
Remember to enjoy experiencing Judaism (Simcha). Jewish holidays, rituals and life cycle events are meant to be relevant and beautiful.
Remember to be grateful (Todah). Say the Shehehiyanu blessing when you see something amazing or experience something for the first time. You will have a happier life when you realize how fortunate you are.
Remember to pray (T’fillah). Know that there will be times when you won’t get what you ask for. Often, not getting what you want can be understood with the accumulation of wisdom and the passing of time.
Remember to make giving and doing for others part of your routine (Tzedakah). The joy in doing for others (G’milut Chasadim) will make you a better and happier person and you will know that what you’ve done makes a difference.
Remember that you have the freedom of choice. Always take the high road even when you don’t want to (Derech Eretz). This means do the right thing even if it is uncomfortable, like saying you are sorry. Sometimes it isn’t easy being a mensch but it is the way God expects us to behave.
Remember to treat everyone with honor and respect (Kavod) and to always preserve their dignity. Before you act or say something, put yourself in their position.
Remember that becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah marks the true beginning of Jewish learning (Talmud Torah). Your studies until then are a foundation for future learning. The deepest and most meaningful learning is yet to come. Don’t quit!
Remember that you matter to me, your parents, and the Jewish people… and always will.
Remember to be grateful for what you have and you’ll always be happy. Thank you for bringing me great joy and for giving me hope for the future.
With blessings and love, Diane Berg, RJE, Director of Education