At Jewish Senior Life, as we anticipate Yom Kippur, The Jewish Day of Atonement, memories of our parents and our children intermingle. From an early age, we teach our children to wake up saying, modeh ani lefanecha, I am grateful to you, G-d, for the fact that I woke up, that I am alive to see another day, for the wonderful blessings in my life and for my relationship with You. Since my childhood I was taught that we should wake up with a deep and profound sense of gratitude, appreciation, and thanks for our lives. How we begin our day has an enormous impact on how our day will unfold.This coming Yom Kippur is a day characterized by forgiveness.  But we must not forget to be grateful.  

I am grateful to and wish to share the following with you:

“I am grateful that any mistakes we made didn’t destroy our lives, our marriages, our children. I am grateful that we learn from our mistakes and stop behavior that causes pain. Gratitude that we got this wake-up call. Gratitude that we have the opportunity to change. Gratitude that we recognize the opportunity and plan to take full advantage of the New Year. Gratitude that Yom Kippur is coming, and we can wipe the slate clean and start afresh.”

“In the midst of our soul searching and chest beating, and honey cake baking, how many of us focus on gratitude? What an amazing opportunity we’ve been granted! At whatever our age, however educated or uneducated, weak or strong, we can all do teshuva and begin again.”

“We all have had experiences of coming close to the precipice — physically, emotionally, morally, psychologically. We all have experiences of temptations we’ve almost succumbed to, of ethical lines we’ve almost crossed, taboos we’ve almost trampled. But something stopped us. Something (or Someone?) stopped us from self-destruction, from a lifetime of guilt, from hurting others.”

“What do we owe the Almighty for that? How many times a day do we breathe a sigh of relief and say thank you? Thank you for catching me before all was lost. Thank you for stopping me before my family suffered. Before I embarrassed myself and my people. Thank you!”

“And then we recognize our need to change; to work on ourselves, on our relationship with our spouse, our children. How awful to be on our deathbeds with unresolved relationships, with siblings we don’t speak to, with estranged parents. Thank you for the chance to repair and renew our relationships now.”

“A wake-up call is a gift. Awareness of the need to grow and change is a gift. And having the tools and support to make those changes is yet another gift. Thank you for giving me a network of teachers, friends and family who are rooting for me, who want my good, who give me the space I need to grow and a gentle shove when I am stagnant. Do they know how much I appreciate them?”

“On Yom Kippur, sometimes we’re so busy focusing on the fast (and the break fast!) that we forget the meaning of the day. The Almighty deserves our gratitude for the greatest gift of all — life — and the guidelines to maneuver our way through it. Yes, we’ll make mistakes, and we’ll fall down, but we have the greatest cheerleader on earth shouting encouragement along the way. Let’s be grateful for the ability to choose and that our choices have consequences that keep us real. Let’s be grateful to Gd for giving us the opportunity to shape our lives — and reshape our lives — and make mistakes and start again.”

“As we celebrate Yom Kippur, let’s not just saymodeh aniin the morning and then quickly transition.   Let’s remember to say thank you to the people who do extraordinary things in our lives.More importantly, let’s especially express gratitude to the people who do the ordinary things that make our lives so filled with blessings.”

I am filled with gratitude for my life, my family and my work. I am grateful for the staff and residents who share the community vision of life at JSL.

Shabbat Shalom. Chag Sameach. G’mar chatima tovah.  

1 Comment:

  • Beautifully said. Gratitude is so important to feel each and every day.

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