I was happy to learn that a friend receives the JSL newsletter and uses its arrival at 3:30pm in his inbox every Friday as a reminder to call his children to wish them Shabbat Shalom. In that moment I realized that the power of the written word inspires us into action.  How often do we read or hear something that moves us, that sticks with us, that propels us into action?  It could be a conversation, a letter, an article in innumerable newspapers, a Facebook post, or a phone call to share our thoughts, our wishes, our hopes. Whether we are reacting to serious articles on politics, war and peace, human rights, and democracy, or humor and wisdom that softens our souls, WE CAN BELIEVE that together we are part of the human condition and every action we take influences others. There are so many voices, and we can choose to listen, read, think, and learn.

When I’m writing this column, I often wait quietly for the moment of inspiration to come. Once it does, the words follow. Inspiration appears as I am engaged in daily life experiencing the joy of simple conversations with residents who have become friends, and in loving relationships with staff, friends and family or during moments of comfort for others during their sadness or loss, or depression, and each interaction cues me to look deeper. This happened on Wednesday when I was one of the many proud parents, grandparents and students at Hillel Day School enjoying the annual K-5 Concert on STREAM Night celebrating the students’ incredible accomplishments in Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Music. After the concert everyone was invited to visit the Student Art Showcase and admire fascinating projects and creations including a planting station, taste testing, a catapult challenge, self-portraits in wire and paint, word play graffiti art, robotics artwork, button making and 3D printing. I am always amazed by the STREAM TEAM comprised of dedicated teachers and coordinators who planned every moment of this special night of the curriculum excellence that takes place all year long.

I cheered and beamed with pride as my granddaughter blew her trombone performing “Am Yisrael Chai” and “The Victor’s March.” The school choir sang “Kol Tov” and “Take Me Home.” The students’ sweet voices came together beautifully as they sang to a packed house with many mobile phones raised in the air to capture and save the magical moments soon to be memories. Watching and listening to the concert brought intense moments of joy, and the final number, “When You Believe,” brought tears to my eyes. Not only did the lyrics move me, but for a split second I re-lived memories of my own grade school choir concerts in the 60s and then my own two children’s concerts in the 80s.

My 8th grade grandson pointed out my tears and smiled with eyes glistening because he felt it too. This was his final year at the school that nurtured him to be the mensch that he is. He too felt the passage of time and realized that his next adventure would be his progression to High School.  We talked about this on the way to his basketball game that night. “It’s flying by”, I said. “You will be tested in innumerable ways. You will make choices that change the world, that affect other people and your family. You will find inspiration in any number of things, listening to dedicated teachers of literature, history, and philosophy provide life lessons. You will feel the highs and the lows of playing team sports and take pleasure in those close games on the basketball court that bring you to tears when you win, or when you lose. You will find lessons in everything you do as you and your family, and your friends and their families will all be in it together. We will be here with you and for you as long as we can, and we will always be willing to share in your life’s adventures. We BELIEVE in you.”

Click here for the short video and song from The Prince of Egypt, that was so beautifully sung at the concert. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NieC8KA0EvI

Wishing you and your families a sweet Shabbat Shalom.

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