Be your best. Grow yourself. Discover and use your talents. Live up to your potential. Above all, remember who you are and give of yourself generously to others.
These are just some of the values my parents lived and what has always framed their Jewish identity. Although not particularly religious, my parents had deep feelings and strong convictions about Jewish life. The essence of living Jewish was to be your best as an individual and to appreciate life fully and holistically. Being a good Jew was about using your unique gifts to better yourself and to better the world.
Every bit counts, my parents would say. Passionate about community, they were also fierce advocates of the individual — of one's rights and significance. We each have something special to offer. They felt strongly about treating people respectfully and never marginalizing individuals to pre-conceived definitions or categories.
They viewed life through the lense of social justice and believed individual action can change the world. As such, they lived, breathed and exemplified this value daily! Passionate about Israel, world affairs and community, they were intellectual, soulful and generous in their giving in big and small ways. Dad was a powerful fundraiser for UJA Federation and both himself and Mom visited Israel often. Mom always had an open heart and home, welcoming friends and strangers to our extended family.
My parents believed in possibility — shunning unnecessary boundaries and limiting thinking. They encouraged us to have the conviction of self so that we too can take a stand for what matters in life. They taught us to find our own passions and have the fortitude to make our own difference in the world.
These are just some of the lessons my parents taught me about what it is to be Jewish. It's this legacy that they would want future generations to carry forward so that, as Jews, we will shine individually and as a people.
Tikkun Olam. Each and all of us have a part in creating a better world.
Written by: Louise Binder (daughter)