By Laura Seymour
We are reaching the end of the school year and that means graduations for many. Graduation is an ending, and also a beginning.
As Jews, we celebrate endings, beginnings and all the many in-between times with blessings (and, of course, food). Each Shabbat the tradition is to bless our children with the hopes we have for them. It is important to take the time to reflect on our hopes and dreams for our children as well as to give them direction.
This “blessing” below is one that I got from somewhere a long time ago. We read it to our sons when they became bar mitzvah. As our children graduate from the many milestones in their lives, this is a good wish for them (at any age).
Feel free to make it your own and add your special messages to your graduate!
To Our Son
Build us a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds. A son who will know Thee — and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.
Lead him, we pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenges. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn a passion for those who fail.
Build us a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high. A son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men. One who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
And after all these things are his, add, we pray, enough of a sense of humor so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously.
Give him humility so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom and the neatness of true strength.
Laura Seymour is director of camping services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.