By Laura Seymour
The holidays came early this year, and now we can relax for a while. (Although, for many people, the High Holidays were already relaxing, unless you happened to be the cook and cleaner!)
The Jewish calendar gives us so many opportunities for celebration: yearly holidays, special life-cycle events, Rosh Chodesh each month, weekly Shabbat (the most important holiday) and Havdallah and daily rituals that consistently focus our thoughts on who we are.
Marking time “Jewishly” is a special connection for us, and our blessings for every occasion remind us to be thankful. A favorite Jewish educator speaks of the Shehechiyanu blessing as a “Kodak moment.” Perhaps not many of us today remember taking photos with a Kodak camera, but the idea never changes. When you experience moments that you want to capture and hold on to, you can now take a picture with your phone and instantly share it with friends and family. But if we remember to take one more step and thank G-d for that moment, our children will learn to appreciate the wonder and specialness of such times and we will strengthen their Jewish identity. Here is the Shehechiyanu blessing:
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech ha’olam, Shehechiyanu v’kiyemanu v’higiyanu lazman hazeh. Blessed are You, O Lord Our God, King of the Universe, Who has kept us alive and sustained us and brought us to this time.
At the Goldberg Family Early Childhood Center, we created a “Shehechiyanu-Gram.” It gives us the opportunity to put the moment on a piece of paper that we hope will end up on the refrigerator at home. Some possible Shehechiyanu moments for children: starting a new school year, losing a tooth, scoring a goal in soccer, performing or receiving an act of kindness. … The list goes on!
Traditionally the Shehechiyanu blessing is said at very specific times. But why not celebrate often? Being thankful is a habit; practice it, and it will be part of your life!
Laura Seymour is Director of Camping Services at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.