By Laura Seymour
Life is filled with cycles and the many markers that designate a particular time or happening. Judaism has so many wonderful ways to celebrate and remember the important moments in time. We have our daily cycle of prayers and blessings, Shabbat each week, the holidays throughout the year and the lifecycle events. Although each individual and each family may have differences in traditions and celebrations, Judaism reminds us that we also celebrate and remember as a community.
Joel Lurie Grishaver, a wonderful Jewish educator, tells us to think of the Shehechiyanu blessing as a “Kodak Moment.” At the time we want to freeze the experience in a picture that we can take with us, we say this blessing that thanks G-d for bringing us to this special moment in time. Some people think the Shehechiyanu blessing should be said only at very specific and special times, but what is more special than when your child takes a first step or when your college graduate gets a job or so many other moments that we are thankful for? Repeat this blessing often, because it reminds us how fortunate we are to experience life.
This is the time of year when school ends, graduations occur at all levels, children move on to new experiences. Often these moments feel like “endings,” yet they are also “beginnings.” As parents, we experience the joy and sadness in letting go. Once again, let us make this a Jewish moment. A wonderful book that helps us build rituals for our daily lives is “The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices: CLAL’s Guide to Everyday & Holiday Rituals & Blessings” published by Jewish Lights. At those moments when we must let go, this blessing might help: “Baruch she-petarani mei’onsho shel zeh. Blessed are You who prepares me to release my child at the right times.” Letting go takes courage but it is a great gift — thank G-d for both the courage and the gift!
Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.