Responsibility is one of the most important values that we must all practice is.
Responsibility — achrayut — is so important, for it is really all about community and being a part of something bigger than just yourself. We are all interdependent in this world and that connection makes us strong.
Last month, as we commemorated Yom HaShoah and Yom HaZikaron, we were reminded of our responsibility to others. Shortly after World War II — not long after his release from a Nazi concentration camp — German Protestant theologian Pastor Martin Niemoller said, “In Germany, they first came for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Catholic. Then they came for me. And by that time, there was no one left to speak up.”
Each of us must speak out for the others — we are responsible for one another: Am I my brother’s keeper? Yes.
On Sunday, May 6, from noon to 4 p.m., is the Community Israel Independence Day Celebration sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. Although most of us celebrated on the day of Yom HaAtzmaut, it is our responsibility to come together as a community. Not only is it a responsibility but, just as we mourned together on Yom HaShoah and Yom HaZikaron, we must also celebrate together.
Responsibility, achrayut, is also about taking responsibility for your own actions and choices. Responsibility is about keeping our promises, being honest and fair, admitting our mistakes and showing our willingness to make things right.
• “Those who think they can live without others are wrong. But those who think that others can survive without them are even more in error.” —Hasidic Folk Saying
• “In the final analysis it is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.” —Ann Landers