Make a future with past deeds, experiences - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Make a future with past deeds, experiences

April 29th, 2021 SanTan Sun News
Make a future with past deeds, experiences

Rabbi Irwin Wiener

As often as we are able, we gather to celebrate and commemorate milestones in our lives. There is sadness but there is also gladness.

However, we seem to dwell on the misery and misfortune that occurs and forget too often the beautiful happenings that make us appreciate life such as continuity.

Some of us concentrate on our ailments and forget how glorious the next day can be. To do that requires a combination of faith and determination. It is easy to become disillusioned and feel as though the world is crashing down on us. And, at times, it probably is.

But those moments should soon disappear and perhaps find that as a new day dawns and we are able to move on to the next moment in our lives and realize their value and purpose.

Most of us lived in neighborhoods that witnessed people being born, marrying and leaving this good earth, never having moved or seen the wider world around us. Now that the world is so small and we are so mobile, it seems to be inconceivable to even imagine.

I recently watched a very interesting movie about a family who struggled with the nuances of life.

There are some who want desperately to hold onto the traditions of the past and still breathe the air of modernity. There are those who want only to journey into the realm of that which is proven. And there are those who want to abandon belief and substitute it with a faithless morality.

And then there are the few who want to use the past to understand the future.

I recently read an essay written by a granddaughter of our members, Dorothy and Emil Lopez Dias. Lauren Leonard is a teenager interested in her heritage. A product of an interfaith marriage, she expressed a great deal of interest in her Jewish roots.

Reading her words brought memories of events that have been traumatic, to say the least, but also demonstrated the will to survive and remain an important part of the human experience. She recalls vividly the difficulties and destructive forces that engulfed the world during the darkest period in mankind’s history.

She certainly is a gifted young woman filled with determination and an understanding of her place in this world that seems to have lost its way. Perhaps her experience can be the catalyst for returning us to normalcy and meaning.

Sometimes we get so involved in things that are insignificant that we lose sight of the beauty of what we have and, at times, what we have lost.

I could not stop reading this remarkable summary of experiences that molds her life and has become an inspiration for her to continue learning, not only about her family but about all people who have been victimized and succeeded in resuming a normal life.

A life that never forgets yesterday, but with an eye toward tomorrow.

She writes: “Since childhood, I have admired the heroism of my grandfather and sympathized with the trauma he experienced during his youth.  When I was young, he shared with me stories about his life during the war… Seventy-five years following the end of World War ll, religious persecution and acts of anti-Semitism are still prevalent… I have personally witnessed anti-Semitism. Students drawing swastikas on school desks, posting hate on social media, and simply speaking in derogatory terms about ‘Jews.’ …Witnessing this hateful ignorance has mobilized my passion to speak out in support of all marginalized communities… I have been forever shaped by my Jewish ancestry and background. It has taught me the importance of tolerance and acceptance in a world still obsessed with hatred and intolerance.”

To me this represents the essence of what understanding the value and purpose of our place in this world and why it is important to find out who we are and why we are.

Lauren’s search reached a higher plain that helps all of us learn how important it is not to attach labels but rather to make a future with deeds and experiences of the past.

Words alone do not make us pious or worthy of divine consideration. Deeds that accompany the words are the two ingredients for a successful, fruitful life.  When we do for others, we in turn do for ourselves.  This is the cycle of connection and love that makes us acceptable in the eyes of God.

Knowing who we are, where we came from, respecting the history, and finally adapting these lessons into deeds that will bring honor to the past is what is learned from her beautiful description of history.

May we all be blessed with the beauty of life filled with satisfaction and contentment. May God continue to grant us good health and long life, but most of all, quality of life so that all that was created will bring us joy and happiness with all our memories of the past, but with a clear path to the future.

Rabbi Irwin Wiener D.D. is spiritual leader of the Sun Lakes Jewish Congregation.