Life’s journey


Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh received a B.A. from Skidmore College and was ordained as a Rabbi from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She is fortunate to be involved in so many facets of the community including serving as the chaplain for JF&CS and an instructor for CAJE. This will be her fifth year serving as the visiting Rabbi in Decatur, Ill. She has also served congregations in both Sydney and Perth, Australia. When not writing her weekly BLOGS, she can be found running marathons.

By Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

Everyone has a story. Last month I met a gentleman whom I was told played a very big role in changing American history. Last week I met a man who was a gifted track star but turned down a full scholarship to university in order to help the family business. I met a woman who knew Mrs. Truman and told me humorous stories about the president.

When visiting residents I encourage them to share tales from their lives. Most try to decline, claiming there is nothing interesting to tell. How wrong they are! It makes me sad that most people think they have nothing to say. If I scratch a little below the surface I start to hear remarkable stories.

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Some residents live in a very different world. Their memory fails them or they have recreated their own realities. And there are times that I join them in conversation in that far away land.

The obvious occurred to me one day — that we all have the same ending. Both the famous scientist and the individual who lived a quiet life trying to provide for a family find the same fate. It is not our stature or wealth that prevents the end of our days. Rather, we all share the same destiny.

I have heard that death equalizes all. How true. I only hope that sitting together we can reminisce and share a smile or a tear, that we can say with a sigh that life was truly a journey and a blessing.