Son’s mitzvah makes a mother proud


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

It seems to be an annual ritual. On the Sunday of Hanukkah this year, my son requested to go to an assisted living facility where a large number of Jewish residents reside and hand out dreidels and exchange wishes for a Happy Hanukkah. I guided him through hallways, stopping at rooms where Jewish residents lived, and knocked on the door. After that, I could have been invisible. In fact, if he knew which people to specifically visit, I may have only served as the driver and waited in the lobby!

My son walked in with great confidence and extended the small gift with large words of cheerful greetings. He stated that he was there to wish him/her a happy Hanukkah and wanted him/her to have a dreidel. I stood a couple of feet back as I watched with tremendous awe and pride as my son continued to make meaningful conversation. He knew to speak louder or go closer for the residents who were straining to hear him.

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A few of the residents had met him prior or had heard stories of him. They asked about school and sports. He graciously accepted hugs (after asking his permission) and a few kisses. People commented on his soccer hair style (LONG!) and his sweet disposition. He was humble as a few residents spoke words for which I was privately whispering “Keyna horah!”

The next day after school he asked to see more residents. We went to a different facility and had a couple of longer visits. While it was a school night and I was conscious of the homework in his backpack, I knew he was learning more that afternoon than anything else that would be accomplished at the kitchen table.