May 18, 2010
As parents, we push you to excel,
all the while trying to define the fine line that acknowledges your growing independence
with our need to continue to teach and inspire you;
and in quiet moments we realize
that there are times it is you who teach and inspire us:
tonight and into the future.
As grandparents, we marvel at the wonder of it all.
Having raised our own children, we can hardly believe the blessing
of seeing you flourish on your journey from chuppah to cradle to Confirmation.
You fill our lives with dreams made real.
As your older siblings
we wait to see if you will ever run faster, throw farther, dance better,
or excel more than we do,
and then we realize that while we will always think,
“You’re my little brother” or “my little sister,”
you have grown.
Silently we whisper, “We look up to you.”
As your younger siblings who travel in your shadow,
and occasionally resent your accomplishments that put unfair pressure on us,
we know that while you sometimes put us down,
you are always ready to hold us up when we stumble or fall.
We follow in your footsteps.
Our strides lengthen with the passing years.
Watch out: here we come!
We are your faith, tradition, text and Torah.
We stand in holy arks and are etched in letters found in books:
Tenach, Mishnah, Talmud, Midrash and more.
Our tikvah, our hope,
is that you will continue to learn what we are eager to teach:
that words of sages might enter your world from a distant time,
for all time.
We are your congregation.
We remember your service of Consecration,
when we gifted you with chocolate Hebrew-letter candy to sweeten the moment,
and in your other hand we lovingly placed a small Torah scroll
over which you ooh’ed and ah’ed the first Hebrew vowels you learned.
We have seen you grow up in our classrooms and our halls,
and we stood with you at your Bar Mitzvahs and Bat Mitzvahs.
You have filled our synagogue with your laughter and our hearts with your goodness.
You are our tikun olam that diminishes our doubts and gives optimism breathing room.
You are the affirmation of our hopes.
Together we are Israel:
People and place,
genealogy and geography,
prayer, purpose and pride.
You are all this and more.
On Shavuot, we realize yet again that the greatest gift we have received
Rabbi Elliot J. Holin