WE THINK OF heroes as being celebrated for their incredible acts of courage or the nobility of their character. Our heroes might be regarded as role models, embody an ideal we hope to exemplify, or serve as an example for their achievements, abilities, or personal qualities.
In recent weeks, we have been thinking a lot about what it means to be a hero. Juxtaposed against the recent school shooting in Florida, the need for more of us to model the positive character traits we so admire in our heroes feels all the more timely and essential.
There are really two types of superheroes. The kind that are real, whose actions, attitudes, and behaviors are truly a model for how we might behave ourselves. These are the heroes that mirror our realities. The people we see around us, who might inspire us with their choices, and encourage us to become better versions of ourselves, behave with dignity, and embrace kindness with more regularity.
The other kind of hero is the one of fantasy. These are the heroes of legend that embody the mythology where good triumphs over evil. A storyline of black and white where extraordinary skill and wonder saves the day.
We have all seen them both, and perhaps now is a good time to reflect on the qualities of a hero we might embrace in ourselves, and honor in our friends and family.
There is wonder and a mystic quality in both these characters. Both strive for the greater good. Both challenge us to remember that we are part of something bigger than ourselves and that, regardless of the wide acknowledgment of fame, fortune, or recognition, who we are and what we do really matters. We are all, after all, a hero to someone.
This month, the Jewish Federation will honor some of the heroes among us at our annual Women’s Forum. We will honor women in our community who have stepped up, been our leaders, and done so much to benefit their organizations and our community. Without a cape, these extraordinary honorees have been our local superheroes, creating opportunities for local youth to engage in community activities, writing cards and acknowledgments to community members celebrating and honoring their life-cycles for over 35 years, and spending countless hours tutoring, training, counseling, and coaching our local friends and families.
Thank you to these women and to all of you who do heroic acts each and every day. Our community is better because of the selfless acts you do each and every day for all of us.