How often do we say thank you? How many times during the day do we utter these words and to whom? When someone opens a door? When a waiter delivers food to your table? When you receive change at the super market? The words just slip out of our mouths effortlessly to dozens of strangers pretty much all of the time. We were taught well and it’s all part of having good manners. But do we take the time and make the effort to thank those closest to us as often and with deliberation? Probably not. Mea Culpa, I do it and don’t do it, too.
In my decades of experience interacting with families and children working for synagogues and other Jewish agencies, I can still remember clearly and fondly those times when I received thanks for what I did. I have kept a collection of notes from students, parents, or colleagues.
We are all so quick to criticize but an occasional “thank you” goes so much further and resonates longer. In my newest venture into Jewish professional life as the Program Coordinator for PJ Library, I am on the receiving end of so many “thank you’s” and as gratifying as that is, I know it is not because of me but because of the amazing organizations I work for: PJ Library and the Jewish Federation.
A parent recently wrote: “I was so happy to get the adult gift of note cards from PJ Library. What a wonderful gift. Thank you!” Another parent wrote: “We absolutely adore PJ Library. Thank you so much for what you do and how you help introduce, maintain, and enrich the Jewish culture in our house.” I am so happy and proud to be working for entities whose shared goals are to help families connect with their Jewish heritage.
Thank you’s are a big part of our tradition and they often come in the form of blessings. There are blessings for almost everything from getting up in the morning to when we going to sleep at night. We thank God for allowing our bodies to work, for the beauty we see each day in nature, and for allowing us to reach this season.
As we approach the holiest days of the Jewish calendar, we are reminded to focus our minds and our hearts, take stock of our existence, make amends and refresh. As we usher in the Days of Awe, we utter the Shehecheyanu prayer, which reminds us to be grateful for reaching this special moment in time. Amen. Shana Tovah. _
Debby Singer is the PJ Library Program Coordinator and a contributing writer to Kiddish Magazine.