In Hebrew, the word for life is chai. It is the root word of a common Jewish toast, L’Chaim, which means “To life!” Judaism puts very big emphasis on life and the importance of living a good life, but how does someone lead a good life? In the words of Hillel, treat others as you would want them to treat you. This is sometimes called Hillel’s Rule or the Golden Rule, but the meaning is the same. Treat other people in the way that you would want someone to treat you in the same situation. Judaism tells us that we are judged based on our actions, not based on what we believe. To live a good life, we must fill our lives with good deeds, not just have good intentions.
Lerner’s Jewish values, gimilud hassadim, tikkun olam, and kavod, are focused on the concepts of making the world a better place and filling our lives with good deeds. Gimilud chassadim means acts of loving kindness. We teach our students that it is a mitzvah to perform acts of kindness for the people around us. Tikkun olam means repairing the world. This term is interpreted as doing things that make the world a better place; at Lerner, we talk about the many different ways we can repair the world, from taking care of the planet to caring for the sick and the elderly. Kavod means respect. At Lerner, we teach our students about having respect for themselves and the people around them.
Lerner’s values teach our students to care about the world around them and to take action to make our world a better place. The impacts of these lessons have far reaching effects. They impact our students for the rest of our lives, but they also ripple through our families.
This week, our community suffered an enormous loss with the passing of Grace Marion. Grace lived and breathed Lerner’s Jewish values and she set an excellent example of how to lead a good life. She loved her family deeply, she was passionate about life and living every moment to its fullest, and she never hesitated to do what was right. She never wallowed in her own problems. Even when she was very ill, she was concerned about the problems of other people and how she might help them with hugs or advice. She spoke her mind and she was a good friend to everyone who crossed her path. While Grace’s life was too short, she really made the most of every minute she had.
As we mourn Grace’s passing, her friends and family have shared many beautiful stories about the life she led. Grace’s family finds great comfort in these stories, some they have not heard before. If you knew Grace, please take a moment to share your stories with the family. Please send them as audio recordings, video clips or written stories to firstname.lastname@example.org. It is a simple act, but one that will bring comfort to her loved ones.
Head of School