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Rosh Hashanah Morning Speech 2018

09/25/2018 10:47:39 AM


Shanah Tovah


As our new year begins, it is my pleasure once again to welcome our Temple members, their families, their friends and all of our guests to this wonderful Rosh Hashanah morning service. I would like to extend my thanks to our clergy and to all of the volunteers and participants who willingly gave of their time to make this service possible. I would also like to thank all or our wonderful Temple members for making Temple Beth Am the very special place that it is.


Last year I spoke to you about considering making a new year’s resolution. Just as for the secular New Year, it is appropriate to make New Year’s resolutions at the start of the Jewish New Year. Being Jewish, it is nice to make these resolutions based on Mitzvah and Tikkun Olam. Last I asked that you attend or participate in one aspect of our Temple that you have not done before, to try something new. Then to tell one other person, a Temple member or friend in the community, about your experience (hopefully a positive one). So now that you have all done that, this year, please consider making another resolution, one that based based on giving. There are many ways to give. Today I am talking about giving of yourself to someone else by passing along knowledge or wisdom that you have in order to help or inspire someone else.


While I was pondering what to say this year, I thought of something that I still remember from way back in third grade. My teacher “went off script” and told the class about her family and how they used to buy apples by the bushel. In that lot there were many good ripe apples but there were also a good amount that were starting to turn a little soft or had some cosmetic blemishes. She said that although her mother always told her to eat those first so as not to waste them, she always ate the good ripe ones first. Her thinking was that if I eat the older ones first, by the time she got to the others they would have started to turn and she would never have the pleasure of eating a nice crisp ripe apple. What a great life lesson I learned at a young age. And, this is what I remember most from 3rd grade. I know I was taught many other important things then like reading and writing skills which are invaluable, but what I still remember most is the lesson from the apple story. To this day I still pick to eat the best of the fruits and vegetables. This of course drives my wife crazy because she has to throw more leftovers out, but I really enjoy the best and ripest of the bunch. Throughout my life there have been many other instances of being the recipient of passed along wisdom and knowledge from family, teachers and friends. I remember many of these and much has influenced my life. I also have been fortunate to have been in a position in my career where in addition to the work I did with computer systems, as a manager I was able to mentor, coach and help others in their careers and their lives. This in the end, this was the most satisfying thing that I did during my working years. I now realize that passing along wisdom and knowledge is one of the most important things that we can do. It is truly a Mitzvah and is one of the principals of Judaism. The Torah is filled with lesson and stories from our ancestors that to this day inspire us and enhance our lives.


So, please, when the opportunity arises consider passing along some of your own wisdom and knowledge to someone else. And enjoy a nice crisp ripe apple to start your new year.

Shanah Tovah

Ken Usen

Tue, October 22 2019 23 Tishrei 5780