PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE – February 2019
Valentine’s Day is, of course, February 14. Valentine’s Day is not a Jewish holiday, but what is wrong with celebrating love? Jews believe in love as much as anyone else. We can therefore just drop the “Saint” from the day and we have a perfectly acceptable excuse to lavish someone with affection, admiration, and of course, candy. Chocolate candy in particular. See’s candy specifically.
Early on in our marriage we established a tradition on Valentine’s Day that included my procuring and presenting See’s candy to Diane. Of course, we kept the fancy heart the candy came in. This tradition continues to this day, and every year pull out the heart and head on down to the local store to refill it. Generations of See’s employees have remarked on the quality of the old heart boxes and bemoan the fact that the new hearts pale by comparison. I pick out a pound of Diane’s favorites, maybe sneaking in a piece or two I like (always one marzipan), and of course at See’s they always offer a sample.
One year, many, many years ago, I had the bright idea of just purchasing a one-pound assortment and filling the heart myself. I would save considerable time and stress (Too many choices! Chocolate chip truffle or another Bordeaux? How many Scothmllows are too many?) and I would still get my sample.
It was not a good idea. While Diane accepted the gift graciously, even that early in our marriage I could tell she was disappointed that I had not made the effort to make the collection special. I never made that mistake again.
Lesson learned – when something or someone is special to you, you do not take shortcuts. You do not do “good enough”. You make the extra effort to show you care and that the thing or person is important to you. Whether it be the relationship with a person, a task at work, a garden, a home, or a synagogue, a little extra care and effort bring a much better result.
When I get the opportunity to talk with our religious school parents, I like to remind them that if they want Judaism to be important to their children, they have to show that Judaism is important to them. That means making the extra effort to learn more about their own Judaism and incorporate more Jewish observance in the family’s life.
If Temple Beth Emet is special to you — and you would not be reading this if it were not — it means doing a little extra to make the Temple better. Maybe it is adding a little to your membership dues, or coming to an extra Shabbat service or event at Temple, or bringing someone with you to Temple to introduce them to our Temple With a Heart.
We can elevate so many of our daily experiences if we just put a little extra effort. If we do, we not only make something or someone special, we make ourselves special as well. And as a reward, we can go to a See’s Candies store and get a sample.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
— IRA L. GOLDSTEIN, President