By Steve Land
In today’s society, where there’s so much emphasis on accomplishment, it’s sometimes nice to slow down and remember to enjoy not only what we’ve achieved, but also to enjoy how we got there.
One of the very first lessons that I teach my Bar/Bat Mitzvah students, after they learn how to give a firm handshake, is that becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a journey with life as the destination. The process of becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah begins in childhood and continues for the rest of one’s life. While society knows it as religious service and celebration for a young adult turning 12 or 13, that special day or weekend is just the beginning on their way to becoming an adult in our community.
During the very first session I let them know that I will “be there for them”. I tell them that, on the day of their ceremony, I will “stand next to you, behind you, in front of you; anywhere you want. The only thing that that I won’t do is recite your portion for you. That’s your job.” Once the students realize that I want them to be successful, I tell them about my teaching philosophy; I’m not going to teach them their portion, I’m going to teach them how to learn their portion. They have to do the work. Happily, I can also boast that I’ve had many students repeat their Bar/Bat Mitzvah portions on their anniversaries, learn new readings or deliver sermons to the congregation or now lead their families in their Shabbat and holiday traditions and rituals. One student calls me every year on the anniversary of his Bar Mitzvah to thank me for teaching him, because he chants his portion at whatever synagogue he attends on that morning.
This belief that “it’s the journey” also applies at JCS. For those who need us, we are here to assist them with skills that will carry them toward their life’s destination. We see people who need our assistance with finding a job, managing their finances, and navigating past the obstacles that are impeding the road to living a productive and happy life.
Practice and dedication are important for all tasks and in all phases of life. It’s important to remember that success may not necessarily be measured in the completion of the short-term goal. It is measured by the quality of our efforts no matter at which stage of life’s journey we happen to be at the present time. It’s how we reach our destination that matters.
By Steve Land, JCS Service Coordinator
JCS provides a broad range of services that meet the diverse, multi-dimensional needs of individuals and families throughout Central Maryland. We offer guidance and support when you are seeking solutions for emotional well-being, aging and caregiving, parenting, job seeking, employers and businesses, achieving financial stability, living with special needs, and preventing risky behaviors. To learn more, please visit our home page or call 410-466-9200.