Posted on July 21, 2010
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes (or somewhere thereabouts and by somewhere thereabouts I mean quite a bit less than that), five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred moments so dear (and again, I jest when I say that many minutes- I really just cannot see myself spending time calculating how many minutes were passed in the weeks spent at Areyvut), five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred (and I should hope you’ve gotten the point by now), how do you measure, measure a year (and by year, I mean Summer and by Summer I mean part of Summer)?
In daylights? (maybe?)
In sunsets? (I don’t think so….this was a day job)
In midnights? (that would be a little weird if I were buzzing away doing my intern work at midnight, don’t you think?)
In cups of coffee? (normally this would be a yes, but surprisingly I’ve restrained myself and not had a single bit of the drink at all)
In inches? (well…there was that time with the paper cutter)
In miles? (I’ll give you this one. After all, a number of miles were driven to and from the office each day, on errands, and to and from volunteer opportunities.)
In laughter? (there was rather a lot of this actually)
In strife? (well….if you misconstrue it to take out all the negative connotations then sure, why not?)
In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes, how do you measure a year (summer) in the Areyvut life?
The song from Rent– Seasons of Love- will go on to tell you the year (or in my case Summer) is measured in love. I have to say, I disagree. Certainly, love is a strong component of any life and, I would say, of what we do at Areyvut, but there is so much more than just love and those things shouldn’t just be disregarded. Duty, respect, charity, friendship, and learning are all part of the measure. To borrow from our tagline- it’s about chesed (kindness), tzedakah (charity) and tikun olam (social action). Measuring a year is about looking at both a quantitative and qualitative measure of what you’ve done to make a difference in the lives of those around you and, on a larger scale, in the world.
So, I’m going to take a few mental moments to toss all the bundles of things I did this summer onto my imaginary scale. Let’s start with the top of the stack- delivering meals to those unable to obtain them on their own. Jewish Family Services, located in Teaneck, runs a kosher Meals on Wheels program. With my handy GPS which, to the disappointment of those in my car, was not speaking in a British accent, we visited two houses to bring over meals. There are many in the world that need help and it’s definitely a good thing to start within your own community.
Looking back over the rest of the summer, there was the visit to the Tenafly Nature Center to clean up trash, the visit from Zeesy Grossbaum to share with us about Friendship Circle, the trip to Staten Island to work with Hebrew Free Burial Association, the Mitzvah Clowning program, the Habitat for Humanity trip and, most overwhelmingly, the daily work we all did in the office. What does this all amount to physically? Maybe a gazillion points or a certain number of gold stars on the pretend chart we have? I don’t know, but moreover- I don’t care. Regardless of how much everything I’ve done ‘weighs,’ I know that the work I’ve done is important. So while I do love the song from Rent, I can’t say I agree with it- not at all.