Choosing Gratitude

November 30, 2015

Last week, Dr. Dan Gottleib of WHYY hosted his final weekly Voices in the Family. He focused this final show on gratitude.  As callers thanked Dr. Dan for giving them something– courage or patience or thanks…  he responded: “I don’t give anyone anything that isn’t already there.  It’s about seeing what’s already there.”  (paraphrased)

Seeing what’s already there– this is Judaism’s approach to Thanksgiving.  One Hebrew term for gratitude is “hakarat hatov.”  The word thanks isn’t even in there.  Hakarat hatov means “recognizing the good.”  The good is already there.  It’s our mitzvah, our sacred action to, call it out. Why is it so important to call out the good — to see what’s already there?

One response comes from Ron Lieber, a Reform Jew and the author of  The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous and Smart About Money.  Lieber believes that saying grace is one of the single best things parents can do for their kids — no matter what god you do or don’t believe in. He explains there’s a link between gratitude and lower levels of envy and depression, because gratitude helps us to feel a sense of satisfaction, a sense of enough. Read the rest of this entry »

A Simple Act of Love May Tip the Balance: Dedication of the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Center

November 11, 2015

Today, our congregants Stephen and Sandra Sheller were honored for their generosity and vision in making the expansion of the 11th Street family Health Center at Drexel University a reality.  Here is the moving speech Sandy delivered:

My heart swells with gratitude and pride for this most beautiful place that is a beacon of healing and hope in this much deserved but often overlooked neighborhood and community. As I stand before this vision that has come to fruition after many years of dreaming and planning, I realize it is so much larger than we ever could have imagined. More than the bricks, mortar, and 17,000 additional square feet of expanded space, is what is, and can now, take place, inside this innovative, patient-centered, and trauma-informed comprehensive health care center. At 11th Street, all of the deeper needs impacting health and well-being in this underserved community are addressed. Read the rest of this entry »