Graduates, in this week’s parsha, God instructs that the menorah should be hammered of gold from base to petal. Why gold? Because if you’ve ever listened to country singer Maren Morris, you know that “the house don’t fall when the bones are good.”
You, graduates, are each a menorah. You are solid gold, with golden hearts and brains and neshamas. With gold as your base, you can stand the test of time, you can withstand pressure and overcome any challenge.
Indeed that is true. As if being a teenager isn’t hard enough, you spent your 7th and 8th grade years living through a pandemic that has killed 3.5 million people…the greatest disaster of our lifetimes. Because of this pandemic, you also have lived through a canceled Israel trip, loss, grief and disappointment. But like the gold of the menorah, you were hammered into shape. And it has made you strong. You can face any challenge. You are resilient, able to endure any unexpected change and the ensuing disappointment that comes your way.
Like the menorah, you hold the ability to shine holy light. And we know you will. You will shine when you stand up for a classmate, for democracy and for our Jewish homeland, Israel.
You will shine as you add depth to classroom conversations, as you share your talents and skills, as you enrich your community by initiating efforts that bring positive change, as you set an example for your peers of what it means to be kind, ethical, caring and compassionate. You shine your light when you give to others, when you forgive others with generosity of spirit and when you engage others in the things that interest you. You shine your light when you act with values and take responsibility for your actions.
I stand with every member of the Mirowitz faculty and staff, with every board member past and present, with every member of the St. Louis Jewish community when I say that we are proud of you. Deeply, genuinely and sincerely proud.
Remember that you have the power to make an impact…that your base is gold and it was fashioned so that you continue to shine holy light throughout your lives.
Graduates – as we celebrate all you have achieved, and the young adults have become…I share these words from Isaiah 55:
May you go out with joy and be led forth in peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song before you and the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Mazal tov Ub’hatzlacha