Transforming Lives: Generation To Generation
By Aryeh Gamer
This year, I was honored to be part of Dor L’Dor. I have had an excellent time with Jewish Seniors doing things together like Bingo, a Tu Bishvat seder, celebrating Passover, and making Matzah. Spending time with the seniors, I have made a connection with them and learned from them to always persevere.
Personally, I think that stories are a very important part of connecting with others. To learn the stories of your elders is to know yourself. I find it wondrous, to sit next to a man or woman, that lived their childhood in fear because others didn’t like their religion. In school, we learn many stories about the Holocaust, and other difficult times for Jews, but hearing the story personally from ones who have experienced this horror, is when I realize that we are connected as Jewish people, even though we have never met before.
At the Tu Bishvat seder, I started talking to one of the seniors at my table. It was our first Dor l’Dor experience, and I had never really spoken to elders other than my grandparents. I came in thinking that I wouldn’t do much talking, but I was wrong, and we had a great time together. We talked about our favorite fruits from the seven species of Israel and then ate the fruits. Together we read the blessings. When we went to interview Jewish seniors about their Passover stories, we all had so much fun. Dori, the person I interviewed, told us about her family Passover traditions, and all the hilarious things her dog used to do like eating all six sponge cakes her mother had made for Passover. I had a spectacular time with the seniors every time we saw them.
With all the time I’ve spent with the seniors, one important thing I have learned, is to persevere. Lessons about perseverance are everywhere in Judaism; in the stories of the Holocaust, in the Torah, in the Mishnah, and more. Perseverance is one of the things that drives Judaism forward. When we made matzah, we learned how the Israelites persevered through Pharaoh’s harsh slavery, and their travels through the desert until they finally got to Israel. When seniors talk to me about hard times they have experienced in their lives, the theme is always to persevere. The reason the Jewish people still survive, and the reason we have our own country, is that we always persevere.
Dor L’Dor has changed my life and helped me to make better connections with others. Throughout Dor L’Dor, I have made a connection with seniors through stories. I have had fun and I have learned from perseverance. I will take what they have given me, and use it to make myself the best person I can be.
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