CLERGY CORNER: Back to Shul

Posted on 31 July 2013 by LeslieM

Back to Shul … I mean, back to school … The new school year is about to begin and teachers, those amazing souls who spend the day tending to a whole classroom full of precious students, will once again ask that most famous of questions, “How did you spend your summer vacation?”

Many little ones spent the summer at sleep-away camp, and I was pleased to read that there were a few camps this year that actually forbid the campers from having cell phones and other technological devices. (Wow, what I wouldn’t give to have a month without being so connected.)

Now, you might be wondering to yourselves, “But, if they didn’t have cell phones or computers, how did they keep in touch with their parents?” Well, with school starting again, let me be the first to remind you of a dying art. You may have heard of it before. It’s called “WRITING!” That’s right; they kept in touch by writing letters. You remember the letters of the alphabet, don’t you? Well, thank a teacher if you can put them together into a coherent sentence and take a pen and write a letter to someone you care about.

There was a little one away at camp this summer who had probably never written a letter before although he was incredibly fluent in texting with every abbreviation you can imagine. But away at one of those camps without cell phones, he had to learn the art of letter writing.

He did pretty well at it, too; but, when he got a letter from his mother that ended with, “P.S. I love you,” he had to write back to find out what P.S. meant. And so it was that he began to finish all his letters to his parents with just that, “P.S., I love you.”

There was a beautiful, heart-warming movie out a few years back starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler called, “P.S. I Love You.” It told the story of a husband who, knowing he was dying, wrote a series of letters to his wife. Each of those letters was actually an assignment. Like a teacher, he was telling her to do something.

The truth is that, while she was doing each of these assignments, she wasn’t really sure what the purpose was. Her best friend in the movie (and her mother as well) were afraid that those assignments were keeping her tied to the past. But, as the movie goes on, we learn that each bit of homework was actually moving her into a bright new future.

That’s what teachers do; they try to steer our children toward a bright new future.

The Beatles had a song that said: “As I write this letter, send my love to you, remember that I’ll always be in love with you. Treasure these few words, ‘till we’re together, keep all my love forever, P.S., I love you.” I know you think you know what P.S. stands for, but that’s not what it meant to my mother of blessed memory. To her, P.S. stood for Public School. I was able to write this letter today because of Public School and because of the many teachers I was blessed with and, as to Lincoln Elementary School back in Rock Island, IL, all I can say is “P.S. I Love You!” And to the teachers I am still blessed to know, “P.S., I Love You Too!” To the parents and to the students reading this today, I hope you write to your teacher often and that you close each letter with that most meaningful of post scripts “P.S. I Love You!”

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is a member of the National Association of Jewish Chaplains and of the Association of Professional Chaplains, He works professionally in this capacity with a number of healthcare facilities in the area, and with hospice. He is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach

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