With this Torah portion, “Terumah”, we go deeply into a first set if instructions concerning the construction of the Ark. No detail is spared here and other places in Torah. The passage begins with the instruction from God to Moses that the Israelites should “bring Me gifts; you shall accept gifts for Me from every person whose heart so moves him” (Exodus 25:2)
I was thinking about this passage recently and how it could or may impact Boomers. You see, what is taking place with many Boomers is the realization that we have many gifts that we wish, each on our own way, to give back to the world and our community. Your own life experience, your own passion for something can be a gift that you give back to some one or some organization.
This idea of returning the gift of your self to others was especially present in an interview I recently did on my radio show, Boomer Generation Radio.(1) Marc Freedman was on. He is the director of Encore.org, an organization that assists Boomers in developing what he called “encore” careers. Freedman has written a lot on this subject and speaks around the country on it as well. His message is simply that many Boomers, as we transition from full time work, are seeking to give back to society some of their own self. These “encore” careers may range from teaching to community work, but they represent the giving of the gift of one’s self to the community at large.
So many people are doing just that, giving of their self, as their hearts are moved, in order to make a statement that we are part of something greater than our own self. This gift of self, is, I suggest, a message that can be taken from this Torah portion. It is also a message that no matter what age we are, we have gifts to give.
Rabbi Richard F Address, D.Min
(1) you can listen to the Freedman interview by going to www.jewishsacredaging.com and clicking on the pod cast of the show, first aired on Tuesday February 10, 2015
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min, is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. Rabbi Address served for over three decades on staff of the Union for Reform Judaism; first as a Regional Director and then, beginning in 1997, as Founder and Director of the URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns and served as a specialist and consultant for the North American Reform Movement in the areas of family related programming. Rabbi Address was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and began his rabbinic career in Los Angeles congregations. He also served as a part time rabbi for Beth Hillel in Carmel, NJ while regional director and, after his URJ tenure, served as senior rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ from 2011-2014.