Dear reader,

A short while ago, my husband and I celebrated our 30th anniversary. What a landmark! How the years raced by is beyond my comprehension, but that’s how the passage of time tends to be; hours merge into days, which fuse into months, and before long, decades have passed you by.

Unbeknownst to us, weeks before our anniversary our children were planning our celebration. Right under our noses, they had created a WhatsApp family group to discuss “our folks’ upcoming celebration.”

And surprise us they did! First there was the celebratory cake that had been hidden. Then there was the special reservation made just for the two of us. And finally, the coup de grâce: artfully placed was an exquisitely framed collage of each member of our family. It included the most updated pictures of all of them (even our youngest grandchild!) and was accompanied by a heartfelt card thanking us for being their parents.

In the hours and days that ensued, we got to hear some of the behind-the-scenes planning. Only then did we realize how absolutely clueless we were with all the arrangements that were taking place, much of it underfoot.

The texts. The calls. The inquiries. The reservation. The scanning and printing of the photos. The wording on the card. Collecting the funds. So many details.

Each of my children is special, and yet different in his or her distinct way, and each expresses their unique self in the choices of their lives. But each one is exceptional and exceptionally loved.

What touched me most about all the thoughtful surprises was my children’s cooperation. They’re all really great kids, but throughout the years each had their share of mischief. Now they were getting together to mischievously plan something that would totally overwhelm us with their thoughtfulness and love.

Sure, one or two took a more leading role. But whether they lived far or near, from the sons and daughters to the sons-in law, from the youngest who is not yet in her teens to the oldest who is a mother of three, they all lovingly collaborated to bring a smile to their parents’ faces.

My children’s surprise gifts made me think about how we, as the Jewish people, may each be at different stages in our lives, each different in how we conduct ourselves or express our unique sense of selves. There may also be the leaders in our midst taking more active roles. But at the core, we are all G‑d’s precious children. And the greatest gift that we can give our Parent is our cooperation and working together.

This year, being a Hakhel year, we have an even more opportune time. Let’s use our immense power of unity to come together—and bring a smile to G‑d’s face.

Chana Weisberg,
Editor, TJW