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Our Mitzvah Journey: Growing into Good (even better) Humans

I recently read the book, “God’s To-Do List,” by Dr. Ron Wolfson. While this isn’t necessarily a mesmerizing read for students, it is a fabulous read for parents. Not only does it remind us as parents to focus on the “becoming a great human” part of the B’nai Mitzvah journey, but gives applicable advice on connecting with your child through Jewish values. This journey can be a time to enjoy, get to know and actively do with your child. 

The book is styled after the idea that we do what God does; that each of us can “activate the spark of divinity within,” (page 6) to do God’s work in our daily lives. The concept of “God’s To-Do List” is to chose something to do each day that furthers God’s work and shares tikkun olam, bringing healing to the world. 

Each chapter theme is based around us being “like God,” and following the examples of what God does. The first chapter, “Create,” is one of the first characteristics of God found in the first book of the Torah, Bereshit (Genesis). God creates and so we create. The chapter shares verses and a variety of stories with examples on how we can create in our own lives. At the end of the chapter, a “to-do list” is provided with line items such as, “Gather friends and create a community mural to brighten a neighborhood,” or “Use your God-given gift of creativity–paint, draw, sculpt, photograph, compose, dance, write, cook or bake.” One thing I appreciate about those “to-do’s” are that they incorporate not only what we can do for others but also to care for ourselves. The key phrase defining this chapter is: “God is the creator, you can be a creator, too,” (pages 26-27).

The chapter themes covered in this book are: Create, Bless, Rest, Call, Comfort, Care, Repair, Wrestle, Give, Forgive and then an invitation to create your own “God’s To-Do List” under each category. 

Let’s take a look at “Comfort.” One of the points made in this chapter is practicing “Radical Hospitality.” What a great theme for your family to practice during this time since the B’nai Mitzvah service, luncheon and/or parties should ooze with radical hospitality. 

How can you practice radical hospitality together? Wolfson shares some ideas:

- Host a family crafty night and create a “Welcome” or "Shalom" sign for your front door.

- Visit a senior center or retirement community and play games with the residents.

- Create “cheery” baskets to share with others who are having a difficult time. 

- Pay it forward for another person’s cup of coffee at the local coffee shop. 

Tue, February 25 2020 30 Shevat 5780