Sunday, June 24, 2007


I went, this morning, to a talk at temple about ethical wills. I went mostly because it was being co-sponsored by the Religious School PTA, and I'm the new PTA President. But I also went because I wondered if my will--the one I haven't yet signed or printed out, yes, that's the one I mean--was 'ethical.'

Somewhere out there, someone who knows what an ethical will is is laughing at me. And rightfully so.

Turns out, an ethical will is actually nothing more (or less) than a record or statement of your beliefs and values, a letter to the people you will be leaving behind, letting them know what you believed in, what you would like them to learn from your life, what your life was about, that sort of thing. As the woman who presented the topic to us wrote, "It is a personal reflection of your philosophies on life, the moral to your story, or specific hopes and ideals that you would like to share with future generations about yourself, [hopes and ideals] that you would like to endure."

There were some really heartwrenching examples shared, and some funny ones, too. And then she had us do some freewriting, to start our own ethical wills from prompts she'd printed out. Because I am unlikely to ever put together an official ethical will (see above; still don't have a legal one, for crying out loud!) and because in so many ways this IS my ethical will, this blog, this journal where I put my hopes and fears and thoughts, I'll just reprint here what I wrote in those few moments this morning. (Note: Because this was a temple-sponsored talk, the focus was on so-called "Jewish ethical wills," and especially those that focused on faith and/or Jewish ideals. Hence the focus in the following paragraph.)

Em, N, this is for you:

The experience that most changed my life was...becoming a mother. It changed it in obvious ways--now I am responsible for the two of you and your safety and health and for how you grow as human beings--and it changed it in less obvious ways. As a mother, I have met new people--usually also mothers or fathers--who have become so very important to me. As a mother, I've found faith for what may be the first time in my life, because I wanted you guys to be brought up in a Jewish household and--even more importantly--amidst a Jewish community, or at least a community that has Judaism as an option. And so, in some very direct ways, being a mother has brought me closer to God and to other people, and has made me who I am today.

1 comment:

po said...

That was beautiful.'re Religious School PTA President now? Because you didn't have enough to do already? Can we scoff at the next (imminent) post in which you kvetch about being too busy and not having enough time to get anything done?

And yeah, I just said kvetch. Ya wanna make something of it ;-)?