The wisdom of golden years was not lost on Temple Beth-El youth. A special service on Saturday, July 15 at Temple Beth-El of Rockaway Park centered on a youth cantata, as well as community leader speeches on “The Golden Years-A perspective on senior life.”
The keynote speakers during the service were Rabbi Rebecca Epstein of West End Temple and City Councilwoman Joann Ariola, who offered words of inspiration to the many attendees.
A highlight of the service was the youth cantata featuring Pauline Litvak, Steven Wagner, Liv Musumeci and Zachary Finkelstein. The presenters spoke about how sacred Jewish texts speak of respect for the community’s seniors with the saying “for an older person you rise.”
Seniors’ resiliency in the wake of the devastating events of Hurricane Sandy in our own Rockaway community and COVID-19 that affected the world at large, showed how much they have to offer younger generations.
Starting with the words of Billy Crystal, the cantata discussed the many deeds this golden generation has brought to fruition, including involvement in humanitarian causes, entertainment and medicine. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was honored for being a force on the U.S. Supreme Court on her 80th birthday.
Another example was Golda Meir, the onetime schoolteacher from Milwaukee, who at age 71 became the first and so far, only woman Prime Minister of Israel. At age 75, she stood steadfast leading the country during the Yom Kippur War.
Ending the cantata was a quote from the Midrash: “We do not stop thinking and learning because we grow old, we grow old when we stop thinking and learning.”
A luncheon followed the services, which included a spirited question and answer session with Rabbi Epstein and Councilwoman Ariola. Temple Beth-El Rabbi Matt Carl also offered some remarks. The event committee was headed by Sharon Gabriel and organized by Cantor Dennis Waldman.