Rabbi Harold Loss

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Lessons In Saying Thank You

My intention in this article was simply to say: Thank you to our Temple family for a wonderful weekend of celebration. I understand how many hours and how much effort went into a Shabbat service that is now a cherished memory. Thank you to the many donors who believe in our mission. Thank you to the Board of Trustees who made the decision to name our pre-school: The Susan and Rabbi Harold Loss Early Childhood Center.

I was considering how to develop the theme of gratitude when I opened an email from Corporal Jacob Breall, a young man I had never met. I shared it with our executive committee. Each one agreed that it should be included in the Messenger. It serves as a further reminder of how important it is to say thank you. Not simply at the celebration moments in our lives, but each and every day.

Dear Rabbi Harold Loss And The Congregation of Temple Israel,
I want to thank you, your congregation, especially the young children, for writing such wonderful letters to us here in Israel. I highly doubt you know who I am, where I come from, or what I do, so I might as well begin with that. My name is Jacob and I am 23 years old. I am from Indianapolis, IN. I attended Indiana University where I received my bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice. When I finished college, I was faced with a few options. I could go work a corporate job, go to law school, or choose a more interesting path, the Israeli Defense Force. I chose the third path for many reasons: To defend the Jewish people and the Jewish homeland, to help better myself as a human person, and to choose something different. What I thought it was going to be like and what the path has become have been two totally opposite things. Whether it is sleeping out in the desert in 10 degree weather, driving on patrol in the West Bank, or tasting a home cooked Shabbat meal, every experience has been something new to me. That is why I want to thank you. You see, I have never received a thank you from a complete stranger in my entire life before this experience.

However, coming to Israel, I have received nothing but thank-you's and praises. Complete strangers will invite me to their house for meals, old people will try to give me their seats on the bus, bakers will try to give me extra rolls. However, to see the support from people back home is what really feels good. To receive letters such as the ones that your Sunday school kids sent my unit is something that truly brightens my day. When I come home and see the letters posted on my refrigerator, I am reminded why I am taking part in this journey, for Israel and the Jewish people. And that's why I am writing. To thank you all for YOUR support of Israel. You are the ones why we work so hard everyday protecting what is truly important.

Thank You Again,
Corporal Jacob Breall

There is one other way we can say thank you. That is by allowing others to do for us what we, with love, are prepared to do for them. So many of us find it difficult, in times of need, to give our family and friends permission to do what we would have done for them. This falls under the theme, "do not deny others the opportunity to perform a mitzvah." We say thank you for friendship when we drive a buddy to his dialysis or chemo treatment. We say thank you by bringing a meal to a friend's home when someone is ill. We say thank you when we sit with someone who is ill for a few hours and give a caregiver the time to go shopping or simply to relax.

Susan and I thank you for a wonderful weekend. Corporal Jacob Breall thanks you for remembering. Your friends and family thank you for giving them the opportunity to help and in so doing allowing them to perform a mitzvah.

Thank someone today for the little acts of kindness that they perform each and every day in your life.

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Temple Israel is a Reform Jewish Congregation which seeks to fulfill its religious and ethical goals by being a center for spiritual fulfillment, life-long learning, cultural enrichment, community leadership, social responsibility, and by lovingly entrusting our Reform Jewish tradition from generation to generation. We are committed in our support of the State of Israel and of the Jewish people throughout the world.

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