It is at this time of year, with Thanksgiving and the end of the year quickly approaching, that I am always reminded of the expression “an attitude of gratitude.” As I may have noted before, this is the notion of making it a habit to express thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life, on a regular basis — for the big things and small things alike. Taking a moment, whether giving thanks to God or just feeling grateful in our own reflections, “an attitude of gratitude” resonates with me on so many levels.
With all the negativity and pessimism around us, Thanksgiving gives us an opportunity to reflect on the positives, our blessings, instead of focusing on the negatives. It is also a time to think about how to extend the season of gratitude to improve your life year-round. The Hebrew term for gratitude is hakarat hatov, which means, literally, “recognizing the good.” Practicing gratitude means recognizing the good that is already yours.
Scientists have discovered all sorts of positive outcomes from practicing gratitude: improved physical health and immunity against disease; fewer expressions of toxic emotions such as resentment, frustration and regret; better sleep; more self-respect; more satisfying relationships; and enhanced resilience.
Author Melody Beattie wrote, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, and confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
I am grateful for family and friends who provide support and encouragement through good times and, sometimes, tough times and for the many things that make day-to-day life so wonderful. I also appreciate a community that demonstrates caring and compassion and a desire to welcome and engage its members.
I am grateful to each one of you for your time, talent and financial support working to make our community a rich and vibrant one. It is our Jewish Community Center, our Jewish Day School, our Jewish Family Service, and all our synagogues and other organizations that enrich our Jewish life here in the valley. In addition, our Jewish Federation, Jewish Foundation and affinity groups all work to provide opportunities to engage you in helping to make our community and the world a better place. How wonderful to be surrounded by you, as together we address important and meaningful work each day. Please accept my sincere appreciation and thanks to each of you for inspiring me.
In this edition of Hakol, we take a moment to recognize the generous and valued support of sponsors and advertisers and all that they do to support our mission and community efforts. I hope you will join me in recognizing their ongoing support by patronizing their businesses. Together, we are here for good and we appreciate their generosity and community-minded care.
Wishing you and your families an attitude of gratitude and a relaxing Thanksgiving holiday!