Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Job!

16 years in Jewish education. 16 years of teaching and learning, of connecting and caring, of trying and trying again. On the flip side, if I am to be honest, there’s also been 16 years of mistakes; of trying too hard, of taking things personally, of being tough when I needed to be nice, of being a sap when I need to show some backbone. In a few weeks it all comes to an end. I am changing careers. I am done with teaching, at least in the classroom sense of the term. Is it forever? That’s a very long time, so I’ll just say for the foreseeable future.

If you know me however, you know that I am hardwired to need to do something I find meaningful. I am not rushing off to head a Fortune 500 company. (What you just heard was the collective sigh of Wall Street. I always say, only somewhat facetiously, that I could run a Fortune 500 company into the ground in two weeks). I will be doing something I love. Something that I am passionate about. Something into which I can sink my everything.

When I first started running, I thought that it would be good for me as it would help me lose weight. Of course it did help in that regard, but it has given me so much more. A way to help the children of Chai Lifeline, to do a little bit for a young father with ALS, to help young teens who feel alienated from their religion and community. It has also given me friends. It might be somewhat of an exaggeration but sometimes I feel like half my friends on Facebook are rabbis and the other half are runners (of course, unlike myself, few combine the two). It has given me a way to help others and in so many ways, myself. Still, for a long time I was sure that there was one thing missing.

There are many organizations out there that do so much good in so many ways. Of course, like most of us, they have been hit hard by the recession. Sadly, I am not yet able to write out huge checks to solve these problems. What I can do, what I have wanted to do so badly, what I will be doing, is using running to help. Just One Life is an organization that helps expectant women in crisis, who live in Israel. The name of the organization comes from a Talmudic statement that equates saving one life with saving the world. Just One Life helps these women and their families financially and emotionally so that they can comfortably bring a child into this world. It is an amazing organization run by very special people. For more on Just One Life see here

I have been given the opportunity to start “Team Just One Life”; a charity team that will use running (and in the future other sports) to help raise money for this vital cause. Of course, from experience, I know that it will do this and so much more. It will introduce people to a healthier lifestyle, it will create friendships, it will help people develop a side of themselves they never knew they had. In short, it will change lives. I hope you will open your hearts, minds, rolodexes and wallets to help. I know that during the last several months as I thought about where I would be going next, so many of you helped in so many ways. Often, I have been moved beyond words. I know that I have so many people who I count as friends and who have been there for me in so many ways. Amazingly, some have been people who I only know virtually. I look forward to your being part of this next stage of my life. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.