The birthday party at the Birchmere was a wonderful time, one that I will long remember. The music was terrific, the Sammy Sosa memorabilia is amazing and the cake was “wow.” And it’s the biggest birthday party I have had since my bar mitzvah.
As most of you know, my birthday is actually in August, but holidays from Rosh HaShanah to Thanksgiving to New Year’s all seemed to complicate the schedule, so I was glad (all over) to celebrate so close to my half-birthday. I am grateful to Ruth and Barry Heitin, Ellen and Charley Wayne, and Patti Rounsevell and Ken Labowitz for the effort and creativity they put into the afternoon.
The best part of the day for me was also the worst. When I mentioned that I was uncomfortable being the center of attention, I was greeted with some gentle derision. However, it is true. I will do just about anything to call attention to causes and values I support, but those causes do not include me. I am embarrassed by the affection you demonstrated, and feel most undeserving. Yet I was touched deeply by everything from the personal conversations with friends to the hand-made cards from the children of the congregation.
So I wish the same for each of you. It may be impractical to rent a club and hire a band for every person’s significant birthdays, but it is far from difficult to take the time to express your appreciation for the many people who make a difference in your life. On an intellectual level, we all realize how lucky we are to have our friends and family. The depth of those blessings is a little harder to measure short of a crisis. Yet, the most important times to feel secure in love are the stable times, when human bonds are not tested by struggle or pain. Of all the gifts I received, this one I will treasure most.
In my life, I’ve loved you more. Thanks.