We’re all busy in some way or another and preoccupied with too many devices and screens. But there’s an antidote and she comes with a ponytail and pink and blue fingernails.
This past week my 8-year-old granddaughter Izzy and I turned the pages of an art book featuring photos of outlying hospital buildings of Ellis Island, now in ruins but with haunting images telling the story of those detained there. We talked about what it must have been like to leave one’s home, travel across the ocean, knowing that America held freedom and opportunity and hope, yet how scary an experience it must have been for so many. Leaving what’s known and familiar and gathering courage to embrace a new future.
So, too, the Israelites left slavery in Egypt and headed into an unknown, with trust in Moses and growing awe in God, who was yet to be more fully revealed.
Spending time with Izzy was such a treat for me. To talk with a child, to see the world through their refreshing world vision, to remember that we all start from a state of innocence and then either have the good fortune – or not – to learn to appreciate the world and our environment, to respect that people are created in God’s image and to understand that our words and actions matter.
Spending time with a child is liberating. It can be an exhilarating reset button for our outlook and for our own world view.
Margo Gold is immediate past international president of United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.