GSA November E-Newsletter

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November 2012

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Book Recommendations

Molly's Pilgrim
By: Barbara Cohen

Because we are thinking about Thanksgiving and gratitude, I hope you all can read the story of Molly's Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen to your grandchildren, or even just for yourselves.

The story is of a third grade Jewish immigrant from Russia at a new school in the U.S.  The other students in her class make fun of her.  The story unfolds so that the students, the teacher and Molly end up feeling good about one another.
Themes of the story include conflict, self-esteem, communication, and bias.  After reading the story, you might ask the following questions, and of course, any questions that occur to you.

1.  How was Molly different from the other students?

2.  What does it feel like to be different from other people?  Have you ever felt that way?

3.  What did Molly not understand?

4. What would you do if someone in your class did not understand an assignment?

5. Why was Molly grateful at the end of the story?  To whom was she grateful?

6. Do you know any real stories that were like that?

7. For what are you grateful?


 Quote of the Day

Hillel used to say:

”If I am not for myself, who will be for me?

And if I am only for myself, what am I?

And if not now, when?”

Pirke Avot 1:14

Words to Inspire

For the days since last we met and shared our common bond of humanity,
We thank You, God.

For the heavens which declare Your glory, and for the earth which shows Your handiwork,
We thank You, God.

For our daily food and drink, our homes and families, and our friends,
We thank You, God.

For the concern of those who call us to be good stewards of the earth,
We thank You, God.

For minds to think, hearts to love, and hands to serve,
We thank You, God.

For Your servants in ages past who heard Your word and proclaimed Your sovereignty,
We thank You, God.

For the brave and courageous, and all valiant seekers of truth, liberty and justice,
We thank You, God. 

For this night and your spirit which binds us together in a moment of worship,
We thank You, God.

For Your blessing, which lifts us from brokenness to wholeness, from despair to 
hope, from darkness to light, and from fear to trust,
We thank You, God. 

Amen and amen.

Hurricane Sandy Relief

From Areyvut's Website:

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, many people want to find out what they can do to help. Below we have listed a comprehensive list of ways in which you can volunteer and donate. Additionally, we have also compiled a list of ways in which you can teach your children or students about hurricanes, how to respond and more. 

Check out Areyvut's website for a list of ways to volunteer and donate.


About Us:

Educating and engaging seniors to do social action;

Empowering grandchildren to make the world a better place;

And creating a legacy from one generation to another.

840 Vernon Avenue
Glencoe, Illinois 60022 
(847) 948-5556

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A Note from Bubbe Sharon

Why did we devote this edition of the GSA E-Newsletter to the theme of gratitude?   Because we can attach a plan for action to everything for which we are grateful.   Because if we look at the people in this world who are leaders, they are most often people who express gratitude in their lives.   And because people who look at their lives as a gift are people who can make a difference in the lives of others.  What a beautiful message to teach our children and grandchildren as the season of Thanksgiving approaches!!!!!!!

Several weeks ago, I was sitting in my local Starbucks and I met a young boy named Jered S. from Cincinnati.  I asked Jered if he was grateful for something.  He responded "I am grateful for life."  Jered’s mother went on to explain that her father had died of cancer, so she was grateful for health.  Jered’s sister said she was grateful for clothes. And Jered's father said he was grateful for friends and family.

My suggestion is to do the following with your family: have a discussion about the things in our lives for which we are grateful.  Further the discussion by thinking about what actions can you take that will make your gratitude become significant in the lives of others.  For example, if you are grateful for clothes, then go through your closet and choose those clothes that you can contribute to others.  Perhaps even suggest to your friends or your family or to your favorite organization, church, or temple, that this may be the time to have a clothing drive of winter coats, mittens, etc. as the cold weather will be upon us soon.  


If you are grateful for health, take your family to a fundraising walk for a cancer research organization.  Visit a sick friend or neighbor.  Make sure to consider yourself too—take care of your body, and do all you can to stay healthy.

If you are grateful for life, then I hope that you think about what you want to accomplish in your life to make the world a better place.  When my daughter was in college, she had an assignment to write a eulogy for me.  She wrote, “My mom always wanted to change the world.  So far, she’s made a dent.”  After I cried with tears of joy, I told her that all I wanted to do was to make a dent, and I would be happy if that was all she learned from me.  What are you teaching to your grandchildren about the message of your life?  What are they learning that might be the message of their lives?   There’s a story of when Ghandi was on a train.  A man standing on the platform saw him and held up a sign, saying "What is your message?"  Ghandi wrote something, and held it up.  It said, "My life is my message.”

Finally, if you are grateful for friends and family, you might write a letter telling your friends and family that you are grateful.  You might call an older relative a bit more often than you do.  You might call your grandchildren.  They might love you a lot, but are too busy to call.  They would love to hear from you by phone or email.  Don't ever stand on ceremony about who owes whom a phone call.  You might make a contribution to an organization in honor of a friend or a grandchild, not just on an important birthday, but just anytime because you are thinking about them. 

This is only a beginning.  I am sure you all have many more ideas.  Be sure to talk about them, to think about them and to do them.  Finally, I must say that I am grateful that all of you are so interested in making a difference in the lives of the next generation- and knowing that our lives have meaning which we can transmit to the younger generation.

Sharon Morton

Stories to Inspire

By Susan B. Noyes
    From my perch in the tree of life, nurturing resilience is more important than nurturing happiness.

    Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows a person to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. Resilient athletes, artists, patients, entrepreneurs, lovers and others inspire me. Raising resilient children drives me. Feeling resilience after losing the game, my creativity, more money pursuing my dream, a loved one—comforts me.

Happiness is ephemeral; resilience is a character trait. Happiness comes and goes, but a resilient person is a resilient person, and probably a more-satisfied-with-life person too.

I'll even go so far as to declare that the pursuit of resilience is as important as the pursuit of happiness. The Declaration of Independence tells us to pursue "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” But pursuing resilience seems far more likely to lead to the independent, free and happy lives envisioned by our Founding Fathers.

So how does one pursue resilience? And doesn't living in our "perfect" North Shore make it harder to be knocked down by life in the first place?

Avoid the perfection trap! Instead be inspired by the success stories in our midst to set big goals and give yourself permission to fail on your journey to achieve them. You will learn about yourself, contribute something to the world, be a better person for the effort and inspire others because you tried. Your resilience should grow with each stumble. And eventually you will achieve that dream, or something even better.

Quick Ideas


Whenever a child shows kindness, remind him how grateful you are to see that attribute in him.

Sign up for Areyvut’s Kindness-a-Day online calendar.  They always have wonderful ideas on showing kindness and explaining what tradition tells us about that attribute.

What concerns you?  Decide what action you can take to alleviate the concern.

Be sure to have "gratitude conversations" at your Thanksgiving dinner table.

Write thank you letters to people you love and to whom you are grateful.

Do a random act of kindness for an elderly neighbor.  He/she will be very grateful.

After reading a book like Molly's Pilgrim, be kind to another person who you think might be feeling different. 

Discuss the difference between feeling grateful and feeling obligated.

Call or email notes to people who have written to you or sent you birthday cards.

As always, share your thoughts!  Write to and tell me what you do to evidence your gratitude.  We will publish your ideas!


Thanksgiving Reading

Compiled by Rabbi Billy Dreskin


The Talmud teaches that these are the obligations without measure, whose reward is also without measure:

To honor one’s parents.
To perform acts of love and kindness.
To engage in lifelong learning.
To welcome the stranger.
To visit the sick.
To celebrate with the bride and the groom.
To console the bereaved.
To pray with sincerity.
To make peace when there is strife.
And religious learning is equal to them all ...
Because it leads to them all.
How extraordinary is the situation of us mortals. Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose we know not, though we sometimes think we sense it. But without going deeper than our daily life, it is plain that we exist for our fellow men and women.
In the first place, for those upon whose smiles and welfare our happiness depends, and next, for all those unknown to us personally, but to whose destinies we are bound by the tie of sympathy.
A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depends on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the measure as I have received and am still receiving.
– Albert Einstein

As our Thanksgiving holiday begins, let’s pause and give credit for some of the many blessings
that are ours each and every day.
For people who care about people. For teachers, who instill in our children a love for
learning — the beginnings of the story that will be theirs.
For volunteers, who serve soup to the needy, find blankets for the homeless, and share smiles and embraces so that no one is left alone in the world.
For heroes ... who risk their lives to save people from burning cars, fallen bridges, and
raging floods.
For family and friends who support us and cheer for us as we work to achieve our dreams, and who comfort us when we’re lost.
For love, at any age.
For every day that something happens to make us more understanding, and kinder toward those who are different.
For everything that contains blessing or the promise of blessing. For life itself. Thank you ... for the opportunity to be alive, to be here, to say thanks.
– adapted, Mobil ad, New York Times, Nov 1995 



From Babs Maltenfort, in memory of her grandfather, Sam Rosenberg

From Sharon Morton, in honor of her new grandchild of Fred and Julie         Crandall

If you would like to make a donation please send your name, address and information for whom the donation is made including name and address and whether this is in honor of an event or in memory of a loved one.  Make out  a check  to Grandparents for Social Action and mail it to Sharon Morton,  56 Ellendale Rd.  Deerfield, Illinois, and we will send a donation card to the recipient and an acknowledgement for tax purposes to you.




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Grandparents for Social Action
Grandparents for Social Action
840 Vernon Ave
Glencoe, Illinois 60022

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