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Rededicating my life | Worship


Last updated 1/15/2023 at 3:55pm

The first night of Hanukkah, the eight-day Festival of Lights, starts this year at sunset on Dec. 18.

As I’ve been writing this column for the Mukilteo Beacon worship page since February 2008, nearly 20 of those columns have been about Hanukkah, the December Dilemma or something similar.

Not surprisingly, there’s not much new I can say in my 21st Hanukkah column or for that matter my 74th worship page column. Therefore, I’ve concluded it’s time to pass this pen on to a new voice.

The publication of this last column coincides with my Dec. 9 retirement from my 20-plus year professional career as a city planner.

The Hanukkah story is about the rededication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem in 164 BCE after it was desecrated by Hellenistic invaders a couple of years earlier.

While I don’t feel desecrated by my years as a public sector planner, or the work I did before that as editor and reporter for the Mukilteo Beacon, or the work before that as an asphalt paving contractor, or the work before that … I do view my retirement as a time to rededicate my life to something entirely new.

The Torah does not distinguish between life’s phases. It teaches that productivity is the very essence of life, meaning regardless of what phase of life we’re in we need to be productive.

The concept of a retirement comprised of total leisure being the epitome of happiness is a myth because an unproductive life cannot be satisfying. Only when we are contributing to this world, to make it a better place, can we be truly happy.

For most of us, our physical capabilities diminish as we age but that doesn’t mean we should succumb to inactivity. Rather, we should see it as a challenge to find new paths of achievement.

What my new paths will be I don’t know, and I don’t expect a Hanukkah miracle where after eight days of retirement I will figure it out.

In the near term I know I am going to assist in Temple Beth Or’s capital campaign to raise money to build an addition to our existing 100-year-old building. A key component of this project is to build an elevator and remove all accessibility obstacles to make our facility as welcoming as our community.

I will also put to use my years of experience as a city planner to help the synagogue through the City of Everett permitting process, so I’ll still have a toe in planning waters for at least a little while into my retirement.

After that, who knows? Perhaps you’ll see me at the YMCA as I no longer will have the excuse of not having the time to be active and properly exercise. Or maybe I’ll be out on the water off of Lighthouse Park in my new kayak, something I’ve always wanted to do on a regular basis but never before had the opportunity.

But my retirement will not be all fun and games. It will have its serious side where I continue to try to make a difference; to be productive; to make this world a better place for my grandchildren to grow up in.


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