By Dasee Berkowitz Even though the last crumbs of matzah have been swept away, one of the Seder’s messages still lingers. We sing it every year, but this year, it means more: “Dayenu.” What does it mean to have enough? Beyond the regular feelings of gratitude that I cultivate on a daily basis, there was always something that bothered me about this invocation. It seems a bit disingenuous. Is it really enough? Is it really enough that God took us out of Egypt without Giving us Shabbat, or Torah? Dayenu v’lo Dayenu: While we are grateful for what we have, we always want more. Rabbi David Kalb and Karina Zilberman, both past presenters at Limmud NY, have riffed that Dayenu represents the quintessential dialogue between young and old. The older generation usually say, “It’s enough, be happy with what you have, don’t ask for too much more.” But the youth, in all of their idealism, are never happy with the status quo: “No, it is not enough. Things have to get better than this.” We don’t find so many places where dialogues between old and young take place anymore. The Seder table is one exception. Limmud NY is another. With two little kids, I am aware more than ever how easy it is to live in a silo. It makes sense: We want to be with people our own age, at our stage in life. “Nobody else understands us,” we think. For four days at Limmud NY, however, I look forward to breaking down this generational divide. My fondest memories at Limmud NY over the past few years have been impromptu conversations with sixty-year-old moms giving parenting advice, or listening to Jewish communal legends like ninety-year-old Ruth Gruber and Ralph Goldman reflect on the successes of their generation, establishing the State of Israel, and reinvigorating Jewish life around the world. But my highlights also include discussions with twenty-something Jewish activists and artists, who redefine what it means to be Jewish and assess the areas where the organized Jewish community is falling short. Limmud NY is a place that allows me to be grateful for the Jewish life that is. And it’s a place that challenges me to envision a reality of Jewish life that is yet to be. Maybe that’s the real Dayenu. *** Dasee Berkowitz is a Limmud NY board member. She is also an educational consultant, founder of JLife Consulting, and mother of two.
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