“I feel like it was just yesterday my mom was walking Raymond and I to Hebrew school when we were 4. It feels like this day would never come, but here we are…

I feel so blessed to be here, with everyone who made this day possible. And first I’d like to thank my mom, over there. (point) Mom, you make bad days good days and good days great days!  Keep being awesome, I love you!

Auntie Karen, thanks for having elevator vs. stairs races with me in your apartment and answering my questions about Judaism. Not that you always have an answer, but when you don’t, you find one and explain it to me.

I would also like to thank you, Rabbi and Rebbitzen Borenstein, for taking me under your wings and showing me how lucky I am to be a Jew. Especially you, Hindy, for saying I could call you at any time of the day or night and you’d be there.

(address crowd) Through Hindy I met a wonderful group of girls, go JGR!, and a woman named Nechama Laber. She lost her father at a young age just like me, and invited me to the JGR winter retreat and summer camp. She opened my eyes to an experience I’d never felt before… a Jewish lifestyle. And she is a true inspiration.

I want to say an extra-special thank you to you, grandma, for opening up your home and heart to 4 new housemates – 2 of which were crazy 4 year olds – because if you didn’t, I don’t know where we’d be.

Thanks to Rivka and Rabbi Serebransky who trust me with their baby girl, Chana, and who are always there if I have a question. Like, are oranges named after the color or is the color named after the fruit? And if I ate myself, would I disappear altogether, or would I become twice as big? So, Serebranskys, thank you for trusting me with your baby girl and answering all my crazy questions!

Thanks to Mrs. Rosenfeld for set up and décor, and JGR staff for help setting up. Even more thank you’s to Chaviva New and Aliya Loft for hosting this!

I also want to share one of my favorite quotes, and it goes like this:

“When G-d pushes you to the edge of difficulty, trust him fully because 2 things can happen. Either he’ll catch you when you fall, or he’ll teach you how to fly.” This quote shows how Hashem always does what’s best for you, whether it seems that way at the time or not.

There’s a story I think also sums up the moral here, and it goes like this. So, a man. Can I get a name?  Shout it out. Okay, so _______ was walking down the street on his way to work. A bag flew by him, and he picked it up. An empty soda can. He picked that up, too. “You might as well stop now!” someone shouted to him. “You’re never gonna clean up New York!” Disregarding the rude man’s remarks, he kept walking, picking up trash on the way. People snickered and pointed. Every day, the same thing happened. Pick up trash, get made fun of, do it anyway. Pick up trash, get made fun of, do it anyway. One day, a piece of paper whizzed past.  He sighed as he bent down to pick it up. It was a lottery ticket. ‘That’s weird,’ he thought. He stopped, staring at the slip of paper, and a small smile spread across his face. “ok,” he said out loud to no one in particular.

Later that day he won the Lottery with the ticket he picked up in the street. This story shows us that every good thing you do comes back to you, and every deed, no matter how small, is seen by Hashem.

So get out there and do something nice, you might just win the lottery!”

Lily Piro  December 4, 2016