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It is asked, What is man? One stops to consider. What is Man? And it comes to mind…

Man is a thousand-fold miracle of Creation. He is a driving force of energy. He knows of time and space; of earth and water and air. He builds and he destroys. Man is the mightiest of living creatures.

But one man alone is as nothing. He is not sufficient unto himself. He needs the helping hand, the support and companionship of his fellow beings. He needs to hear and see and feel the presence of another. He needs a sense of belonging one to another.

And that is what Emanuel Seniors [Temple Emanu El in Burbank, CA] provides. A place to come together and feel a kinship one with another. To link arms into a circle of friendship.

So we ask your blessing, O Lord, on our club; to help us thrive so we may fulfill our purpose; to bring people together with people.

My grandmother spent a lot of time pondering the essence of life. Even though she wasn’t deeply religious, and the Torah says little about the status or treatment of the embryo or fetus, she was adamantly opposed to abortion. Her premise was simple, “If you can’t create something all by yourself then you should be allowed to destroy it.”

She’d ask, “Can you make a seed grow?”

No doubt, I could plant a seed; ensure it was watered and fertilized, and received sunlight (except in the Pacific Northwest). But, no, I couldn’t make it grow. In the same vein, as she explained, I could take the steps to get pregnant, but I couldn’t definitively conceive and carry a child to term.

This premise may have induced her to write, “Man is a thousand-fold miracle of Creation.”

I think, however, her disapproval of abortion was more tied to a miscarriage she had prior to the birth of my mother. It was her first child, a boy. I don’t know at which point in her pregnancy she lost the baby; she never talked about it. However, it must have had an effect on her point-of-view on the fragility of life, and need for a “helping hand, the support, and companionship of his fellow beings.”