Farewell to the Tzevet
I came across an article this week from 2014 in which Jacoba Urist, a journalist from the Atlantic, interviewed Walter Mischel, influential and modern psychologist of the famed ‘marshmallow experiment’.
Even once allowing for the factors of trust, environment, socio economic background and preferences for sweets, the marshmallow test was conclusive in its finding that children who were able to delay gratification were more likely to have successful lives.
From the outset, the Jewish people have been marshmallow-tested at every stage. Avraham had to wait to have children, as did all the forefathers and foremothers. The Jewish people had to wait an agonising 40 years to reach the land of Israel only to have the Temple built an unfathomable 400 years later. Moments of instant gratification, such as receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai have often been followed by spectacular lows, the Golden Calf being a case in point.
And while we are a people who quite like our food, Jewish History has shown that we are a people who are, for the most part, able to evade the marshmallow temptation and continue to work towards the bigger picture.
A modern example of this is the post school life of our Israeli brethren. Their wait, for university studies and building a career, is delayed greatly by their obligation and insistence on giving to our country and our people. They first give of themselves to the greater good.
Our Tzevet, young Israelis who come here for a year after army service to help the Carmel students and the Perth Community are a case in point. Rina, Lior, Aharon and Moriah have not eaten a marshmallow yet, despite being 5 years post school. Instead they have served in the IDF, enriched their Torah learning and volunteered to give what they can to a (somewhat) remote Jewish Community here in Western Australia. And they have done so with aplomb! The service that these young women and men have given our school is immeasurable. They have helped our students with Hebrew reading, run informal programs and become firm friends and mentors to our students.
To the Tzevet of 2016/7, we salute you! We thank you for all you have given Carmel School and by extension, the Jewish people at large.
We wish you a life of health, success and happiness. A life that is full of the marshmallows you have so patiently waited for and richly deserve.
Stay in touch, and see you at the Shorashim reunion in 2018!
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