5/08/2007

Put Down the Duckie (Reducks)

I guess it was about a year ago. My last semester as Rabbi at UMD was winding down, so things tended to get a bit a bit emotional for me and for all seniors. It was the end of an era –a good era – and we’d all be moving on to whatever, not knowing if we’d ever see each other again, etc. One particular Shabbat, near the end of the semester, Hillel hosted, as they occasionally did, a “theme” Shabbat on the theme of Sesame Street. The scholar-in-residence was UMD parent and Executive Vice President of the Sesame Workshop Dr. Lewis Bernstein (my father was there that Shabbat as well, but wasn’t scholar-in-residence). The whole program was wonderful. Sesame Street has been the single most successful organization to use mass media for educational purposes. Full stop. It was fantastic to hear about the inner working of the whole process, its dilemmas, etc.

I spoke to the crowd at the main (Carlebach-Orthodox) minyan that Friday night. I darshened the Sesame Street classic “Put Down the Duckie”, which I blogged about 18 months ago and recently reposted) and how it’s appropriate for those moving on to another stage of life. I'm a big fan of quality Kiddie Lit in general, and this song's really good. Nevertheless, I don’t think I ‘put down the duckie’ myself until January, when I went back for Natan’s wedding (his Kallah doesn’t have a blog, or she’d get a link, too). Seeing that others were moving on gave me a sense of closure.

There are still regrets, though. How can there not be? I’m struggling to re-invent myself here, while things were just great over there. Sitting at home sick for the past few days things begin to gnaw at you again.

So tonight, out of the blue, a good friend (comments on this blog as “c”) sent this link to a dynamite rip-roarin version of the song. It’s all there, and it’s awesome. I’ve long held that mussar ba-goyim ta’amin. I still hold that CS Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters” is perhaps the greatest mussar sefer ever written. This song is great mussar. Listen, watch, and be inspired.

(A brief warning for readers to whom this applies – there are a few short segments, each lasting a few seconds, of kol ishah in the middle part when they have celebrities joining in.)

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