Jonny, Degetu and I at her wedding to Shai Nachman, January 2010
Check out this photo. My husband, Jonny, and I were at the wedding of our unofficially adopted daughter, Degetu Mamo, three years ago. And last month, she gave birth to her second child, Omer, an entirely cute boy. Her first child is an entirely cute girl named Inbar. I would have included a photo of the kids but I couldn’t get the thingamajig to work for me.
So what does this have to do with the tool for Tuesday? Everything. Because my husband, Jonny, and I met Degetu about 13 years ago and took her into our lives. She was born in Ethiopia and moved to Israel when she was about 12. She grew up in a village in Gondar Province, Ethiopia, and knew when it was time to go to school by the way the shadows fell off the trees. She now works as a computer systems analyst at Bank HaPoalim.
It’s one of my favorite paradoxes: the more you give away, the more you reap. The more you step out of yourself and your own feelings of emptiness, the more you fill your own well.
Tool for Tuesday: Think of something you can do for someone or something else. The more you give away, the more you get back in return.
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Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
I totally agree! I recently participated in an afternoon of giving away “free hugs”. What an amazing experience. If you haven’t tried, I highly suggest it. We made signs (The best gift of all is a free hug) and stood outside of a Walmart. The smiles, warmth and happiness that were unleashed were incredible! It was a win- win for both of us!
Diana, you’ve been making a difference one person at a time, keep passing it forward!
Totally. 100% in agreement. What a wonderful daughter and she has wonderful parents.
Thanks, Julia! I’m sure in your work as a hospice nurse you also get to give a lot of warmth and goodness away.
You always encourage me, Diana! I’m sure Degetu thinks you encourage her too. 🙂
Thank you, Tracy! The feeling is mutual–you encourage me. So does Degetu. I am in awe over what she has accomplished in her life.