Family Pride Week

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Proud parents Elizabeth and Sam with Addison, big brother Jonah – and me – as the rabbi officiated

It was a week of joyousness as my daughter Elizabeth came from Dallas with her fabulous family so we could celebrate her baby Addison’s first birthday and my daughter Samantha’s daughter Morgan’s third birthday. Then later in the week the wonderful Sam Broner, grandson extraordinaire, was celebrated as well.

We began our family weekend with three-year-old Morgan laughing and running through her birthday party at a place called Treetops. It’s a party space broken into little stores where the children can visit a dress up shop, a “supermarket,” and other stores and climb into the “treetops.” After running wild for an hour the children stampeded into a dining room for pizza, drinks (small ones, the mayor would approve) and birthday cake. I’m always in awe how my daughter Samantha finds the most spectacular-looking cakes I have ever seen for her children’s birthday parties. But I shouldn’t be surprised; she’s become a superb party planner. And the cakes even taste good!

Just 24 hours later we gathered at her home to have baby Addison’s “naming” ceremony.

It’s a tradition in the Jewish faith to have a bris for a baby boy eight days after his birth and for a girl a naming ceremony in which she is given her Hebrew name.

Elizabeth, who lives in Dallas, waited for Addison Grace’s first birthday ceremony so we could all gather together to share the joy of her “naming.” Her middle name is Grace because we all felt it was with the grace of God that He gave her to us with no plan, differing from her brother, who took years in the “making.”

The sun shone brightly on us as the rabbi explained the chain of life being increased with the new link of Addison Grace. I expect to make sure that link stays strong forever!

Sam is a constant source of pride and joy. During the nine years I have known him I’ve seen his love, intelligence, caring and sensitivity. Now, as he completes his final year of high school at Dalton we saw how his classmates and teachers share my feelings and impressions of this handsome young man.

I hope you will enjoy vicariously the words of his teacher as Sam was chosen the leading scholar athlete of his class. This was what was said and need I say, tears came to my eyes and my heart pumped with pride as I read this:

“This year’s Adam Lewis Scholar Athlete award winner is about as well-rounded as they come. He worked extremely hard in the classroom and was a standout student, yet he made a commitment to three sports during each of his four years of high school. He’s one of the friendliest kids to come through Dalton, yet he can be incredibly tough on the field. He’s a voice of reason, yet determined and passionate.

As our Scholar Athlete, it goes without saying that he’s succeeded academically at Dalton. But his smarts on the field have also led him to great success athletically, in such pivotal roles as a starting center for the football team, a defensive threat on the basketball court, and a long stick defender on the lacrosse field.

As the center on the football team, he had the most difficult job on the field and did it with a great attitude. He forced opponents to change their defensive schemes to try to stop him. His skills were recognized by opposing coaches who voted him to All League First team.

On the basketball court, his role was a bit different. This year’s winner was asked to be a total team player, setting screens, moving without the ball, boxing out and pulling rebounds and playing clutch help defense in the lane. He understood the importance of doing the little things to help the team succeed.

In the spring, this year’s winner helped lead the Boys Lacrosse team to it’s third NYSAIS appearance in four years. The coaches asked him to play aggressively and even “play the body” at times, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

He has left his mark in the classroom and on the field and the court. His academic and athletic success is complemented by his charisma, dynamic personality and willingness to always help out. He has been a great role model for all Dalton students and set a standard of excellence as a student athlete. This year’s winner will be missed greatly by all of us.

It is my honor and pleasure to give this year’s Adam Lewis Scholar Award to Sam Broner”