Yale and Audrey, it is my pleasure to present you with this gift as a small symbol of appreciation for your commitment to Dickinson College.
This sculpture was created by artist Gary Rosenthal and is meant to evoke the "tree of life" motif on the beautiful Torah ark in the Asbell Center sanctuary. The inscription reads: "she is a tree of life to those who hold fast to her."
Like a living tree, your gifts to the college branch off in multiple directions, supporting student life, the academic program, admissions and financial aid. Your generosity is rooted in your love for Dickinson, your family's historic connection to the College, and your deep commitment to the Jewish value of Tzedakah, charitable giving.
I'd like to share with you one of my favorite passages from the Talmud about the labor of giving:
"One day, Honi the circle Drawer was journeying on the road and saw a man planting a carob tree. Honi asked him, "How long does it take for this tree to bear fruit?"
The man replied, "Seventy years."
Honi asked further, "Are you certain that you'll live another seventy years so that you'll eat its fruit?"
The man replied, "I found grown carob trees when I entered the world; as my ancestors planted them for me, so I too plant for my children and descendants."(Ta'anit 23a)
Yale and Audrey, thank you for all you have planted at Dickinson College. It is my wish for you that Sophie should grow to know the richness and diversity of her tradition, whose core values you exhibit here today. Thank you so much.