Friday, August 24, 2012

Elul 3: The Secret by Norman Lear

Do you know about the Jewels of Elul? It is a daily meditation for the month of Elul, which leads up to Rosh Hashanah. Craig Taubman and Rabbi David Wolpe are in their 8th year of coordinating and sharing thoughts from a wide variety of people to help us in our preparation for the season of repentance and renewal. Three days ago (I am behind), they shared this gem from Norman Lear, a famous Jewish educator (many of us attended his classes on television: All in the Family, the Jeffersons, Maude, Sanford and Son and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, just to name a few). This year the focus is on the art of aging. After reading this, I hope you will go to the Jewels of Elul site. There you can read the introduction to the series, get caught up, and sign up to receive them via e-mail each day this Hebrew month. In advance - L'shana Tova!

Ira





Age has been on my mind all my life. When I was a kid I had a giant shock of black hair that was like a helmet because it was stiff with a product called ‘Slickum’. To comb it, I had to dip my head in the sink and wash my hair every day. That’s the first time I can remember thinking, “What if this is the secret to a long life? Dipping your head in the sink every morning. How do we know?” Since then there have been hundreds of other odd activities – eating a Tootsie Roll just before dinner, picking one’s nose while driving – that I’ve thought might contain that secret. For years I’ve eaten a salad every morning, and all but convinced myself that’s it. (At the least, it must come closer than the nose thing.)

I have been privileged to share my lifetime with dozens of my friends and colleagues, some of the funniest people I know. Bea Arthur made me laugh so hard I felt it in nooks and crannies of my body I didn’t know existed. I was there when an exchange between Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner turned into the 2,000-Year-Old Man. I really believe that the true secret to longevity could be laughter. It might be the memory of a slapstick scene, or a lineof dialogue by Larry Gelbart or Herb Gardner, or one of the hundreds of moments on one of my shows when an actor – an O’Connor, a Hemsley, a Lasser or a Stapleton – took what was on the page and turned it into something funnier than I could have ever imagined. Or today, something from South Park, Family Guy, Modern Family or Louis C.K.

All of it, I’m convinced, has and still does add time to my life.

Norman Lear is a producer, director, writer, activist and philanthropist. His credits include All in the Family and The Jeffersons. www.normanlear.com

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