Hands of Time: Parshat Yitro | Camp Ramah Northern California

Hands of Time: Parshat Yitro

by Elissa Einhorn, Development Director

I’ve always been fascinated by daylight savings time, this notion that you can literally change time – something that, to me, intuitively feels fixed – simply by moving the hands on a clock, pressing a few buttons on your microwave, or magically seeing your phone adjust to the season. 

I thought about time when looking at this week’s Torah portion, Yitro. First, I find it ironic that the parashah is the shortest in the Book of Exodus since it references time which is infinite. Yitro, who might very well be a “management consultant” today, looks at time as something to be valued in ourselves and others. He appeals to Moses to not take on the burden of hearing every Israelite’s dispute and to not be the judge and jury for all. Yes, the disputes are important, Yitro acknowledges, but rather than spending from morning until evening micromanaging everyone’s problems, let the people handle the more minor issues. Give them the opportunity to problem-solve, to devise creative solutions, and to be leaders. Allow them to share the community’s burden. 

Although ‘burden’ typically connotes a heavy weight, in this context, Yitro is returning the gift of time to Moses. Like daylight savings time, Moses can turn back the hands of time on his days ahead and use that precious time in other ways. He also gives time back to the people who have spent countless hours waiting for his wise counsel, until they realize they have so many answers inside themselves. By adopting Yitro’s management style, Moses gave the Israelites a greater stake in their families’ future, their communities’ future, and ultimately, their nation’s future. He realized everyone has something to give, no matter their standing in life. 

Ramah Galim realizes this as well. That’s why inclusiveness, diversity, and respect for everyone are embedded in our core values and are part of our first five years of demonstrated impact. Now, we are grateful to be able to plan for long-term growth, including earning our place in the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s newest Life & Legacy Program cohort – its ninth since the program began in 2012. During that time, 63 Jewish camps, day schools, synagogues, Hillels, and other organizations have raised nearly $1 billion. 

Legacy giving is not only about ensuring the future of Ramah Galim through after-life commitments, it is about giving every person – regardless of their standing in life – the privilege to be a philanthropist, and to continue making a difference in the lives of Jewish children and youth for generations to come.

For more information about Legacy Giving, visit our website or contact Elissa Einhorn at elissa@ramahnorcal.org.