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As the Passover seder begins, we read in the Haggadah that it is a mitzvah to talk about the miracles that happened when the Jews left Egypt. The more someone tells about it, the more they deserve to be praised. It is perhaps one reason that seders run long into the night—because there is so much to tell. The promise of praise is a good incentive to dive into the text and commentary. 

Educators tell us that children need to be motivated to learn and praise has been shown to work best as that motivator. Recognition of achievement is good for personal growth and the development of character. We know that words matter. Words of encouragement and praise help, shaming and negative comments hurt. Coaches know that praise works. So do good employers, even when it must be accompanied with a suggestion or need to adjust or change. 

On Friday night, as Shabbat is ushered into our homes, a tribute to the Jewish woman is said. The Eishes Chayil (Woman of Valor) blessing acknowledges how much a woman does to care for her household and the Jewish world. The last words tell us that she should be praised. Prayers are said, with many references of praise for God. There are also special prayers said on Shabbat that praise the individuals who provide for the needs of a community. 

The praise of men and women at the time of their death is a tribute to them. The eulogies delivered by their children and family, friends or co-workers, are offerings of praise for their life and contribution to the world. We honor loved ones by speaking of their good deeds and commitment to their family. These words of praise are words of comfort for the mourners as it often evokes wonderful memories with the deceased. 

The greeting card industry has mastered the praise of mothers, fathers, grandparents, couples and birthday celebrants. Most everything we use we buy as a consumer, often the result of an ad or a recommendation or praise by someone who has used it before us. We will see a movie or television show because we have heard it praised by reviewers. 

Organizations such as B’nai B’rith are praised for the work they do on many levels in a community. This is often done via community proclamations in honor of a special anniversary year. Good wishes also come from a variety of government officials, citing the many good things that B’nai B’rith makes possible around the globe. The work it does benefits Jews and communities around the world. 

I hope you are reading the media releases or articles shared by B’nai B’rith describing projects or programs taking place. Perhaps you see the news item that is picked up appearing in your local newspaper or on social media. It is the praise it deserves, often including praise of the people who make it possible. These posts often receive “likes” when they appear on Facebook. Help this praise go further by sharing the story. Forward it to someone you know and let them know how you feel about B’nai B’rith. If you have something to share with us, please do, as we do not always hear about activities that are done in the name of B’nai B’rith. Sometimes the planners are modest or they have been too busy doing the program to provide this last but important piece of publicity after the event.
If you want to support any of the work B’nai B’rith does, donations are examples of praise. If you want to bring a program to your community or learn more about B’nai B’rith programs, you can go to the B’nai B’rith website. Remember, there will be praise for your efforts!

Rhonda Love is the Vice President of Programming for B’nai B’rith International. She is Director of the Center of Community Action and Center of Jewish Identity. She served as the Program Director of the former District One of B’nai B’rith. In 2002 she received recognition by B’nai B’rith with the Julius Bisno Professional Excellence Award. Rhonda has served on the B’nai B’rith International staff for 41 years. To view some of her additional content, click here.