Julie Davidson Meyers: Tiny Actions and Honoring My Father

Back in April Julie Davidson Meyers, of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Mercer lost her father, Bruce Davidson of blessed memory. It was around the time of her community’s Year 2 legacy celebration. She considered not attending but decided that the best way to honor her father would be to inspire others to leave a legacy. Here are the heartfelt and inspiring remarks Julie shared that day. —David Harris, Manager, Create Your Jewish Legacy

Thank you Scott.

What will your legacy be? This is a huge question.  It’s enormous and I think too many of us wrangle with this profound question or worse, we don’t think about it at all. 

It sounds just too big.  What an intense task.  To summarize not only our entire life but what we’ll leave behind!   We try to answer this enormous question and life always seems to gets in the way!  How could it not?

But after losing my Dad recently, I realized our Legacy is NOT in the big decisions we make. It’s not in the giant questions. It’s in the details. 

In fact, we are always leaving our legacy, everyday. Even when we are not paying attention. Every decision we make speaks to who we are and what we value.

And the thing is… to let others know

  • our plans
  • our values
  • and our wishes – it actually takes minutes.

It’s something we know we should do and we really want to do anyway.

In fact, and here’s the secret. It’s not that big a question after all.

I want to thank Scott for the kind things he said about my Dad—Bruce Davidson and my dad’s legacy. People have been moved when they hear about the funds Dad set up at our Jewish Community Foundation.  

But between you and me—they took a day maybe less … a couple of conversations to get them just as Dad wanted. 

It was always part of dad’s soul and his vision… but to actually do it. A day. Possibly? More like an hour perhaps, maybe two.

So the funny thing about legacies is that even though the concept is enormous … even though the question sounds like it should boom from the loudest speakers: “What will my legacy be?” The creation of our Jewish legacies is the exact opposite of monumental. It’s the teeny footsteps we take. 

The question is not as big as we make it out to be.  The answer actually pours out of us every day… and if we take the couple minutes to finalize what means the most to us—our legacies stick.

It takes just a moment to learn:

  • more about LIFE & LEGACY
  • or to call the Foundation,
  • or to document your wishes
  • or to speak to your family.

And when we take these tiny actions—we let everyone know what our values are and what’s important to us. Just like my father's did.

I’ll be honest. I have a lot of sadness today. And I was not going to come at all, and then, I was not going to speak.  And I thought back to the minutia of legacy creation.

My parents, who are both now gone, really wanted to repair the world. It was the core of who they were. If I sat at home or on the sidelines today I would not be living their legacy—in fact, I would be doing the exact opposite. 

And that would be ironic and sad—especially given this event and the event’s focus.

And as I said, I believe our legacies are in the details. I am not going to be up here very long today. But if I encourage only one of you to write the details of your legacy plan, to share your story with those who mean the most to you – to help you do your part to repair the world, my brief time up here will be important and meaningful.

I am also here because of everyone in this room. Together, we have done something extraordinary. Since 2013, in the time we have dedicated to LIFE & LEGACY, we have created 438 Promises of future gifts for our Jewish community.   One of those was my Dad’s…

His gift came from me being willing to speak just a little.  I really owed it to him to keep talking and that is why I am here today.

Our work is far from over, but what we've accomplished together has made a profound difference to our children and our grandchildren.

Please continue this journey with us and with more dedication than ever. If we've made this much progress so far, imagine what all of us, in this room, are capable of achieving from this point forward.

I also want to profoundly thank my team at the Jewish Community Foundation and our Board of Directors. You all need to hear me say this… this is one group that practices what it preaches. My dad’s illness and passing has kept me out of the office recently. Your Jewish Community Foundation gave this event LIFE while I was unavailable to give it anything at all. Your Jewish Community Foundation, not only rallied around me during my time of loss, it rallied around every one in this room. To ensure today would be as perfect as it is.[....]

My gratitude, of course is also directed at every one in this room who has made their Jewish legacy a priority. Thank you for taking time so we could build a flourishing and profound Jewish future together.

Thank you all, sincerely, for being you. For caring about one another and about caring our community. All of our success, is the result of all your hard work and dedication.

It has been said that a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.

Together, we have illuminated our Jewish community. Recently, all of you have shared light with me when I was in darkness. Thank you for all the candles you have lit and those we will continue to light together.