I thank Him for the fragments of light he has scattered in so many lives, in the kindness of strangers and the unexpected touch of souls across the boundaries that once divided people and made them fearful of one another.
I thank Him for the gift of being born a Jew, despite all the persecutions visited on our people, often in the name of the same God my ancestors worshipped and to whom they dedicated their lives. I thank Him for the transformation of the relationship between Jews and Christians that has happened in my lifetime, and for the gift of coming to know people from so many different faiths, each of which has given something utterly unique to humanity.
I thank Him for Beethoven’s late quartets and Shakespeare’s prose and Rembrandt’s portraits. Rabbi Abraham Kook, chief rabbi of what was then Palestine, once said that God took some of the light of the first day of creation and gave it to Rembrandt who put it into his paintings.
I thank Him for the first cup of coffee in the morning and the iPod I’ve almost learnt how to use (another year or two should do it), for Morgan Freeman’s voice and Woody Allen’s humour, for 2B pencils and wide-lined notepads, for bookshops and a forgiving wife.