Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the well-known bioethicist and brother of the mayor of my town, argued recently in an essay in the Atlantic Monthly that 75 is the perfect age to die. After that, he said, most people have little to contribute to society and are a burden rather than a benefit. I can think of few less-Jewish ideas than this. It is not only heartless but wrong.
What makes a community is a constant recognition of how each individual acts in accord with an investment in the success of our endeavors, the valuing of our principles and, most importantly, the wellbeing of each other, whether in the national spectacle of spelling prowess or in the communities to which we belong.