Michael Bailit ’80

During my days at RL the School’s charge to prepare young men to “serve church and commonwealth” was oft repeated. I don’t know what role those words played in shaping me, but I have, in fact, spent considerable time serving both in adulthood. I will focus, however, on my service to “church.”
I don’t believe John Eliot envisioned that a Jewish boy such as I was would attend his school one day. My faith, and the role of religion in my life and other people’s lives, has long been of interest to me. I was a leader in my temple’s youth group when I was a teen and majored in religion at Wesleyan University after leaving RL.
My adult engagement began after I married and joined the temple at which I had grown up. I was asked shortly thereafter to serve on a committee to welcome our new rabbi and that led to further involvement. Before long I joined the board of trustees. Altogether I served nine years on the board, the last two as president. I continue to play and active role in governance and other capacities.
My commitment has been a significant one in time and personal energy. I have made it based on a deeply held belief that it is my obligation to help make the lives of my community a better one that it would have been without me. While the work has at times been challenging, it has also produced immeasurable rewards that I have received, including in the form of personal meaning. Hopefully my congregation has benefited as well—at least I think it has!
Jackie Robinson said, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”I find great wisdom in that simple statement and hope that my volunteer activity (and my daily work) is producing positive impact on others.