Ethical Wills
an initiative of


Sarah Ruth Baker

Answer one question or many - using words, photos or other media.

What wisdom guides my life?

Sarah Baker
Who is wise? The one who learns from every person.

How did I learn significant life lessons?

Sarah Baker
It's a cliche, but illness really is as good teacher, and breast cancer taught me a lot. It taught me all of the cliche things about appreciating life and the remaining years, and it taught me not to be afraid of death. Another cliche: we should be more afraid of not living well during our time.

What values did I inherit from others?

Sarah Baker
Education, success, and Judaism are the values I inherited from my parents. They did a good job of passing them on to me, and I have tried to live them in my own way as a model for you. For example, women did not wear tallit when I was growing up, but this is the one I bought to wear on your bar mitzvah. I love the design because that is what I felt like we were that day: a tree of life. Photo of tree of life on a Tallis

Which of my belongings mean the most to me?

Sarah Baker
This letter opener belonged to my father. He used it to open each and every letter he received, not just the important ones, while I would rush to throw away the junky ones and tear open the ones addressed to me. This small mannerism says big things about father: how he saw potential in all things, even those that appeared to be junk; how he was thorough, and took time to do things properly and elegantly. Even though we don't use letters so much anymore, I keep this on my desk to remind me of my father and his way of being in the world.