What My Bar Mitzvah Means to Me: Benjamin Casper (2018)

By October 1, 2018 February 18th, 2019 Bnei Mitzvah, What It Means to Me

Getting ready for this Bar Mitzvah has been a lot more work than I imagined it would be, but I still feel like I learned so much from this experience. I have gotten the chance to really think about and question my roots as well as other people’s roots. I now have a better understanding of Humanistic Judaism and what it means to me in terms of my life and my future. On top of this, I have spoken with family members and gotten to learn more about them and their histories.
However, it was not all positive for me. I have felt anxious about having a Bar Mitzvah since I was seven. It just never really appealed to me, having to do all that work and learning Hebrew in order to read the Torah. Even once we found the City Congregation, which allows me to speak in my first language, I was still nervous and reluctant to actually prepare for the Bar Mitzvah. Through all of this resistance against a Bar Mitzvah, both of my parents have supported me and encouraged me to keep going, and to have the experience. For that, I would like to thank my parents, because I wouldn’t be where I am in my life in general if it weren’t for the two of you. There have been many ups and downs throughout the process. In fact, I would argue and protest against doing the work nearly every time I sat down with my dad. There was even a night when we actually decided to call it off. However, I bounced back and realized that I would feel so good about myself once I had done it. Bouncing back and trying again seems to be one of my strong suits. And as a result, here I am, reading this speech to you all at my Bar Mitzvah.
I also find that moving through these Bar Mitzvah challenges has affected other parts of my life too. For example, I have finally found something in my life that I feel I can stick with throughout my agile years: rock climbing. I get a sense of joy each time I go, like I am really helping my body and my self-esteem. It is a great achievement for me and I don’t plan on giving it up any time soon.
And on that note, I sincerely appreciate all the support from everyone who has helped me including both my parents, Rabbi Peter, my mentor Marty, Isabel, my second mentor Jane, Aram for the music, and even my brother Theo in certain moments. I would especially like to thank my family and friends who managed to make the difficult trip in mid-winter; it really means a lot. I truly hope that you have all enjoyed yourselves today. I know I have!!