December 20, 2008
I would like to thank you all for attending my bar Mitzvah. This Bar Mitzvah is for me the greatest accomplishment of my life. Since the time I was very young I have been accomplishing tasks small and large from scoring a goal to getting all “4” on my fifth grade report card. But up until now I have never accomplished something that was so meaningful to me. This Bar Mitzvah has asked for so much of my time. More than I initially thought it would take, and more than I had initially wanted to give. But I realize that all this work was not for anyone else but it was for me. It was for me because I learned a lot about my family, an important time in Jewish history, and I learned a lot about my self. It has reinforced my sense of my Jewish identity because having learned about Jewish humanistic values and an important time in Jewish history, I realize that defining myself as Jewish tells the world a lot about who I am. I have also learned that the values I believe in are consistent with humanistic Judaism. I believe that if I continue to practice my values I will be living according to those tenets of Judaism that fit my own principles. Also, I will able to further explore the relationship between my values and Judaism as I get older.
This Bar Mitzvah experience has taught me that if I am really determined I can succeed at a task that takes real commitment and determination. Also I learned that I can do something that is different from friends and still be accepted by them. I learned from writing all these papers about research and interpretations of texts, and the benefits of editing and more editing. But mostly, what I learned about myself is that I want to take my own path and be original, and thinking about what’s important to me allows me to understand myself beneath the surface. This will help me in life.
Now, let me thank all the people who supported me with this tremendous task. Firstly, let me thank Rabbi Peter and Alan Siege, my mentor. Their guidance suggestions and editing were so helpful. And thanks to all of you who helped me with family values. Then I would like to thank my sister for paving a path for me and setting a high standard. The example she set was something for me to strive for. Grandpa David and Grandma Carla, thank you for all your help with my papers. You especially helped me when I struck a roadblock. You made me realize I could really do this. Dad, thanks for organizing the ceremony and the details of the party.
But I would especially like to thank my mother for cooking me all my meals, and assisting me in absolutely every step of the way. Without her, I would not be here tonight. Thank you all!