When I think back to the beginning of my bar mitzvah process I remember interviewing my grandparents and learning all about my family tree and history. It was interesting for me, because I learned a lot about where our values came from. My values project forced me to think about the values that I hold and the values that my parents’ generation and my grandparents’ generation hold. I interviewed them and heard all about their stories. I loved learning about how my process of becoming a Bar Mitzvah differed from theirs.
For my major project I wanted to research a Jewish historical event and art. I chose to focus on the Terezin Ghetto because it incorporated both. I learned so much about art in the Holocaust and the messages it conveyed. Also, I had never heard of Terezin, so it was all new information for me.
The Community Service requirement inspired me to think about ways I can give to others in my community and to those in need. It has been an eye-opening experience and in the end I felt accomplished and happy I did it.
My parents both had traditional Bar and Bat Mitzvahs where they read from the Torah and wrote a speech. Neither of them remembers much from this experience, because it did not have context in their lives. I think my experience will prove to be a memorable one, because it has meaning and context in my life. It made me think more deeply about my family, myself, my values, those around me and giving back.
I would like to thank Rabbi Tzemah for reading and helping me edit my papers. I would like to thank Remy for meeting with me regularly and helping me think about my writing and projects. You always offered a lot of advice to think about and good edits. I would like to thank Isabel for helping keep me on schedule and for your final edits. I would also like to thank Rebecca, the musician, for helping with today’s service. I would especially like to thank my parents for helping and supporting me. Thank you all for coming from near and far, and being a part of my Bar Mitzvah.