Jonah Lieberman Flint
May 16, 2009
For many people, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs nowadays seem to be more about the party and have little connection to a passage into adulthood. To me, becoming a Bar Mitzvah is a significant event indeed. It means acting responsibly in all situations. This process must occur while I keep my family, my beliefs and the work that got me here in high regard, never forgetting the importance of each of these things and the effect they have had on me. As I stand up here, it marks the end of a journey. I only knew that this would be a challenge, something I was worried about from the start, but something I wanted to do nonetheless.
I figured that becoming a Bar Mitzvah would hold strong the values that I must have in my teenage years. My family has been the single most important influence on who I am; if the way we are raised truly makes us who we are, then I can thank my family for helping me to turn out okay. You have already heard about some of my family’s values, so you know the kinds of things they try to teach me, as well as the values I try to incorporate in my everyday life. I feel that becoming a Bar Mitzvah means accepting more responsibility in my family, whether it is owning up to my actions or helping around the house more.
Although this is the end of a long journey, it is really the beginning of a new journey, one that is life long. As I end the Bar Mitzvah process I begin the process of young adult life, starting high school, after that college, and then hey, I am an adult. The end of this journey brings forth the start of another. Through this process, my sense of Jewish identity has been awakened. As I have reflected on the relationship between Judaism and Buddhism, I feel that both identities have become stronger. I feel a part of both communities.
I can also thank my family for helping me through the Bar Mitzvah process; together we have edited my papers, discussed the ceremony and party, and prepared one another for today. That thanks, the first of many, goes out to my parents specifically. My parents have been there for me throughout the entire process. They have helped me with the work, and have given me lots of moral support. My brother Ethan has always made sure to give me a thumbs up when I needed it and I feel that he has been there for me throughout the process. I thank Rabbi Peter for looking over my papers and leading this service and this congregation so ably. I would like to thank my mentor, Isabel Kaplan, for always being there and working so hard to make this service and my papers as good as they can be. I would like to thank Aram for the wonderful music. And, last but not least, I would like to thank you all for coming and celebrating this special day with me. Thank you.