October 13, 2013
When I look back on the preparations for this day, one thing comes to mind. The work! This was way more work than I’ve ever had to do before. From interviewing relatives, to going on a bus to Broad Channel Beach, to staying up late with my mentor watching Seinfeld clips on YouTube, I had to do so many different things! But in the process, I learned how to manage my time better and the importance of meeting deadlines.
I also learned about myself in the process of becoming a Bar Mitzvah. Growing older means taking on more responsibilities – and part of this involves doing more things for others, and not just for me. Along my journey to this day, I’ve been encouraged and pushed forward to be successful and try my hardest by the people who care so much about me like my parents, my teachers, my tutor, my grandparents, and my mentor.
In particular, after interviewing my relatives and learning more about my family history, I feel like I can connect with my family in ways I hadn’t been able to before—especially my great-grandparents whom I’ve never met. I feel deep respect for my ancestors and how hard they worked to make it in the world. Without their determination I might not be here today. My ancestors came to America to provide for their families and future generations. Now that I am becoming a Bar Mitzvah, I want to do the same so I can continue my family’s legacy. I feel fortunate to be a Jewish kid – I mean a Jewish man – and I plan to carry forward the values and ethics of my family, whom I love and respect.
I can say for sure that I wouldn’t be up here today without the help and support of my mother who is the most important person in the world to me. I would also like to thank Rabbi Peter Schweitzer and Isabel Kaplan for their wisdom and guidance throughout this process. Thank you to Anne Shonbrun and Mika Nishamura for providing the music today.
Lastly, I’d like to give a massive shout-out to Michael Otterman for being the best mentor and a true friend. His influence on me has been lasting and greatly appreciated. I know that our friendship will last way beyond my Bar Mitzvah.