By the time you read this, it will have already slipped into past tense.
I will have already sat in synagogue and listened to him chant from the Torah.
It’s a little surreal, eighteen months of talking about it and suddenly, it will be over.
At the time, I wasn’t sure what to say.
Because I didn’t know how I would feel.
Everyone always talks about the party, the theme, the food, the DJ.
But for me, the most amazing stuff happened in the synagogue, hours before.
At one point, our family stood on the bimah together, facing the Torah scrolls, the congregation at our backs. We had just finished singing and the rabbi whispered, “Now turn and face front.”
As we all turned, the room came into focus. We woke that morning to a stunning blue-skies day, as we stood in shul, the sun streamed through the stained glass windows.
From my vantage point, everyone’s head seemed to be glowing, especially the men’s heads underneath the neon green yarmulkes Tech had selected for the day. I saw every row filled with people — our people — family and friends and members of the community.
It felt like G-d was touching our little corner of the earth.
I thought back to eighteen months earlier, when we learned that Tech’s bar mitzvah was going on to be on June 23, 2012, how my husband took two giant steps backward.
“No way,” Hubby put his hand on his forehead. “I made my bar mitzvah on June 23rd. In 1979.”
My son was going to become a bar mitzvah and stand on the same bimah where my husband made his bar mitzvah thirty-three years earlier.
It was definitely beshert, meant to be.
And it felt a little bit magical.
Tech’s Hebrew name is Abbe Reuven, after two of his great-grandfathers. And, on his bar mitzvah day he received his tallit (traditional prayer shawl) from one grandfather and his other grandfather (my father) presented him with a tallit bag which had belonged to his father: these are ancient rituals, traditions passed down from one generation to to the next.
Our son is the walking embodiment of our faith. He has always been proud to be Jewish. He has never complained about going to Hebrew School, the way
most some kids do. Each summer he heads to Jewish camp, and he says his favorite place there is at the waterfront, by the fire circle, during Friday night services.
Tech takes Jewish Law seriously, and — as he said during his d’Var (personal reflection) during his bar mitzvah — he truly wishes everyone followed the 10 Commandments. He feels these rules were designed to keep people out of trouble with themselves, family, friends, and neighbors, and he believes if we look at the lessons of the Torah, we can figure out how to stay out of trouble and live in peace with one another.
As he stood before a congregation of over 200 people, I was amazed by his composure.
I have always said Tech has an “old soul.” It is like some 93-year old Jewish guy died and on his way out, his soul went straight into our newborn. Tech has always understood the important things in life.
He is comfortable in his own skin and with who he is, regardless of whatever others think.
[I expect to get to that place. You know, like any day now.]
I don’t pretend to know where Tech is going.
He is still becoming.
All I know is that if you can get up and sing (and speak) in front of hundreds of people at the age of 13, you can do anything.
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