Today is August 17, 2018 -
This Shabbat we read Parshat Beha’alotcha and I celebrate the 36th (double chai) anniversary of my bar mitzvah. Perhaps coincidentally, this month, while cleaning out an old box in my basement, I found my bar mitzvah preparation folder containing my speech and other fascinating artifacts.
Reading through the speech, I see that I did a fairly nice job of discussing opinions of Rashi and the Ramban, and I presented a pretty substantive d’var Torah. Then I got to the obligatory “thank you” section of the speech. I’m embarrassed to admit today that I may not have been sincere in my gratitude. My memory is a little fuzzy, but I don’t think that I really appreciated all of the efforts made by others on my behalf.
So on this 36th anniversary, let me restate my appreciation, but with true sincerity.
Thank you to my parents, grandparents, and siblings for providing me with a Jewish education and creating and sustaining the environment that allowed me to flourish. Thank you to my teacher David Welcovics z”l for studying with me and helping me write my d’var Torah. Thank you to Rabbi Bloom for your patience in dealing with a too-confident and stubborn 13-year-old boy in polishing my d’var Torah and teaching me to enunciate while reading it. Thank you to Cantor Stahl for trying so hard to teach me trope. If it’s any consolation, three more people have tried, and I still can’t get it. Thank you to all my teachers for building my Jewish foundation, and thank you to all my friends and relatives who supported me on my special day.