Tag Archives: barmitzvah

Barmitzvah Line – do not cross!

I am totally excited to be planning this barmitzvah, after all, I have done two already, so this should be a breeze, right? I have spent the last hour or so updating the guest list spreadsheet that I made right after we were done with the last barmitzvah 15 months ago. Adding people. Removing people. Question-marking people.

There are always people who are upset not to have been included. But the thing is you cannot invite everyone. There is a set budget and limited space –  plus other variables – the hosts have to draw the line somewhere.

There were a few people that were upset not to have been included in our wedding – we were less than 40 people sitting down to dinner, and it was the perfect size for us. We wanted something small and intimate that was about the KoD and me. We drew the line where we felt it was necessary and didn’t make exceptions. Feelings were hurt, unfortunately, and there are a couple of people who don’t talk to me any more since then. There are those who weren’t included and were just happy for us and didn’t care that they hadn’t been invited.

This barmitzvah is coming up and there are four families to consider now. Mine, KoD’s, my Ex’s and Mrs Ex’s. Just family alone – that’s a lot of people. Granted not everyone will come, but that’s still a sizable number. Then there are those people we are close with, and then there are those that we are not so close with but they invited us to their simcha, so we should invite them to ours. If you are not careful, the list can get out of hand.

What gives me pause is deciding where to draw the line this time. We are new in our community and don’t want to ruffle any feathers, but we do have to keep the budget in mind, and more importantly we want to ensure that the day is about the barmitzvah boy, not about who was invited and who wasn’t.

I wish it weren’t so complicated.

So – when you made your simchas where did you decide to draw the line? Was there fall out? How did you deal with it?

Squiggy’s Barmitzvah

I am sitting here at the computer, the day after Squiggy’s barmitzvah, the house is quiet for the first time in a while.

How does one encapsulate 25 hours of awesomeness into a few lines of prose? No clue, but I will try.

Before Shabbat we got all dressed up, I had my makeup professionally done, and we trooped out to pose for professional pictures at Pratt Park. Perfect! The boys had a blast while I worried about them ruining their spiffy new suits and shoes. We have worked with this photographer before – which added a level of comfort to the whole proceedings, Usually Squiggy gives me a hard time with photographs, so I gave him a choice this time, whether to do professional ones or not. His barmitzvah, his choice. Initially he said no. then he changed his mind – Ok, Ima, I know it will make you happy, so let’s do them. It was great doing family shots – with the KoD!! What a difference a year can make….

We came home, relaxed for a little bit, and then headed out for the barmitzvah Shabbat. We dropped the boys off at their father’s house and headed close by to where we were staying, the Green Hotel (lol).

We got to the shul and greeted our guests and family, introduced the KoD to everyone (gosh, I was so proud to do this) and us womenfolk went to light Shabbat candles. I love it when a whole bunch of women get together and light Shabbat candles. The glow seems to be extra special.

Looking out over the shul at Kaballat Shabbat services, my heart swelled with pride. This shul was a modern shul, which had separate ladies seating, but with no curtains or view obstructions. This I liked. I got to observe my boys davening alongside their father and stepfather, cousins and friends, and it was very touching indeed.

After services we adjourned to the hall for Friday night dinner. This was a small family affair, low key – just perfect. Squiggy made kiddush for the first time ever, and did a phenomenal job, and I must admit to wiping a tear or two from my eye. The food was good, the wine was flowing, conversation was animated – everyone had a good time. For my boys, they were so surrounded with love – what a bracha for a child to feel so much love from so many people.

We went back to our lodgings to have a peaceful sleep…well, that was the intent. I couldn’t sleep a wink. I was nervous for my boy. Wondering how he was sleeping. Wondering if he might have an attack of the nerves. Hoping he was fine and snoring away.

Morning came, and it was time to get back to the shul. (yes, I did have my coffee before I left for shul, priorities you know!!) By this time the butterflies in my tummy had multiplied and I just needed to see Squiggy to make sure he was ok. I saw him sitting next to his father in the front row, with his brothers and step brothers and step father all sitting together in the same row. Squiggy was told I had arrived so he turned around, and walked up to the ladies section to say hello. He shook my hand, I blew him a kiss, caressed his face, and let him go. As the service progressed he got paler and paler, and my hands shook more and more.

Soon it was time for the Torah reading and the shul had filled up considerably. By this time, my mouth was dry and my girlfriend was sitting next to me holding my hand. On the other side was my aunt being equally encouraging. Squiggy appeared outwardly calm, but a mother knows when her child is nervous.

Torah reading started – he was to read the maftir and the haftarah. His stepfather and his father were both called up to the Torah – a big honour. Then it was time. Just prior to this little Prince ChatterBox had been going around the shul with a huge basket full of candy handing a couple out to everyone, to throw at the barmitzvah boy at the appropriate time. 7 lbs of candy! The chazzan called Squiggy up with such wonderful pomp and circumstance. His father had already helped him put on his tallit, and he mounted the stairs to the Bima with confidence. At this point for me the tears started to flow and didn’t stop for a while.

He made the requisite brachot, his sweet clear voice filling all corners of the shul. The rabbi asked for quiet so that the barmitzvah boy could read the maftir without disruption. He read it perfectly. His voice strong and sure, his pace steady. He did a couple more brachot, and then the men started to sing “Siman Tov uMazel Tov” – our cue to throw candies (so he should enjoy the sweetness of Torah). The little kids ran around collecting the sweets, stuffing pockets and mouths. All the men tried to squeeze up on the Bima to dance with Squiggy – they couldn’t move there were so many people up there. It was so heart warming.

Eventually the dancing stopped and the men returned to their places. Squiggy made the brachot for the Haftara, and read it out loud, clear as a bell. He has been blessed with such a beautiful voice BH! When he made the final bracha, his voice was so musical, his concentration so strong – it was the most awesome thing I have ever heard.

He finished and I was surrounded by family and friends wishing me mazel tov, he was surrounded too. There was so much love and affection for us in that shul. It was truly touching. I got to glance at his face right after he was done reading and the relief on it was huge!!

The rabbi gave a speech, and presented the barmitzvah boy with a lovely siddur, and a bracha that he should grow up to be a fine man, a mensch, who will have an honourable place amongst the Children of Israel.

After services we adjourned to the hall for a kiddush – there was cholent and cookies and all of that kind of stuff. Lots of socializing and mazel tovs. My face started to hurt from the smiling.

Soon it was the celebratory lunch for close friends and family. Some of Squiggy’s friends had walked in from our area – a walk of an hour and a quarter. We were so touched that they made the effort.

I gave a short speech – nothing fancy. Welcoming everyone and just telling everyone what an awesome kid Squiggy is, that I hope he grows up well, and uses his awesome talents, that he can be anything he wants to be. I tried not to embarrass him too much. His father spoke, remembering that when I was pregnant with Squiggy so soon after Lenny was born (they are 13 months apart) we wondered how we would ever love another child, as we loved Lenny so much. He spoke about how awesome it was that our love for Squiggy was immediately there, was just as huge as our love for all the kids. He also extolled Squiggy’s virtues. Squiggy’s paternal grandmother spoke too, briefly, but touchingly. Squiggy chose not to speak which was fine with us – he did an awesome job in shul that morning – that was enough in my book.

We got to make a few l’chaims – on single malt too!! After much eating and drinking and celebrating, it was time to bensch and conclude the meal. Lots of “we’ll see you at the next barmitzvah” – only 17 months, not that we are counting!!

This was a lovely barmitzvah Shabbat. It couldn’t have been better. When you consider the whole familial situation – divorced parents, adding in two step parents and various other additions etc there was the potential for interesting happenings. But everyone was welcoming and friendly to all – it was truly about giving our son the best barmitzvah he could possibly have had. That we did.

May we all merit to celebrate many many simchas with each other. Amen.

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Mixed Emotions

I didn’t want to see him the way he was. I wanted to remember him the way I saw him in my head. I wanted to remember his big belly hanging over his jeans with the bull belt buckle, his hairy chest with the gold chains around his neck peeking out from his shirt. Even the ever present cigarette dangling between his lips or his fingers. That was my father. That was how I wanted to remember him, but those memories were supplanted against my will.

I had spent almost every day of the past five weeks sat at his bedside having totally one-sided conversations. Conversations where I imagined what his responses would be, should be. I was an adult, yet still a teenager. I was too young for this, too fresh and too innocent, too newly born. But are we not all too young when a parent is dying? My innocence disappeared the moment I first saw him comatose and non-responsive, a wizened man in a biological shell. He was so young – how could God do this to him, to his family, to me?

Nothing prepared me. Words can only paint a picture, they don’t prepare you for the reality of a dead parent, lying there gone on his hospital bed. Move, I wanted to yell, let me at least see your chest move, prove to me that you can still breathe, dammit! Fight, fight so that you can walk me down the aisle, fight so that you can hold your future grandchildren, fight so I don’t have to name a son after you, fight fight fight – why did you give in? Why didn’t you tell God you weren’t ready? Why did you let yourself die?

I wanted to run from the room, but I was told I must say goodbye. What was the point? He could not hear me. His soul had departed from his body. I felt sick. My father was dead. When someone dies you are supposed to say Baruch Dayan HaEmmet – Blessed is the true judge. How does one say God is just and true when he takes a man in his early 40s, leaving behind a bunch of children? How do you tell a 19 year old girl that this was God’s will and she has to accept it? How does that girl accept that her dreams for any kind of relationship with her father are over? There is no comfort in words, in prayer, in funerals or mourning. Not for her.

This week this girl celebrates the barmitzvah of her son, the one she named for her father. His name lives on, his bloodline continues with many grandchildren. Still she carries pain in her heart for what could have been. What should have been. But it is the comfort of her husband and her children that bring her hope for the future. That have assuaged the pain of her loss and suffering.

Baruch Atah Hashem…..Shehechyanu Vekiyamnau Vehigiyanu LaZman Hazeh – Blessed are You, Eternal One our God, who has given us life, sustained us and brought us to this day.

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BUSY

I have so much that I need and want to write about, but this will be an insanely busy week. It’s back to school, but more importantly, this is the week of Squiggy’s barmitzvah. I have been in NY on “vacation” for the last 3 weeks, so I need to knuckle down and take care of business, so blogging will be sporadic at best. Right now the writing I have to do is my speech for aforementioned barmitzvah – anyone want to do it for me? 😉

If you want to follow me on Twitter or FaceBook – all the links are at the right, on the sidebar.

Happy Back to School!!

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Our Barmitzvah Invitation

(I got this as a forwarded email and I edited it to suit my purposes. It gave me quite a giggle. Hope it does the same for you. 😉 )

It is with great stress, emotional and physical fatigue and incredible financial sacrifice beyond comprehension,
that we invite you to join us as our wonderful son
Hopalong Squiggs
is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah
Saturday, May 12th –

(yes we realize its Mother’s Day Weekend)

Temple Israel
14 Bailey Rd
Montreal  , Quebec
at the ungodly hour of 9 am

Even though you don’t really need to be there until 10:20 a.m. to catch the real action

If you make it through the 3-hour service, please skip the kiddush (it’s just cookies and cake) and join us instead for the ostentatious luncheon meal

(Kosher, got to do that to keep the natives happy),

which starts at 1 PM, (not 2 PM.. or you will miss out on the 2,000 canapes)

Fancy Shmancy Country Club
2500 Cote De Liesse
Montreal , Quebec H3S
(which we had to join just for this event  and you would not believe the initiation fees)

Please have the courtesy of showing up if you RSVP that you are attending,or you will be billed for $210.00 a plate if you are a no-show.

Please RSVP as soon as you get this and not a day before the
cut-off date. I can’t take the stress.

The gift of choice is either green, or contains a routing and account number

Hope you can make it!

The assorted parents and step-parents and grandparents of the aforementioned kid.


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Barmitzvah – the Redux

As regular readers will know, we are making another barmitzvah at the end of the summer. My two eldest sons were born 13 months and 4 days apart.

Last year was the first barmitzvah and it was awesome. I worked really hard for it to be perfect, and my son couldn’t have been happier with his weekend. He is the type of kid that likes to be centre of attention, and is not nervous at addressing a crowd.

Our second son, affectionately known in these pages as Hopalong Squiggs, is more content to be behind the scenes, out of the spotlight. But he can’t stay there now, as it’s his moment to shine.

Every child is different, every simcha is different. However some things need to remain constant. When I was reporting on last years events I commented on how well everyone got along – step families and ex spouses and new spouses etc.  I am proud that we all put aside our differences for the sake of the barmitzvah boy, and I am confident that this upcoming barmitzvah will be the same.

This barmitzvah is bittersweet in a way. It’s probably the last barmitzvah we will make in Montreal. So I guess in some ways it will be somewhat of a farewell bash too. (ok so I am already panicking that I know no caterers in Monsey, know nothing about the halls or who does tablecloths – and I have 18 months until the next barmitzvah to think about it!! And we haven’t yet moved….)

This past Shabbat was a year (in the Hebrew Calendar) since the last barmitzvah. And what a year it has been. I met and married the love of my life, and we are in the process of moving to be with him in NY. Last year I was happy at this time, happy with the person that I was, not dependant on anyone for that happiness. This year I am even happier as I have the KoD to share that joy!

I am so excited to be at Squiggy’s barmitzvah, to watch him become a man under the watchful eye of his father and stepfather and brothers and the men all gathered round the Torah. (I would love to be standing next to him too, but that’s not how we do things here). I know in my heart that I have raised him well, brought him to this point in his life to accept the responsibility of an adult Jewish man and all that entails. I am proud of the person that he is, and I am proud to have helped form him in that way.

I listen to him practice his parsha, and watch him practice putting on tefilling. He is a leftie – so he does it different from his brother. Every time I watch this I tear up. Last year this is what I wrote about my oldest laying tefillin. The feelings are no less awesome watching Squiggy put them on. In 10 days he will be putting them on in shul with a bracha in front of the community. He will put them on every day after that for as long as he lives (except Shabbat and holidays). This is an amazing undertaking, one that I as a woman cannot fully grasp. I know Rashi’s daughters are reported to have davened with tefillin – but I am not so holy that I wish to take on this mitzvah.

I have been so blessed to have so many simchas in my life. This is the third in just over a year. 2 barmitzvahs and a wedding. May it be Hashem’s will that we celebrate many many simchas together in the coming years.

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2008 retrospective

I started writing a look back at the year that was, but the first draft ended up being a play by play of the guys that I dated. I should be blushing here, right, but I will not. I was on a quest to find my prince charming and I guess that was my main focus of this year. Those of you who read all the Frumster Files  (including the deleted ones) know a lot of what I experienced.

 

After many disappointments, and some close calls, this year on Rosh Hashannah my davenning was to ask Hashem to send me what he felt was right for me at this point in my life. I honestly didn’t think He would be so quick in responding.

 

As I look back on 2008 I want to thank every guy that I dated / went out with / conversed and emailed with. You were all a necessary step on my road to finding my King of Diamonds. Ok a few of you I would like to have stepped completely over or on you, but I didn’t get that choice. I learnt something from each and everyone of you – some things about men in general, some things about myself, my likes and dislikes, my preferences, what I will or will not settle for. There were a couple of you that were really close to be the One – but you didn’t make the final cut….oh well, such is life.  (At this point I would like to say that I didn’t settle for anything less than the very best – and I am so blessed)

 

This was the year of finding my beshert, my beloved future husband, the King of Diamonds. He proposed in front of my children, with tears sparkling in his eyes…sigh….I love sharing our story – so read it again here.

 

This was also the year in which we celebrated the barmitzvah of our eldest son, together, in true blended family tradition – with everyone getting along and being there for our son’s moment in the spotlight. Read about it here Son – you did me proud and I am so honoured to be your Ima. I still think back fondly to that weekend – such great positive memories. My fave – when you started speaking about me in your speech and your voice broke, and the whole hall cried with you. My chance to speak – well, that was icing on the cake. Read my speech here .

 

This year I took my eldest son to Israel and introduced him to his country. I was so priviliged to be able to do this, and the memories will live on in both of us forever. My prayer at the kotel. Some holiday musings .

 

I started working outside the house this year, I blogged about it here  and while it was a big adjustment, I would not trade it for the world. To have people to converse with during the day, about important matters, and not just about groceries and kids – that’s a priceless experience. And to get paid for it – what a bonus!!

 

I made a bunch of new friends this year and enjoyed “old” friends too– you have enriched my life more than you can ever know. I hope our friendships continue to go from strength to strength.

 

I also started blogging this year. First month of blog here . It has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had to date. I have always been one to have something to say, and the idea that there are people out there actually interested in what I have to say just continues to blow my mind!

 

I bought a blackberry  and joined the dark side. I started tweeting too – if you haven’t used twitter.com yet – hop on over there and sign up. This has been an invaluable real time tool for me to advertise my blog, to find out what’s going on in the world, and with my own people. Warning –it can be a little bit addictive if you let it. Note to all who asked – I will not be live tweeting my wedding – that’s been done already…thanks SGR for taking that pressure off me!!

 

I gave up coffee three times this year. Every time I was so impressed with myself. I went without coffee for 3 long months at one point. Everyone (except my stomach) is so much happier with me back to drinking my daily caffeine. Some things are just not worth giving up. Caffeine makes me a better mother – it’s the sacrifice I am willing to make. (of course the fact that I love it very much doesn’t hurt ).

 

My message for you all in 2009 is don’t give up on your dream. Sometimes you may have to tweak it a little, refine and reshape – but don’t give up. You never know what life has in store.

 

So my motto for 2009 is this “all will be fine in 2009”.

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It takes a village

You know the saying that it takes a village to raise a child? It takes a village to do many other things as well, including put on a simcha. My village, my community, enabled me to pull of the barmitzvah of the decade. (In my opinion).  No one can do everything alone, even control freaks like me.

 

There have been many people who helped me pull this together. But not by telling me what to do, but by gently advising on what worked when they made a simcha.

 

In my old age I have learned that there is nothing wrong with asking for help or delegating. And when you have laryngitis the week of a simcha you NEED to ask for help and delegate or nothing will happen.

 

I have to tell you something about this community of mine. Yes, there are times when the ultra right wing factions drive me to distraction, and there are occurrences and opinions that leave me baffled and confused. But, with all of that, there is one common theme that unites this community – helping others. There are those who everyone knows that they are big baalei tzedakah, but there are many more who help quietly behind the scenes, wanting no recognition whatsoever.

 

The last few years have been very tough personally. There were some really rough times where if it hadn’t been for the wonderful people around me I would not have been able to stand tall at my son’s barmitzvah. They literally and figuratively propped me up until I was able to do it on my own. They took pride in my children as they did in theirs. They made themselves available to us night and day for as long as we needed. And I took them up on it many a time.

 

I look back and I know that without this amazing community and without G-d’s help there is no way this barmitzvah would have been such a success. There is no way that I would have been able to stand there greeting my guests, shining as if lit from within. There is no way I would have been able to plan the whole weekend, and pull it off without a hitch.

 

I said in a previous post that this Shabbat none of my self image issues were there. In  a way, I look on this past weekend as a sort of rebirth for me. Everyone knows we went through tough times. Not many know how tough, but they can imagine. And for me to be there, happy and healthy and proud of the fine man my son has become, well it was a major cause for celebration in my book. I made it. I needed to say a Shehechyanu. I got here, despite all the odds stacked against me, I pulled through. I did not do it alone. My village raised me up, propped me up, and pulled me kicking and screaming at times to where I am now.

 

So thank you, wonderful people, for the abundant gifts that you have showered me with, and for the self knowledge you have forced me to accept – that I am a good person, that I am worth everything good in life. Thank you for the lessons you have taught my sons about going above and beyond. These are lessons that cannot be taught in books or classrooms. You guys are the epitome of what it means to be a good person. To help without expecting anything in return. I am proud to know you.

What a weekend!!

My son’s barmitzvah was phenomenal. The whole weekend went swimmingly well. It all appeared effortless and seamless – do you have any idea how much work it takes to get there? Effortless take endless effort….but I did it.

 

It could not have been more perfect. My son did a fine job with his torah reading, his speech was warm, loving, emotional – as he thanked his parents he choked up, and I doubt there was a dry eye in the house. I didn’t notice because I was way too busy bawling my eyes out…such a sap. My speech was well received. My son’s dad spoke about the importance of menschlichkeit in this world – I see already that #1 son is a mensch, there were so many instances over the weekend where he proved it.

 

#1 son also made a siyyum – he finished learning Seder Moaid in honour of his barmitzvah – this was a huge accomplishment, took him 8 months to complete all the learning for it. One of his rebbes was on hand to give a short speech, and he spoke of #1 son with such love and affection and yes, even respect. It was a very touching moment.

 

He told me tonight that he felt the love in the room at the meals. He really felt it, the warmth, the adoration, the caring – everyone who was a part of our simcha was there out of love for him and his parents. There was no awkwardness as there could have been, with divorced parents, blended families, etc. Every one got along, because we were all there for my son. This was his moment to shine, and shine he did.

 

He davened for the Amud many times over the last few days – and intends to lead the community in prayer many more times in the future.

 

I am so proud of him for all he has achieved. It was just a perfect barmitzvah. Yes there were issues that happened, but nobody else knew about them, and it didn’t spoil the main events. I had a major wardrobe malfunction (I bent to pick something up and heard rip rip rip – skirt ripped big time) 5 minutes before leaving for shul, which necessitated a total change of clothing for me – but nobody knew.

 

Standing there greeting my guests – my face started to hurt from the grinning I was doing. I was just so darn happy to be where I was, to know I have 4 wonderful sons who are growing up to be fine young men, to know that my eldest son has done me proud, but more importantly, he did himself proud. It was nice hearing the congratulations from people on what a fine son I have raised. It was also wonderful that people complimented me on how lovely I looked – I have some self image issues, what woman doesn’t, but at the barmitzvah they disappeared. I knew that I was shining from within. (Wish there was a pill you could take to get that glow when you really need it).

 

G-d blessed me and my family this weekend, and I am eternally grateful for His abundant blessings. May we all celebrate many simchas together, Amen!

Ima’s Speech

Welcome, bruchim habaim, Shabbat shalom, good shabbes……

 

Honoured rabbis, family and friends. What a wonderful day this is, and how awesome a gift it is to share it with all of you.  I want to welcome all of you, and thank you for the effort you all have made to come and share in our simcha.

 

I want to wish a personal mazel tov all the grandparents, on the barmitzvah of your eldest grandchild. What a wonderful day this must be for you. May you shepp much yiddishe nachas from all your grandchildren. May we all celebrate many more smachot together. Amen.

 

The last few months have been so very busy with planning and lists, and lists of lists, all leading up to this glorious day. Today our bechor has officially become a man according to Jewish tradition.

 

Son #1, watching you grow up these last 13 years has been such a wonderful honour and privilege, and to know that you follow in our footsteps in your close relationship with G-d is a blessing beyond belief.  Son #1, you have always been older than your years, you have displayed a thirst for knowledge about everything that is never satisfied. I love how tenacious you can be when looking for answers, when seeking the truth. You always listen to me, even though you know I can’t make you do anything seeing as you are now bigger than me. You work hard every day to try and make my life a little easier. You bring me joy every single day of your life. You are a fine example to your younger brothers, and I know sometimes their hero worship can get a little grating, but most of the time you take it in your stride. I am so proud of who you are, Son #1, and so very blessed to have had the privilege of raising you, of seeing you grow and develop, of seeing you achieve your personal goals.

 

I remember the Friday night after you were born, Sweetie, so clearly. I remember bensching you for the very first time, both Abba and I had tears rolling down our faces.

 

We blessed you, our son, that G-d should make you like Ephraim and Menashe. We asked G-d to bless you, and to watch over you. We asked him to shine His face towards you and show you favour. We asked G-d to be favourably disposed towards you, and then we asked him to show you Peace. We have continued to bless you and your brothers this way every Friday night. Every time I say the words I am moved.

 

Why do we bless our sons that they should be like Ephraim and Menashe. Who were these men that we want our sons to emulate them? They were the sons of Yosef, who was the second youngest son of Yaakov. What was so special about them? They were the only two of Yaakov’s grandsons that had tribes named after them. Yaakov looked upon them as sons rather than grandsons. Through reading and studying I have learned that these two brothers were possibly the first brothers in the history of the world to live together without rivalry. We all know about Cain and Abel, Yitzchak and Yishmael, Yaakov and Esav,  and Yoseph’s brothers, well, they sold him into slavery. Talk about rivalry there!

 

In Tehillim (psalms) it says “how good and pleasant it is for brothers to sit peacefully together”. Surely this is a remez, a hint, to Ephraim and Menashe and the good example that they set.

 

Ephraim and Menashe always worked towards the greater good of the community, always putting their own personal needs aside. They worked side by side and never allowed ego to get the best of them.

 

We are also told Ephraim and Menashe were born and raised to maturity outside of Eretz Yisrael, in Egypt, a place rife with immorality and corruption. Despite their environment they held steadfast to their Jewish values and did not compromise their beliefs. It must have been difficult for them at times, but they held true. In this world there will be many temptations to stray from the path of truth, and blessing our sons in this manner reminds them, indeed it strengthens them by remembering the commitment these two forbears had to yiddishkeit, never compromising, never wavering, not even for a second.

 

I would like to take a moment to address 3 very special people who have not yet been mentioned. Son #2, Son #3 and Son #4. You have all been so understanding and accepting of Son #1’s moment in the spotlight. You have shown no jealousy nor rivalry, and for that I thank you. Son #2, don’t get too comfortable where you are, 13 months from now it’s your turn, you had better start learning soon, and yes you will have to wear a suit then too. Thank you for being you, for your loving hugs and cuddles, for your unending devotion to my cooking. Your smile makes my heart sing.  Son #3, you have a while to go till it is your turn and I know you want to be all grown up already, but you are at a wonderful age and I want you to enjoy being a kid for a while longer ok? Carry on laughing your magical laugh for it warms my very soul. Son #4, where are the words to tell you how yummy and cute and delicious you are, and how your excitement for every little discovery you make translates to a smile in my heart? I love you.

 

I am so blessed to stand before you all today. I make this promise in front of all of you. I will continue to raise my sons in the warmth and love of Yiddishkeit, I promise to do my best to continue to imbue in them a sense of belonging to their people. I thank G-d for His abundant gifts, and I thank Him for the opportunity of having these children in my life. While we may never know what’s in store for us, I have faith that it will all be for the good.

 

Son #1, sweetheart, from the bottom of my heart, I wish you a sincere mazel tov on your barmitzvah. You have worked hard and earned your moment in the spotlight. I am so very proud of you. I love you so very much.