Greg and Kevin's B'nai Mitzvah
In November of 2003, our family celebrated the B’nai Mitzvah of our grandsons, Greg and Kevin...a religious ceremony that marks their coming of age. At approximately thirteen years of age it is recognized by the Jewish faith that boys achieve a level of maturity permitting them to perform as adults in matters concerning themselves and their family.
And, to mark such a significant moment in their young lives, our family gathered in the synagogue to watch and listen to Greg and Kevin as they read from the Torah and chanted their prayers. By their participation in this ritual they are acknowledged as adult members of the religious community. To reach this achievement, both Greg and Kevin have completed years of religious education in the Jewish faith…learning Hebrew and the history of the Jewish people, understanding Jewish heritage and culture and finally, studying the prayers necessary to read from the Torah to complete their respective Bar Mitzvah service.
Months before the actual service at the synagogue, both Greg and Kevin studied with a tutor who taught them how to chant as well as understand the meaning of the Torah portion and the prayers that they would each recite during the service. They studied extremely hard, but as the time of their Bar Mitzvah approached their anxiety level increased correspondingly. All the family members, in addition to the regular members of the synagogue, the Rabbi and the Cantor, their tutor, but especially their friends…all would be watching Greg and Kevin chant their Torah reading…..they believed that they could not make any mistakes.
Well, even though that is what they believed, experienced Torah readers also make mistakes. And, if Greg or Kevin would have made any mistakes and they never told me if they did, I would certainly never know nor would many present in the congregation. Greg started …with a speech describing his Torah reading and he would then chant the Torah segment, while Lila and I were at the bimah (pulpit) with him. Then, Kevin chanted his Torah piece ….and then each would chant their Haftorah. Finally, Kevin discussed the interpretation of his Torah reading.
To make this day ever more memorable, our daughter, Deborah, ....Greg and Kevin's aunt....celebrated the B'nai Mitzvah by also chanting a portion of the Torah.
It was a thrilling experience for Lila and I to share this event with our grandsons. For us it meant that they had now attained a new plateau of life’s adventures…they were no longer the little boys that we watched grow as we held and embraced them. Now, we would see them no longer as children, but as teenagers who will express themselves as young adults as they enter this new phase of life.
Looking back it has been remarkable how fast time has passed as we reached this most significant event ….Greg and Kevin’s B’nai Mitzvah. It was fourteen years ago, when our family was first blessed with the birth of Greg, soon to be followed by the arrival of Kevin into our family. They represented a most wonderful part of our lives, where a new generation comes alive and perpetuates a family’s dreams. Where life does not only continue, but gives a new meaning to those who have come before this current generation.
And so it was with Greg and Kevin.... as they became a significant part of our family and life...where they would learn from us and we in turn would learn from them. We watched them grow and we watched them develop from babies into young children and then into teenagers. Now, we were able to see the seeds of that love and nurturing lay the foundation for Greg and Kevin as they will become young men.
To celebrate the B’nai Mitzvah, their parents planned a wonderful party that evening with family and friends in attendance. With music and dancing, the boys learned that everyone would rejoice in this religious experience and reflect on their accomplishment.
Now we look forward to the future.....to watch Greg and Kevin as they become young men with aspirations and hopes, to build upon what they have already experienced and to attain happiness in all their future endeavors.