Song of Peace
With each student that becomes a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, a son or daughter of the commandments, Cantor Lee and I have become aware of a change that takes place within each child, a spiritual growth which may not be apparent to the students themselves or to their families. Despite all the pageantry and commercialism; the party being brought to the forefront, and the additional family social festivities, there is something else happening in the hearts and minds of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah student and their family.
What is it about this cycle of life celebration that makes for a highly emotional time for the family, even as much as a year prior to the event? What is it about us that makes even the least "Religious" family see the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony as extremely important and not to be taken lightly?
For all of us, it is a time of intense preparation, reflection and appreciation, regardless of the
religious aspect of the event. It is a time of vigorous Torah training and the apprehension that comes with it as the family works on organizing all the many little details and arrangements.
All this brings to the surface thoughts and emotions which are usually tucked away that rarely come to our awareness. As parents, we begin to think philosophically about what really is important in our life. We think about the path that we are on, about our children and our portion in this world. We think about family issues and unresolved issues. It is amazing how during this emotional time, strained relationships within the family need to be dealt with so that everyone can be a part of the ceremony.
There is something in our Jewish blood; our subconscious that becomes awakened in us when our child begins to emerge into the teen years. It is a right of passage which identifies us as Jewish even if we are not practicing our religion at all. It is an event which tells the world and, more importantly us, who we are and what our values are.
As teachers, this period in our student's life is a window of opportunity to instill the importance of social action, gimilut chasidim, loving kindness for the purpose of making the world a better place. Whether our students attend Hebrew School or join the online tutoring program, all of us at Shirat Shalom are proud of all our children as they become of age and go through the process of becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
Rabbi David Degani
For more information about our online Tutoring Program or to reserve a date please contact us.