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My Son's Bar Mitzvah

This past weekend we celebrated my son becoming a bar mitzvah. What follows is part of what I said to him... While it is true that Shira made me a father, you Ari made me a man. I know this might sound strange and that most people think that you become a man on your bar mitzvah or better when you get married or perhaps when you get your first job, but for me becoming a man is realized when there is another young man watching you and following you. It is one thing to have a father looking over your shoulder and saying, “Did you remember to do your homework?” Or, a grandfather who might say, “Give your grandmother a kiss.” It is quite another matter when it is a son looking over your shoulder. My son watches me like the king in the Torah portion Toldot. You watch me and I feel your perceptive stare and I feel your mind thinking, how do I speak to my Susie, how do I talk to my parents, how do I comfort my congregants, how do I treat strangers? Ari, having you as my son makes me a better man. Every day I thank God for my family. On this day I especially thank God that you are my son. I have a son who is a lot like me and a little not like me. I have a son who is loving and caring, honest and forthright, a son unafraid to challenge me and perceptive beyond his years. Ari you are a blessing. And I thank God for bringing you into our lives. Ari, I love you.