This week, Gabriel’s Bar Mitzvah ceremony allowed me to experience the uniqueness of the Jewish people in a way I could never have imagined.
Last Monday was a cold and rainy day in Jerusalem. After a few sunny days and wonderful adventures throughout the country with the Jacobs family; After exploring Masada, visitng the Golani army base and lunch with an Israeli Family in Kiryat Shmona, the Jacobs family had a completely personal trip in Israel.
On the day of Gabriel’s Bar Mitzvah, however, we stood at the Western Wall and watched the raindrops fall from the sky. I thought we were out of luck but I am overjoyed at how wrong I was.
We were incredibly fortunate to have a beautiful ceremony with hundreds of Jews at the Wilson arch. As we didn’t have a minyan, Gabriel partnered with an Israeli boy named Or, whose family had come from Eilat to honor his Bar Mitzvah. Or and Gabriel shared the Torah readings and blessings on this special day. A moment like this is not very common, a moment of mutual responsibility. On this day, two Jewish boys that lived thousands of miles apart, that spoke different languages and came from different cultures, shared one of the most important moments of their young lives.
We were also lucky and thankful for the advanced technology available at the Western Wall that allowed Or and Gabriel’s mothers to be a part of the ceremony from the women’s section (Ezrat Nashim). Both boys wore headsets with microphones that broadcast their readings over the noises of the tefila.
It was extremely crowded and the ancient Arch that, 2000 years ago, served as a bridge to approach the Temple Mount on this day served as a ‘no rain zone’
Many Bar Mitzvah boys from around the world gathered on this day for their special moment. Proud parent, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins sang their hearts out with tears in their eyes.
I couldn’t stop thinking about the similarity of our people and the immediate connection that is made simply from being Jewish. On this day, two boys from different worlds, praying to different tunes and with different accents recited the same words, sang the same songs and felt the same emotions. Proud parents watched as their boys became men in the 3000 year old Jewish tradition.