By now, I hope that you (if you are a member of the congregation) have received an invitation to Max’s bar mitzvah and the kiddush-lunch that follows. The invitation is sincere and an expression of the affection we feel toward our community. Max was born into Agudas Achim, and so many of you have watched him and his father grow up over the last 13 years.
Life cycle events are peculiar experiences for a rabbi. I am witness to and participant in so many transitions – the happy, the sad and the simply inevitable – that it is hard to be present in the moment. The professional part of my persona is always anticipating and seeking to direct. The private part of me wants simply to kvell (at least until it is time to write the checks!).
But, as I have said many times, it is easier for me than for most. Our congregation is indeed a blessed and beloved community. We stand up for each other, we stand in for each other. May 24 will be an ordinary Shabbat and an extraordinary Shabbat – as it should be.
Of course, this is the last of our family’s b’nai mitzvah. While we are are certain to celebrate other life cycle events during the years to come, this bar mitzvah is the last one we can put on the calendar. It is a time of particular joy for us, and even more so for gratitude, having had the chance to pilot our three kids to the obligations of Jewish adulthood.
I hope each of you feels as fortunate as I do to be a part of this congregation. My appreciation grows the more I participate; I suspect you have the same sense. Woody Allen may have been in a satiric mood when he said that 90% of life is showing up, but there is great wisdom in his humor. This upcoming bar mitzvah has meaning for us not just because we have survived, but because we have thrived. And we have thrived because we have been nurtured on Shabbat and in learning and at social occasions and in the midst of social concerns by people who are partners in community.
Please be with us on May 24.