Friday, May 15, 2009

TBE Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary: Lauren Tuckman on Emor

Shabbat Shalom!

In my portion, as you can see, the priests had a very set script. There were lots of rules that they had to follow and very little room for self expression. They were like the actors and actresses of their day, and the presentations they put on were very powerful… but no one ever really thought of them as leaders. Moses was the leader… the priests weren’t.

As many of you know, and the rest of you might be able to guess - I love acting. I go to acting camp and I’ve been in a number of shows, both there and back home, including “Music Man” twice!

I’ve always loved Broadway shows. I went to my first one when I was around the age of three. I’ve been to lots and lots of shows; in fact, just in the past few weeks I’ve seen Shrek and Hair. My all time favorites are Hairspray and 13.

The great thing about both shows, especially Hairspray, is that they talk about the tough choices teens have to make. It’s so important that teen feel free to be able to express who they really are.

The funny thing is, that the actors who are doing this are actually reading SOMEONE ELSE’S WORDS! They are not being themselves at all, but are going according to a script and a director’s instructions.

I also love to dance, and can tell you that the same is true for dancers. We’re dancing to someone else’s music and someone else’s choreography.

The key is to be able to take those words and that choreography and fly with it – to make them your own.

That’s what I try to do when I dance and when I act.

And that’s what a bat mitzvah does too. This morning, I’ve been chanting words written twenty five HUNDRED years ago - and the key is to make them my own. That’s what I’ve tried to do here today.

One way to make those words come alive is through speeches like this. Another way, is through performing mitzvot. For my mitzvah project, I’ve been selling hand-made bracelets to raise money. I designed them and made them myself, with some help from my friends. You can find more about this project in my booklet; I’ll be taking orders all day today.

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