Thursday, November 30, 2017
B'nai Mitzvah Speech Highlights, Class of '16 -'17
Just as dancing for me has been at times fun, challenging, hard, overwhelming, and worthwhile, I know that following the teachings of the Torah and being a Jew is not just simple and easy. But, just as dancing ended up being something that I can learn and grow with, and keep striving to become better and better, the lessons of the Torah are also not things that you just learn once and then move on.
- Jeremy Young
These historical and geographical lessons teach us, then, to be sensitive to those who are suffering, as well as to appreciate the bounty of a good harvest with enough water to survive. That’s why the farmers made that presentation when bringing their first fruits. You can learn a lot about a nation from its particular history and geography.
In order to structure my time to get things done, like the Nazerite, I have chosen to give up certain things, like social media with my friends on most weekdays and, believe it or not, television. Yes it’s true. On most weekdays and even weekends when I have games or meets or, yes, services, I watch almost no TV. For instance, I’m still on the second season of Grey’s Anatomy, which came out twelve years ago!
As I believe most of you know, I broke my elbow and was required to have surgery. But one positive thing came out of it. I was able to pick all of the colors of my casts. Of my 6 different colored casts, I think the purple one was my favorite. Just my personal recommendation. MAYBE MY ACCIDENT HAS GIVEN ME THE CHANCE TO TAKE A STEP BACK AND APPRECIATE ALL I HAVE, MUCH AS THE SHABBAT AND SABBATICAL YEAR ARE INTENDED TO ACCOMPLISH.
- Julia Giventer
OK, I think you might get the message that I was born on Groundhog Day. It’s not really a holiday (not the kind of day where I would get presents anyway), but I think of it as holiday and it’s kind of cool to have it as a birthday. So, in the spirit of Groundhog Day and the Exodus, become bat mitzvah means to stand on a bridge between my past and my future. But even as I cross to the other side, my past stays with me. I will always look back on this day, even as I relive it over and over again.
I guess I’m a bit of a dreamer. I’ve always been that way. By the time I was 8, I already knew which colleges I will apply to, and I even have a backup plan if I don’t get into those. Which brings me to my portion and to Joseph. From day 1, Joseph was a dreamer. Everyone thought he was crazy. An old Apple commercial that I watched, says, “Here’s to the crazy ones,” and shows people who have changed the world, people like Einstein, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and John Lennon Who were Crazy Enough To think they could change the world! Joseph was a “crazy one.” He was able to Plan And Understand The Things No One Could, and he was also able to overcome anger and resentment in doing it.
Finally, Abraham’s last trial was to bind Isaac. Even though he was following what he thought were God’s orders, he learned that sometimes blind obedience is not the best thing. The same thing happens in “Anastasia,” where a Russian official is ordered to kill Anya, who claims to be the princess Anastasia. In the end he realizes that killing her would be wrong, so he reports back that she was never Anastasia. With Abraham, in the end, God makes it clear that he never wanted Isaac to be killed. So what’s the most important lesson to learn from all this? The Torah is the inspiration for all Broadway shows and it’s important to take your kids to lots of them!
Working so much with people who are different has taught me a lot. People who are less able to walk might be able to swim better. People who might not see as well may be able to hear. We are all unique- we are all special. We are our own person, each of us with very special needs. And like I’ve always said “be yourself because everyone else is taken”. Which means don’t try to be what you are not BE YOURSELF!!
I mean, if I were to tell you that this is a story about two men who are bitter rivals and one becomes insanely jealous of the other and wants to kill him, you can answer either “Toldot” or “Hamilton” and you would be right!