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We chose a less traveled path for Youngest Son to complete this important Jewish milestone. Rabbi Evon of Adventure Rabbi (http://www.adventurerabbi.org/) was Youngest Son's teacher. They met weekly for three months on Skype to learn together and to talk and to find meaning in this moment. Two days prior to the Bar Mitzvah we met Rabbi Evon in person in South Lake Tahoe ... we were reminded of Rabbi Adam and that was a good thing indeed. Rabbi Evon made it all so comfortable for us.
The next adjective I have for the day is Personal. We envisioned a day on the mountain surrounded by nature. The same prayers, the familiar melodies and the sacred words of Torah have been and will be said countless times and were repeated by Youngest Son. How can this be Personal? Our literal chosen path up the wooded mountain with our chosen Rabbi with friends who are our chosen family defined the bold lines of the day. As we hiked up the winding path, Rabbi Evon gave all an opportunity to provide Youngest Son with their stories or thoughts. Oldest Son described how his brother always chooses his own different path even on this day; there are so many layers to that one simple commentary - too much for this simple blog post.
Youngest Son chose the right spot for our group overlooking the blue lake beside the rushing waterfall and on the rocky edge. Then came the three original writings from Youngest Son about Shabbat and Social Action and then his D'var Torah. Rabbi Evon, Commuter Husband and I all spoke to Youngest Son about his past, his present and his future framed by our observations and our wishes. This Bar Mitzvah was a shared experience with all parties who chose to travel to this spot and actively participate in this moment of Jewish community.
And Youngest Son sounded his Shofar! This is the Shofar that Youngest Son chose in Israel and that traveled to Dallas and had journeyed with us to South Lake Tahoe. This is the same Shofar that Youngest Son blasts on High Holy Days at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas.
A form of the word "chose" is used many times in this narrative. We are a family of Jews who chose this religion; Jews by Choice. It is only fitting that this religion allows us to choose our own path literally and figuratively. We will respect the traditions and the teachings of Judaism while honoring our individual voices. One of my wishes for Youngest Son on that day was that he will continue to choose Judaism as the foundation of his spirituality.
My Youngest Son is 13 years old and this independent, strong-willed, determined, smart, creative, thoughtful, giving, beautiful person will have no problem making his choices and having a loud clear voice ... thank you G-d.
|At the trail head for Cascade Falls Hike|
|WOW ... our first great view|
|Sam with Kiddish - like that water bottle of wine?|
|This is the Torah!! In the "Ark"|
|Song and Prayer and Nature|
|Youngest Son leading service|
|Rabbi Evon always there to help and Commuter Husband looking on ...|
|We Sit ... and ...|
|It is super small Hebrew!!|
|A picture worth a thousand words ...|
|SOUND the SHOFAR! Perfect and Personal.|