It was very memorable, I think not only for the young man and his family, but for many of the congregants–and frankly, it brought me to tears.
The family was from the Israeli embassy, and they did something that I had never seen before.
When the father got up with his wife and son at the pulpit to speak, he didn’t talk about how great his son was.
Instead he spoke about a young boy from the Holocaust who never made it to his bar-mitzvah.
The father told of the just 12-year old that lived in Europe and was murdered by the Nazis in the Jewish genocide that killed 6,000,000!
The father presented a certificate from the Remember Us program with the name and information of the murdered boy to his son.
The message of this father and Israeli official on his son’s bar-mitzvah was very clear–Never again!
Never again–the hate, prejudice, discrimination, and murder of Jews just because they are Jews.
The people that were murdered by the evil Nazis and other hating bigots throughout history showed no mercy towards G-d’s creatures–in fact, quite the contrary–they relished in the absolute torture and killing of each and every one.
Never again, is not just a phrase, but it is a determination and a commitment to be a “light unto nations” not to forget how some can fall under the evil influence and not to allow it to happen again that people engage in the most outrageous and vile atrocities against their fellow man.
Unfortunately these days, hate and bigotry comes in many colors, races, genders, orientations, and affiliations–and the haters may often pretend–like the Nazis did as the “Aryan Nation”–that they are superior, better, and even righteous in their (evil) cause.
However, we have to know better–we have to be able to discern good from evil–raise up good over evil–and fight for good to win against evil.
It is not just a single battle, but a long intergenerational war, and one that will be won.
G-d Almighty will most assuredly see to it that those who hate on and perform the vilest of deeds against their fellow man, they will end up paying the ultimate price not only with their rotting flesh, but with the eternal burning of their sickening souls. 😉
(Source Photo: here with attribution to the Holocaust Education and Archive Research Team–HEART)
Recently, I inspired by an award-winning documentary that I watched on Netflix called Praying With Lior (2007).The movie is about the development and spiritual maturation of a Jewish child with Down Syndrome to his Bar Mitzvah (and a few years past).As a young child, Lior Liebling is comforted by his mother, who is a Rabbi, who teaches Lior to pray and sing to G-d.
She holds him and they share an amazing bond both maternal and spiritual that never leaves Lior.
Unfortunately, the mother has breast cancer and passes away when Lior is only 6.
Right before his bar mitzvah, Lior goes to his mother’s gravesite and clings to it saying, “I miss you,” and then breaks down in tears that I could feel or imagined rising up to the heavens itself.
Lior is deeply loved by his family–father (also a Rabbi), stepmother, and 3 siblings–who play, engage, teach him, and learn from him as well.
Lior means light in Hebrew, and Lior brings light to everyone he meets–inspiration to overcome challenge, deep love of G-d and community, and faith that his mother is watching over him.
Lior makes it to his bar-mitzvah–and becomes a proverbial Jewish man–he says the blessing, reads from the Torah, celebrates with his family and loved ones, and even gives a speech on the importance of Torah.
At the celebration, he goes over to another retarded girl, and says something about how she is special and that “I am going to marry you.”
I watched this young man, Lior, pray with a rigor that I have not been able to do for some time, and I was inspired not by the words he said, nor the song he sang, or even the cheer he brought others, but rather I think I was moved by the simple sincerity and purity of his heart.
Lior didn’t want anything, didn’t have an agenda, wasn’t trying to do anything to anybody, he was just a soul that reached out to others–loving them, hugging them, kissing them, and yes, praying with them–often actually leading the services.
One of Lior’s classmates that was interviewed said that everyone has a test, and Lior’s is an incredibly difficult one–but he is succeeding extraordinarily by not only surviving with his disability, but also showing others the way.
Thank you Lior for being such an amazing inspiration to us all–may you go from strength to strength and someday reunite with not only your heavenly father, but also your mother who awaits to sing and pray with you in great joy again.
>When I was bar-mitzvah (this is the rite of passage when a Jewish Male reaches the age of 13 and accepts upon himself the laws of the Torah), my bar-mitzvah teacher taught me an important religious and life lesson. This lesson impacts everything I do including the way I carry out my professional life leading Information Technology and Enterprise Architecture.
As part of the preparation for the bar-mitzvah, a Jewish boy learns to read from Torah and prepare the section for the Shabbat reading that coincides with his 13th birthday. I had a teacher from the local synagogue that prepared me well, for over the better part of a year. At the end of the training, my teacher told me “in life, just remember, stay far from evil and do good —this is the essence of the Torah’s teaching”..
Now what does this have to do with IT and EA?
Well to me, the “final” bar-mitzvah lesson was all about a life (and work) ethic. The lesson instilled in me a direction to look at the world and recognize good from bad and to always try to do good – do my best, improve things, have an impact!
While this lesson has many ramifications in my life, from a professional perspective, I enjoy the fields of IT and EA, where I can drive technology change for the improvement of the organizations I work for. While, I’m not out there “saving lives,” I feel that I can make a difference by driving positive change using technology, structured with enterprise architecture, planning, and governance to make things better, more efficient, and improve mission execution.
It’s been quite a while since my bar-mitzvah, but the capstone lesson of “do good”, helps me be a better Enterprise Architect and drive positive and substantial change.
What life lessons drive you to be successful in EA?