(These are the words I spoke to and for Z at his Bar Mitzvah)
“The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings!” Robert Louis Stevenson
Z, while I know you have gotten tired of that particular poem for lots of reasons, I had to start with it because I started my speech to Mallory with something that annoyed her, too.
Robert Louis Stevenson is Z’s favorite poet. While “The Swing” is Z’s favorite poem, the one I read here is, to me, the epitome of just who Z is: a child who thinks everyone should just be happy, and if they aren't then he will find some way, somehow to remedy that situation. Z will take any difficult situation and find a positive no matter how bleak it might seem to anyone else.
Z arrived into our world on October 9th, 2000 on the solemn holiday of Yom Kippur. He was quiet and solemn as if right from the beginning he felt a deep affinity for Judaism, which has grown into a love and appreciation that many don’t feel until well into adulthood—if ever. I remember at our very first High Holidays at our synagogue, we had been talking with Cantor L, and she put her arm around Z and said to me, “this one is special, isn't he—he is an old soul in this little body.” When he started preparing with Rabbi for his Bar Mitzvah, he was overwhelmed with such deep awe because he understood how important becoming a Jewish adult is AND was overwhelmed with joy at becoming an *official* member of the congregation. While he is a typical kid about not wanting to go to services many, MANY times, once there Zachary always finds deep meaning, whether through a prayer or feeling accomplished from helping in the kitchen. As many of you know Z loves helping out around the temple, and one of the greatest pieces of news he got recently was being told by the family service leader that he wants Z helping him at next year’s High Holiday family services.
On to Legos. Need I say more??
Z was building “contraptions” when he was barely a toddler! Not quite 2 years old, he wound, twisted, and threaded a bunch of yarn and string around and through his crib, the rocking chair, and his closet door. When the rocking chair moved, the closet door opened! That was only the beginning…I can’t count how many times all of us stumbled or tripped over one of his webs. He quickly incorporated household objects—like the time he used yarn, the treadmill, the coffee table, a paperclip and his Elmo slipper to make a roller coaster road for his little Ernie stuffed animal!
Speaking of stuffed animals, have you met Goggy? Need I say more?
As the baby of 4 he certainly gets lots of attention—but of course, he also sometimes flew under the radar and learned just how to use that to his advantage. Schoolwork can be frustrating for Zachary; information doesn't always process as he intends it to, or as others need it to be processed. The most amazing thing is, though, that for those patient enough to stop and wait—the thoughts he expresses are usually mind bogglingly correct and stop us in our tracks trying to figure out how the heck he figured it out! Many times his words melt our hearts and many others’ hearts. He has a way of being charming but with such sincerity you can’t help but love him. I am his rock, yet he is a rock for so many. Joy and laughter and love emanate as physical senses from his soul.
Thank you to our synagogue family. You have truly become part of our family; all of us feel a sense of home when we walk through the doors of this wonderful synagogue. This was the perfect congregation of which to be a part when life through us some curves, and it is absolutely the best place to be to celebrate this wonderful milestone.