On Sunday, May 27th, at Temple Bnai Israel in Revere, Rabbi Joseph Berman spoke to the congregation on the holiday of Shavuot, explaining that in Biblical times, the first harvest of the Spring was brought to the sanctuary as an offering. Such was my own feeling, as I shared with the Goldstein family of Marblehead the Bar Mitzvah of their son, Ben.
Unlike most Jewish boys and girls who celebrate this rite of passage at age thirteen, Ben Goldstein in a 17-year old junior at Marblehead High School. At a time when most of his classmates are balancing their time between their schoolwork, their extracurricular activities, their SATs and their increasingly active social lives, Ben has dedicated most of this past year to preparing for his Bar Mitzvah, while similarly juggling these same time commitments and other responsibilities.
When Ben returned from a "Y-to-I" trip to Israel last August, I had asked him whether he had felt that same connection to our homeland which I remembered feeling as a result of my own USY trip to Israel more than forty years ago, something I was able to share with my own daughter, Ali, last summer in celebration of her own Bat Mitzvah.
Upon learning that Ben had never celebrated his own Bar Mitzvah when he was younger, I had proposed that Ben undertake this challenge so as demonstrate the power of his ability to set and meet goals.
Ben seized upon this challenge as a timely opportunity to devote himself to self-improvement, and has spent these past nine months preparing for his Bar Mitzvah with Rabbi Baruch Ha Levi of Shirat Hayman, Rabbi Berman, of Temple BNai Israel, and Ken Schulman of Cohen Hillel Academy, while working hard to improve his grades, elevate his SAT scores, and even make the Varsity tennis
team at Marblehead High School.
Kudos to Ben for his commitment and devotion, "mazel tov" to his family, and
many thanks to these remarkable teachers who helped us to bring this idea to fruition.