Ophir and Maya Rodich
Rick & Dvora Rodich
Invite you to celebrate with us
Our Bat Mitzvah
Please join us and be a part of this special time in our lives, as we continue a tradition of that has been fulfilled by generations before us.
Date: April 12, 2008
Please bring a warm jacket for the evening as our event will be outside.
Please do not feel obligated to send a gift if you cannot attend
By Tzvi Freeman
Three things you must know to be an adult:
Don't fool yourself.
Don't fool others.
Don't let others fool you.
-- and do it all without trying to impress anybody
Get a Life!
By Yanki Tauber
We Jews are a funny people. We celebrate the weirdest things. Everyone's heard of end-of-the-school-year parties, graduation parties, retirement parties. But who ever throws a get-to-work party?
Let me explain. Imagine that you have this dream job that's the envy of all your friends. Then, one day you receive a summons to the boss's office. The conversation goes something like this:
Boss: "Have a seat."
You: "Thank you."
Boss: "You've been here -- what is it, twelve years now?"
You: "Yeah, it's almost that already. You guys take such good care of me..."
Boss: "We pay you a comfortable living wage, plus full health benefits, free day care and spa privileges, 31 days annual paid vacation..."
You: "Yes. I'm truly thankful."
Boss: "And what are your duties and responsibilities?"
You: "Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I've no duties or responsibilities."
Boss: "You don't even have to come to work, if you don't want to."
You: "Oh, but I do. Lots of times. It's fun. I hang around the office, see how things are done. Sometimes they even let me help out. You'd be surprised at how much I've learned. And I participate in all the company banquets and outings. I wouldn't miss those for anything..."
Boss: "Well, young lady, the party's over."
You: "W-what do you mean?"
Boss: "The party's over. Here, take this manual. It spells out your obligations..."
You: "Uh, it's sorta big and heavy. There must be almost a thousand pages in this book..."
Boss: "Actually, what you're holding in your hand is a very basic summary. The rest is in the library downstairs..."
You: "Oh, I know the library. There are tens of thousands of volumes there..."
Boss: "Well, we're doing important work here. And, starting tonight at sundown, you're going to be expected to be doing your part. You'll begin by following instructions, but to do your job right, you'll also need to understand the whys and the hows behind those instructions... You've picked up quite a bit in your time here, but we have guys who've been here all they're adult lives and are still learning. Anyway, congratulations and good luck. I'll be watching your progress over the next 108 years..."
You: "... a hundred and eight years?"
Boss: "At least. Hopefully longer. Oh, by the way, don't forget to pick up your new ID tag at the front office on your way out."
After a conversation like that, would you run home and throw a party to celebrate? My daughter did. This week, she celebrated her Bat Mitzvah, the day that she became twelve years old.
A Bat Mitzvah is not an oversized birthday party. Leah's had eleven of those already. This is very different. What she celebrated was the fact that on the eve of her twelfth birthday she became bat mitzvah -- a person who under Torah law is commanded, obligated and responsible to fulfill the mitzvot of the Torah.
She celebrated the fact that the Boss had called her into the office and told her that the party was over. Until now, she'd received everything her heart desired from Above and was not required to give anything in return. She was in learning mode -- hanging around the office, picking up knowledge, getting a feel for how things are done. Now, she's a full-fledged employee, with a long list of duties and responsibilities. More than that -- she's been made a partner in the company, fully responsible to make the enterprise work.
She's delighted. She threw a sumptuous party for her friends and family. We feasted, sang and danced and celebrated the event as the happiest day of her life to date.
It may be that life as a free lunch has its attractions. Very quickly, though, it becomes tedious and meaningless, forcing the free luncher to work harder and harder at all the contrivances that pump artificial meaning into life. But the fun leaks out faster than the most vigorous pumper can pump, leaving one deflated and defeated.
That's why we Jews don't throw retirement parties. Instead, we celebrate the day that we're handed the big fat book filled with duties and obligations and the ID tag that reads "Fully Responsible Member." Because we know that there is nothing more gratifying than being given a life that is truly our own.
A 13 Year Old Adult – Whom Are You Fooling?
By Naftali Silberberg
Bar or Bat Mitzvah—the venerated rite of passage whereby a Jewish child enters adulthood, a milestone which is reached at the approximate age when the body reaches maturity. Yet most of us still consider adolescents to be emotionally immature, and regard them as "children" for quite some time after puberty. Society doesn't trust the young teenager's ability to discern between the wise and the reckless, and has legislated many laws to restrict them accordingly. The ability to operate an automobile, vote, or purchase an alcoholic beverage (legally…) are still distant dreams in the eyes of the new Bar/Bat Mitzvah "adult."
Why does Judaism consider a thirteen year old boy and a twelve year old girl to be full-fledged adults? What is there to be gained from blatantly disregarding reality?
Let us take a moment to analyze the difference between an adult and a child. The difference between the two is not a disparity in intelligence—a child can have a very high IQ, but he is nevertheless a child. Knowledge, too, is not what sets apart the adult from the child. A child prodigy who is proficient in the contents of the Encyclopedia Britannica – actually, the modern geeky child is more likely to be versed in Wikipedia… – is still not held responsible for his actions. Rather, maturity is the ability to integrate acquired knowledge into daily life and to use the information supplied by the brain to suppress the urges of the heart.
The difference between an adult and child is not a disparity in intelligenceIn short, it is the adult who has the capability to make hard decisions based on his understanding of the consequences of intended actions. The child may understand the consequences of his actions in theory; to the adult the consequences are real, not abstract. To use chassidic terminology: "the mind rules the heart."
This is the inner meaning of the mitzvah of tefillin, the mitzvah most strongly identified with Bar Mitzvah. The arm teffilin are placed adjacent to the heart, and the head tefillin are laid directly above the brain. The mind must constantly govern the heart, and both of them have to submit to a higher authority—G-d's commandments which are described in the parchments within the leather boxes.
G-d, the designer of Man, created a model which matures physically and emotionally at approximately the same time. By the time puberty arrives, the human is theoretically prepared to be responsible for his actions. These newly minted "adults" now have the necessary maturity to base their actions on rationale, rather than impulse and spur-of-the-moment whims. This is not only theory; this is actually the way things were until the middle of the 20th century. In the not so distant past, young adolescents got married and supported a family; successfully carrying out all the duties this entails.
And then things became good. Very good. So good, in fact, that parents who had difficult childhoods decided that they could afford better for their children. They rightfully resolved not to deprive their children of all the comforts which they had been denied as children.
This new-found affluence of society is a double-edged sword
This new-found affluence of society was a double-edged sword. On the positive side – aside for the physical benefits it afforded such as previously unheard of luxuries and vastly improved and widely accessible healthcare – it produced a generation of highly educated youth. Parents did not need their children to augment the family's income, and could afford to allow the children to study well into their teenage years, all the while providing loving and total financial support. The problem then arose that children started maturing at a much later age. Why should the child grow up before it was necessary? Did the teenager's actions really matter? After all no matter what he did on any given day – provided he didn't become a serial murderer – he could always count on a warm meal and shelter. Did anything really matter? Being told that his assiduous study today will profoundly affect his distant future is quite different than the reality of being fired for not arriving to work on time!
There's no turning back the clock. It would be cruel for 21st century parents to have their eight year old apprenticing to a blacksmith in order to teach the child responsibility! We thank G-d for the bounty He bestows upon us—and at the same time we should realize that this presents yet another challenge which we can, and will, overcome. Real preparation for Bar/Bat Mitzvah must now start from a very early age, and involves actively searching for opportunities to teach our children the meaning of consequences for actions. It means resisting the natural parental urge to always be there to fix, clean, intervene, replace, and/or resolve. It means establishing meaningful consequence systems—and not capitulating to skillful pleading and cajoling.
Perhaps we can't change society single-handedly, but we do have the ability to ensure that our children are properly prepared to be responsible adults when they reach the age of Bar and Bat Mitzvah.