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A Belated Bar Mitzvah

Turned away for having dyslexia, one man celebrates his Bar Mitzvah decades later at Masada.


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Published: December 28, 2013


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Visitor Comments: 17

(17) Dvirah, May 6, 2014 9:26 AM

For the Record

I was 12 and my brother 13 in the same year. My family could only afford one celebration so, of course, it was his. To further complicate matters, living at that time in the US, we used secular dates, and my birthday fell out on Yom Kippur! So I also never had a formal Bat Mitzvah while most of my classmates did. Understanding the situation (though not at all happy about it!), I just announced to myself during the services that I was from now on responsible for my own observance. In the final analysis, that is what matters.

(16) CJ, January 7, 2014 12:43 AM

Jews Behaving Badly.

Good way to describe it. I'm Jewish and a social worker who provides case management services to children and adults with developmental disabilities. We need to behave inclusively, not exclusively.

(15) Sanford & Chana Goodman, January 5, 2014 7:13 PM

This is a wonderful act of real kindness

Dear Lori,

This is a very moving story about people who showed a wonderful kindness by compensating a person who was deprived of having a bar mitzvah by giving him a belated one on top of Masada.

Sandy & Chana Goodman, Dallas Texas

(14) Raphaelle Do Lern Hwei, January 5, 2014 10:56 AM

Admire the Courage

Congratulations, Todd! I am happy that his friends stood up for him and supported his convictions to stand up and be counted as a Jew.

(13) Jen, January 5, 2014 6:12 AM

why no barmitzvah for a Dyslexic boy?

I'd love to know the reasoning behind Todd's childhood community not allowing him to have a barmitzvah ceremony. My son is an Aspie, and we were very very lucky to have a rabbi who works with kids with disabilities. He arranged for the barmitzvah to be on a Thursday afternoon after school. Just family (and a few close friends) attended, and all my son did was read out the transliterated brachot for the call-up. In the years since then, he has been encouraged to be called up more times (this rabbi moved and we follow him at yom tov, and the shul he now has is small, so often my son and husband are the only cohanim in the shule) and he does the duchening too - so much nachas, and just from a rabbi who understands!

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