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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tyler's Bar Mitzvah | Congregation Tikvat Jacob | Manhattan Beach

Congregation Tikvat Jacob Bar Mitzvah
Congregation Tikvat Jacob in Manhattan Beach is a conservative synagogue, and as such, has strict policies about photography. Specially, no pictures on Saturday, during Shabbat. But on Saturday, Tyler's Bar Mitzvah was an afternoon event, ending after sundown, so Rabbi Mark Hyman agreed to let us take a few shots--at the tail end, once the Havdalah ceremony began. So here it is folks--history in the making--the first shots we know of, ever taken at CTJ, during a service.

Rabbi Mark read a wonderful poem by Danny Siegel for Tyler, who is autistic, and we'd like to share it with you here:

"I am not some developmentally delayed creature today.

Today I am a full-grown Jew.

Do not reach for your Kleenex;

be no more moved to joy for my Bar Mitzvah moment

than for anybody else's with a quicker mind.

There is nothing special about me today.

I came of age.

I recited my blessings.

I joined the congregation.

It is all natural,

though I would not have known this

without my teachers' and my parents' help.

Expect no less of me than of yourselves,

and no more.

My genes specialize in open love and kindness.

For this, do not admire me from a distance.

Do not wish another chromosome for yourself.

All is not beautiful,

even to me,

but it is more beautiful than you allow yourselves to see.

This face, distinct and smiling, feels pain,

but I can manage.

You, with your own, do the same."