December 22, 2014

Our Toast to Jacob. On His Bar Mitzvah

Hello and welcome to all of our family and friends that are here to celebrate Jacob today.

This is the part of the speech where we talk about how long we know some of you, the distances that you traveled from to be here with us today, and how special and important you are to us and to Jacob.

  • We are incredibly lucky to be surrounded by four generations of the most warm and loving family that there is.
  • Many of you have known us since we were children, younger than Jacob is today. Look what we did!
  • We are joined by friends of Jacob’s from his early childhood; friends he doesn’t even remember playing with back then.
  • We have people that traveled from all corners of the country, including friends that we met when we lived in Japan.

We’re still in a bit of awe and denial that our baby boy is 13 years old.

But after the stellar job that he did today leading services, reading from the Torah, and sharing his words and insights with us, we can say that the mix of awe and denial has morphed into pure awe and joy.

As parents, it is said that we have two obligations that constantly tug in opposite directions: (1) to guide, change, socialize, and instruct our children; (2) to celebrate them without question.

Today is without a doubt a day of boundless celebration of Jacob.

Our “number one son,” Jacob is the ultimate family man. What he spoke about today in his D’var Torah, that is 100% Jacob in a nutshell.  Jacob has always put family first, and has the most genuine and sincere love of family. It’s a defining quality of which we are very proud.

Jacob is also a child whisperer; he is amazing around children. His true colors shine with absolute softness and sweetness. Ever since the day Lauren was born, he was the most loving sweet proud big brother. And I’ve never seen a kid so proud and enamored of his little cousins. He has even taken friends home after school to play with them.  He also has consistently shown himself to be incredibly responsible when given the chance.

These qualities all make him an extraordinary man.

Jacob is also our Yankees/Giants/Knicks side-kick, Mike’s fantasy football co-GM, a baseball player, soccer player, ultimate Frisbee player, and tennis player. On the field, he may not be the fastest player out there, but he consistently makes intelligent decisions and executes them; he passes, he shares and he is good teammate.

All qualities we admire.

Sure, he can be a bit stubborn, um . . . on occasion.  But we have heard from many of you that this stubbornness will serve him well in life as he grows.  We’re going to hold you to that!

My good buddy - he Tweeted me once! - and author Neil Gaiman wrote that “The fundamental, most comical tragedy of parenthood: that if you do your job properly, if you, as a parent, raise your children well, they won’t need you anymore. If you do it properly, they go away and they have lives and they have families and they have futures.”  It's bittersweet. But more sweet. We’re certainly feeling that today!

Let’s all raise our glasses.

So Jacob, our son:

We offer you a blessing for you to continue to grow as a person and as a member of the world and of the Jewish community.

We love you.

We are proud of you.

We are confident in the man you are becoming.

We are blessed to be along for the ride. And we will always – always – be there with you and for you.


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