And now for this brief interruption from living with pre-teenage angst...

Dear Alex,

I am alternately angry with and proud of you at any given point during your seventh grade, 12, almost 13 years old year.

It is a tumultuous year filled with growth and change and there is an enormous amount of demands being put on you as you study to become a bar mitzvah in addition to all of the regular demands of school and sports and music and friends.

So yes, unavoidably, there is strife.  Particularly for you, my organizationally challenged first born.  Through it all, I love you fiercely.

And then there are spots as bright as the August sun, spots where you take what is amazing about you and share it with the world.  Like the project that you have chosen to achieve status as a bar mitzvah. More on that in a few sentences, but first a description of mitzvot chaveri. The rabbi taught us about two different types of mitzvot, those between you and G-d (praying, keeping kosher, keeping Shabbat) and those between you and man, also known as mitzvot chaveri (commandments between friends).  It is this latter type of mitzvah that has led the Conservative Jewish movement to require some kind of mitzvah project for every person who will become a bar mitzvah.

We are living in times that very scarily mirror the social unrest that occurred in Europe before the Holocaust.  People who are legally seeking asylum in the US in order to save their lives are being turned away by a new administration that has implemented stricter immigration laws.  For your project, you are not being political, you are being humanistic.  You are raising awareness among a generation of people, teaching them about mindless intolerance and hate.  And you are doing it all in your own voice, making it relevant to kids your age.  Even as I type this, I feel an emotional swell of pride.  I love you fiercely.

Love,
Mom


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