A Pre-Bar Mitzvah


“I really would have liked to celebrate my Bar Mitzvah like other kids, at 13. But I want to celebrate with you Ima so you can be happy and proud of me.” So went 11-year old Uriel’s speech at the pre-Bar Mitzvah celebration.
A week ago, Uriel would not have believed that he would be marking his Bar Mitzvah celebration a year and a half before the appointed time. But after a significant deterioration in his mother, Yamit’s, health condition, her chemotherapy treatments were suspended. Yamit understood what this meant. She understood that her young family would be growing up without a mother, that the Bar Mitzvah for 11 ½ year old Uriel would take place with no Mommy looking on in pride. Perhaps, just perhaps some joy was yet to be had. True, he is not officially Bar Mitzvah but perhaps…perhaps they could have a celebration, with family and friends gathered around, a celebration where he can shine and she can show how proud she is of him…a pre-Bar Mitzvah. A day especially for Uriel who, even though not yet 13, had certainly become a man due to the family’s recent trials. From her bed in the Rambam Hospital, she dared to voice her thoughts.
In a remarkably brief time, Ezer Mizion’s Donald Berman Rehab Center for Cancer Support managed to recruit donations of catering, transport services, clothing, shoes, music, and even performances by guest singers. Four hours after Yamit expressed her wish, Shabtai Gadi informed her that the Bar Mitzvah would take place just 6 days later. “It all started when Yamit squeezed my heart, and from there, the ball started rolling,” related Shabtai.
At four, the make-up artist and the dressing assistant reported to the hospital room to create their magic. At six the ambulance came to pick Yamit up from the hospital. At the same time, a white limousine arrived to pick up her husband Ofer and their five children –Daniel (13), Uriel (11), Gavriel (8), Michael (6), and Shirel (4). The ambulance and limousine met, continuing together to the hall. Yamit was carried in amidst a shower of good wishes.
Two drummers led Uriel to his mother. “My young beloved, I want to thank you for what you’ve been, for what you are, and above all, for the man you will become,” Yamit blessed her son before the crowd, as she swallowed her tears.
“Go forth to life, my beloved young man. Conquer the highest peaks and seek the most meaningful challenges. I will always love you from wherever I am. My precious son, the world is waiting for you. Stride towards it with all you’ve got, enjoy every minute, and remember that Ima is there for you at all times!”
And so the celebration became a stormy, emotional event of joy mixed with deep sadness. “I promise you that I’ll take care of my siblings, I’ll help Abba, and we’ll always be together. I’ll look upwards and I’ll know that you’re always there, watching over us, standing at my side, and guiding my steps,” said Uriel, as the audience of relatives and friends tried in vain to hide their tears.
In the course of the evening 8-year-old Gavriel, presented a moving note to his mother. “Even though the cancer won, you’ll still be as sweet as a flower, with pink petals.”
For further info http://www.ezermizion.org

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