Jonathan’s Barmitzvah

This took place on the 5th October 2002, but the weekend really started on the Thursday morning when he was called up for the first time and a celebratory breakfast was had in Shul. To be honest the weekend started on the Wednesday when the house was turned into a simcha by our friends and family – thank you for your amazing flowers and gifts.

The whole weekend was fantastic with our friends and relatives really creating a wonderful atmosphere. Everything was perfect, even though our caterer broke her leg on the Wednesday! It was a big credit to the rest of her team that they managed to produce such a wonderful setting and meal (thankfully now she is fully recovered).

So a big thank you to Janice and Martine for the balloons and the food, both of which surpassed all of our expectations. You’re both booked for for 2006 and 2008!

And also a mega thanks to all our guests who created the atmosphere which really made the weekend. The weekend was so wonderful that I thought how lucky we were to be able to do this again, and again!

And finally, Jonathan – what a star. So confident, mature and tall! Absolutely perfect. I was so proud and the bit I will remember for ever was when afterwards you came upstairs to the door to hug me (but don’t tell anyone!)

The speeches are below, click on the title bar to open and close

Rabbi Angyalfi, Reverend Gilbert, Mum, Dad, Ruth, Leonard, Family and Friends. A big welcome to all of you on behalf of the Isaacs family. We are delighted that so many of you have made the effort to join us today to celebrate Jonathan’s Barmitzvah. It is your presence that has really made this simcha.

My first thank you, before I forget, goes to Sarah. The reason is that the last time I spoke publicly was some 16 years ago when we got married and guess what………I forgot to mention her then, and she has not forgotten to remind me again, and again, and again!!

Sarah is unique as I am sure you all know – her organisational skills exceptional. So it came as no surprise to me when Jonathan’s Barmitzvah was operated upon with a surgeon’s skill. After the necessary investigations where carried out she cut out any tasks and with what was left she wrote up a perfect prescription whereby nothing was delivered prematurely.

David and Rachel – No fear of forgetting them! They have done more than they know to support and help Jonathan. They light up all our lives with their warm, bubbly, if sometimes noisy, personalities! Jonathan could not have wished for a more loving brother and sister, and we could not have had 3 more loving children.

Jonathan – didn’t he do well! After spending weeks of trying to find some suitable way of describing Jonathan an idea came to me – I would use the letters of his name to describe him……………………………

J – Jewish. He has shown over the last 12 months whilst studying for his barmitvah a true feeling for the way of life that being Jewish means. This is indeed a credit, not only to his teacher, Abraham Serfaty, but also to Chaim Bell who encouraged this from an early stage in the children’s service, which Jonathan, and now David and Rachel, thoroughly enjoy. Thank you.

O – Oldest child

N – Naughty, but not today………. At least not yet!

A – Adult, from last Thursday

T – Tall, very

H – Honest, his word is his bond

A – Affectionate – although he won’t admit it, he is a very affectionate and warm brother, son and grandson.

N – Not only a son but a best friend always helping me out of trouble, and only occasionally landing me in it, especially with his mother

Jonathan, when you look in the mirror you see a tall boy in his new suit. Your mother and I see a son we have nutured and worked upon since that very first day thirteen years ago. We’ve tried very hard to help you and will continue to do so. Now a lot will rest on your own shoulders. The rabbonim explain that if the 9 most holy tzaddikim gathered to daven they would be unable to form a minyan without you – you would make all the difference. That is something really special isn’t it? This is the beginning of your life as a fully fledged member of the Jewish community.

Jonathan, we are all so very proud of you and you know how much we all love you. We are confident that the maturity that you have recently shown, will continue now you are a man.

We hope that you all enjoy the rest of the simcha. If you could all please wash your hands after which Rabbi Angyalfi will make hamotzi. After that please enjoy lunch – you will all be called to the buffet table in turn.

This is going to be the longest speech today, because being the middle child I know that this is the only chance I am going to get before my barmitzvah in 3 years time, of knowing that Jonathan will actually listen to me and Rachel won’t interrupt and try to boss me around! Infact I have done the whole thing without any interference from either of them!!

I was given strict instructions that I had to say something nice about Jonathan. The next bit will shock you – this was easy. As my big brother he always tries to set a good example and be kind and thoughtful – he always lets me watch anything I want on TV…………… provided his programme has finished and he always apologises after screaming at me.

I am really very proud of my brother, and I think he did extremely well today, and even though Rachel tells me that she is too shy to say anything (who believes that?) I know she is proud of him too!

Will you now fill your glasses and drink a toast to our Barmitzvah Boy, my brother Jonathan.

Rabbi Angyalfi, Reverend Gilbert and friends and family. I am here to day to celebrate my barmitzvah, the day that I turn into a Jewish man. I can remember when I was 6 years old and sitting in shul and telling my father that I was not going to have a Barmitzvah. However, going to Shul on a fairly regular basis since then, has not only changed my mind but has helped me see that today is a natural progression for any Jewish boy.

To those of you who have travelled from all over the country to celebrate my Barmitzvah – it is your presence that is making this day a day to remember.  Thank you so much for all the wonderful gifts.

At this point I would like to say how lucky I am to have both sets of grandparents here with me today. These Grandparents are the best………. they spoil us rotten when we stay and also give us lots of sweet things we are not supposed to eat!!!

I would not be standing here today if it were not for my teacher, Mr Abraham Serfaty. I suppose that it would have been fairer to tell you before the first lesson that I was dyslexic!!  Without your endless patience and support I would not have had a barmitzvah to remember. Thank you.

I know that I am very fortunate and privileged. Sadly for 300,000 children in Israel a Bar/Bat mitzvah is a time they may rather forget. Coming from poor, dysfunctional, immigrant or single parent families a Bar/Bat mitzvah ceremony is a dream. Wizo’s Bar/Bat mitzvah project takes care of all the arrangements and organises everything from the ceremony through to the parties and presents. The children are made to feel extra special and know that this is their day – a day they will remember for ever.

Mr Serfaty, to say thank you, we have sponsored a child in Israel through this scheme, in your name. Please accept this engraved Kiddush Bechar to mark this donation (wait for him to come up and receive the bechar).

And as for my family, Mum thank you for putting up with me. I hope that my eloquence today has convinced you that I have progressed beyond the male adolescent grunting phase.

Dad, thank you for listening to my Haftorah and Maftir almost every night, I think it is fair to say you now know it as well as me, well nearly almost as well.

And at last to my lovely brother and sister, Thank you for putting up with the moody brother you have.

David what can I say, you are the best brother I could have wished for. You are so warm hearted and will always lend me whatever I want. But, just a little quieter before 6:30 in the morning would be nice!

Rachel……… she who can do no wrong!!! Don’t you all think she is very sweet?! Over the past two months when I go into her room to say good morning I have been pretty confidant that nothing would fly out of the bed and hit me, but as I look to this Monday I know that normal service will be resumed and a barbie missile will hit me.

Over all I plan today to be memorable occasion which friends and family can remember for a long time.

I hope you enjoy the rest of the afternoon and will you all please join Reverend Gilbert in the benching.

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