Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Gift of a Goat: A Special Needs Boy Celebrates His Bar Mitzvah

I attended the Bar Mitzvah of a special needs boy, and this Bar Mitzvah was a moving testament to the boy, his family and the Jewish community to which his family belongs. The rabbinical student who worked with the Bar Mitzvah boy did an amazing job of starting the service in a way that directly related to the boy and the other special needs children at the Bar Mitzvah.

A young friend of the Bar Mitzvah boy read his speech, in which we learned that he had used his money to buy a goat to help a family in Africa. Later on during the service the Bar Mitzvah boy's father said the boy would have liked to keep the goat in his own backyard. Yet it was destined to make a difference in someone else's life.

I wondered through what project or organization that the goat had been provided to a family in Africa. The Bar Mitzvah boy's mother told me the organization was Heifer International.
In FY2007, Heifer had 867 active projects in 53 countries/provinces and 28 U.S. states. Heifer projects around the world help families achieve self-reliance through the gift of livestock and training. Gifts are passed from recipient to recipient until entire communities are transformed.
Remembering that the overall sentiment of this special Bar Mitzvah was that we can all work towards going beyond our apparent abilities, I thought how appropriate this particular Bar Mitzvah tzedakah (charity) gift was -- the gift of the goat would go beyond being a simple gift to transform the life of a family and perhaps the entire village. Just as this Bar Mitzvah had gone beyond a traditional coming-of-age ritual to transform all of us privileged to witness this day.


Elizabeth said...

I, too, was at this very special Bar Mitzvah -- Michelle told me about your blog! Thanks for your words...

Phyllis Zimbler Miller said...

Elizabeth --

Thanks so much for leaving this comment. I just checked out your blogger bio -- and I too love Virginia Woolf's TO THE LIGHTHOUSE.