Our Community Celebrates

Anthony Kozar

I want to thank everyone for coming to my Bar Mitzvah. Especially my family who came from  out of state. I know it was hard to travel with all of the COVID protocols and I really appreciate the effort. This day is really important to me because I’ve been working really hard to learn the prayers and Torah readings. Also I wanted to learn more about Judaism because I see how important it is to my Bubbie and the traditions have always been a big part of my life and I wanted to understand them more.

My Torah portion is called Toldot. In summary, Issac and Rebecca endure twenty childless years, until their prayers are answered and Rebecca conceives. She experiences a difficult pregnancy as the “children struggle inside her”; God tells her that “there are two nations in your womb,” and that the younger will prevail over the elder. Esau emerges first; Jacob is born clutching Esau’s heel. Esau grows up to be “a cunning hunter, a man of the field”; Jacob is “a wholesome man,” a dweller in the tents of learning. Isaac favors Esau; Rebecca loves Jacob. Returning exhausted and hungry from the hunt one day, Esau sells his birthright (his rights as the firstborn) to Jacob for a pot of red lentil stew.

In Gerar, in the land of the Philistines, Isaac presents Rebecca as his sister, out of fear that he will be killed by someone coveting her beauty. He farms the land, reopens the wells dug by his father Abraham, and digs a series of his own wells: over the first two there is strife with the Philistines, but the waters of the third well are enjoyed in tranquility.

Esau marries two Hittite women. Isaac grows old and blind, and expresses his desire to bless Esau before he dies. While Esau goes off to hunt for his father’s favorite food, Rebecca dresses Jacob in Esau’s clothes, covers his arms and neck with goatskins to simulate the feel of his hairier brother, prepares a similar dish, and sends Jacob to his father. Jacob receives his father’s blessings for “the dew of the heaven and the fat of the land” and mastery over his brother. When Esau returns and the deception is revealed, all Isaac can do for his weeping son is to predict that he will live by his sword, and that when Jacob falters, the younger brother will forfeit his supremacy over the elder.

Jacob leaves home for Charan to flee Esau’s wrath and to find a wife in the family of his mother’s brother, Laban. Esau marries a third wife—Machalath, the daughter of Ishmael.


There were many themes in my Torah portion like struggle, trust, favoritism and sibling rivalry.  The theme I chose to write about was sibling rivalry because I can relate to it since I am a sibling. Duh? Sibling rivalry appears in my Torah portion between brothers Esau and Jacob when Jacob tricks his father into thinking he is Esau to gain his fathers blessings and gain power over his brother. I can relate to this in my life when me and my sister have arguments about pretty much everything. For example, we fight about who gets to sit in the front of the car. Also, we compete in sports and grades and always try to be better than one another. Fortunately not to the extreme of wanting power over one another.

Part of becoming a Bar Mitzvah is learning to work hard and do for others. I learned this by doing a mitzvah project. For my project I chose to help other kids. I did this through an organization called AHA (Athletes Helping Athletes). The organization interested me because I liked the idea of helping others play the sports they love. AHA allows kids with special needs to play all kinds of sports. I was able to help with practices for rugby and found the kids I was playing with to be kind and really appreciate the help I was giving. From this I learned that I enjoy helping others.  I also set up a fundraiser for AHA asking for small donations with a goal of $500 and was able to raise close to $800 for the organization.

I want to thank Cantor Scott for helping me learn more about Judaism and making the learning experience fun. Next I would like to thank my Bubbie and Pop for always encouraging me to learn more about Judaism by making the traditions such a big part of my life. Also I would like to thank my sister Sam for showing me how important a Bar Mitzvah is.  Lastly, I would like to thank my mom for helping me whenever I struggled to learn a prayer and supporting me through this whole thing. All of these people have played an important role in helping me to become a Bar Mitzvah.


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