Being Jewish, turning 13 was a big turning point. I became a 'Bar Mitzvah,' directly translating to "son of good deeds."
What the meaning actually is more relates to growing. Right around 13, a boy starts becoming a man, so often the Bar Mitzvah in Jewish culture is used to symbolize the becoming of a man.
So, what do you do to become a Bar Mitzvah?
You read from the Torah, the Holy Scripture, for the first time. You throw a huge party. Then you get lots of gifts.
For my Bar Mitzvah, I decided to focus more on the actually become a Bar Mitzvah, not so much the party.
My Torah portion was difficult, and took six months of hard work to learn. I also had to learn the parts of the service, and the Haftorah portion—the prophet's book.
Yet, I had fun doing all of that.
On January 5th, 2008, I spent 2 hours in service, and after all of my preparations, read my parts. Then, we had pizza at the Harmon, and I got to open the gifts.
Through the seeming endless stream of gifts, one popped out that I will never, ever, forget. I unwrapped what felt like a boring old shirt.
I began unwrapping, and noticed the signature hat of the Yankee's sign. I figured it was a Yankees shirt.
I continued unwrapping, and I saw Hebrew writing on it. At first, I couldn't figure out why Hebrew would be on a Yankees shirt.
My mom then asked me "What does it say?"
I sounded it out:
"Ya-ankayim. It's Yankees in Hebrew!"
I picked up the card that went with it, and found out it was from my Yankees fan Aunt who was unable to attend the party due to the loss of her daughter. Then, hours and a trip to the bank later, I had to start writing thank you cards, probably the worst part of my Bar Mitzvah.
I started with my well deserving Aunt.
Since that time, the shirt has become an every day thing at the H.'s household. I wear it as often as I can.
I brought it to New York, and Jews there could identify with it. I wore it to Washington, D.C.'s Holocaust Museum.
Through thick and thin, it has been there as my favorite shirt.
Luckily, it's still with us, although the ends of the sleeves are getting worn, the white is no longer white, and the colors have faded, yet, it still is here.
As a matter of fact, I'll be wearing it tomorrow at school! So, with no real way to end this, I'll just say, thanks.
This article is dedicated to my aunt and her late daughter.