Bar/Bat Mitzvah by Harold M. Schulweis
You stand alone
while we, your parents
are seated in the congregation.
You stand on your own two feet
to lead the congregation,
to sing, to pray, to study.
They and we listen to you carefully,
They and we hear your words, your commentary.
My son, my daughter, your voice is heard,
Your wisdom addresses all of us.
You wear your own tallith
A prayer shawl with interwoven knots,
seven, eight, eleven, thirteen
making up the expression "Adonai echad".
Those knots bind you to us, to your people,
to humanity, to God, to us.
Four fringes on the four corners
of your prayer shawl.
Gather them together, hold them in one hand
Unite yourself so that you may unite others,
unite God Himself.
The four fringes belong together
truth and justice, mercy and law.
We are seated and you stand alone
you speak and recite a blessing
and we respond "Baruch hu u'varuch shmo"--
blessed is God in God's name.
You my child recite the blessing
and we your parents respond with a proud "amen".
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