David B's Bar Mitzvah Speech Saturday Morning October 30, 2016
Thank you all for coming to celebrate this special time in my life… …As I reflect, pause), I have come a long way from last since my sister’s Bat Mitzvah…. I could not have done it without the support from so many different people…..LONG PAUSE
While learning and being introduced to process of becoming a Bar Mitzvah might appear overwhelming, pause I did not fear that I would have problems memorizing all that Hebrew, or trouble reading the Torah – but I did worry about taking time away from my hobbies! LONG pause But, I have come to realize that I can do anything that I set my mind out to do –, even if I benefited from the occasional parental “encouragement” to achieve my full potential. pause pause pause
I don’t think my haftarah portion is about the underdog as most people assume. Rather I think there is a more interesting interpretation – which I found from Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath.
I want to talk about how disadvantages can become advantages. In other words, could David’s small size, youth and inexperience actually have given him an ADVANTAGE over that is overlooked??
Gladwell suggests that what we might generally perceive to be a disadvantage – might be an advantage. Pause. He use several examples of people that are have been placed in a situation similar to David, who seem to be at a disadvantage –due to size, intellect, or a learning disability, are able develop or hone skills that allow them to excel in OTHER ways.
In one chapter, he specifically talks about dyslexia. Most people might consider dyslexia a disadvantage. He tells how someone with dyslexia develops listening skills and because able to hone his memory. There is a story of an attorney with dyslexia who adapted his behavior he developed a masterful memory of his law books he could listen and recall with near 100% accuracy. Because of his dyslexia he was a better lawyer. pause
To change gears, one of my most important hobbies is Scouting. I believe scouting has had a big impact on me, especially with this Bar Mitzvah. There were several times where I didn’t think I could complete this, but I have gained a lot of self-discipline from scouts, so I stuck to it and practiced, and managed to complete it.
I currently hold the rank of LIFE SCOUT and I have recently started working on my Eagle Rank. Among the requirements, Eagle Scout candidates must create a service project that allows them to provide a service and demonstrate leadership.
My project involves creating a smartphone app that will serve as a virtual tour guide for Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island. Many eagle projects that are done in the mobile area are much more of the style of building something like benches. If you’re wondering how this relates to David and Goliath, here is how. Well, as it turns out, my idea of a smart phone app wasn’t well received by all members the Eagle Review process. I was told that I was too young to consider starting an Eagle Project, and that I was not mature to create such a project. My weakness was my age. But how is my weakness my greatest strength? I am innovative ideas and able see things through the eyes of 13 year old, and not an adult. Not that adult are bad, but I just see things differently.
Many didn’t understand how someone my age be ready for such an undertaking. Most projects are started by scouts that are older—and often they’re much more concrete oriented—my project however, is completely different. Those who listened to my proposal could see my passion. I believe that my age helped my ability to see things that adults cant see.
Before I can have the programming done for my Eagle Proect started I need scripts and text, so my mitzvah project is me listening to audio and making scripts for 27 stops at the Fort.
Next, made important by a little birdy, are my thank yous. First I would like to thank all of you in the congregation for supporting me, especially those who I saw regularly at Friday night services. Next the Rabbi and all of the teachers from the religious and Sunday school, who I obviously couldn’t have had a Bar Mitzvah without. pause pause .
My entire family who help push me through this entire way, but the little birdy said I should mention some more about how great of a mother I have and all she does for me, so I want to personally thank my mother for everything she has done for me. Collectively, you each helped in your own way, and walked with me, pause as I started on my own path of Judaism.
The next time you hear about a David versus Goliath story, don't think of an underdog. Think of a confident competitor who is more than happy to be underestimated—because in doing so – he might just assume the advantage!
To conclude my speech I would like to end how I started, thank you all for coming, and Shabbat Shalom.