In May 2010, Jacob became a Bar Mitzvah! The Village Shul opened up to a spiritual ceremony of love, infinite opportunities and true miracles. Rabbi Hoch spoke about Jacob and Jacob’s life in ways that we couldn’t even imagine. As the choir sang, Jacob sang along. He knew that this wasn’t any ordinary day.
Back in the Fall we shared with Rabbi Hoch that we would like to do something really private in shul with just our immediate family and have a larger party the following day. Rabbi Hoch smiled and told us that we had it all wrong. He felt that not only would we would be short-changing our guests but the rest of the Jewish community as well. He said that the whole community should celebrate this moment as this is something that everyone should witness. That leads us to the question that many people have asked. Why a Bar Mitzvah for Jacob? Our answer? Why not! Rabbi Hoch helped us to explore the meaning of Bar Mitzvah.
About this, Rabbi Hoch was direct and to the point! His message to us was;
It’s not about reading from the Torah; It’s not about putting on Talit; It’s all about a boy becoming a man; It’s all about a boy taking responsibility for his own actions and his contribution to his community.
As a Bar Mitzvah boy, Jacob has embraced life and his Jewish community. He is a role model to his sister Beverly and his brother Ben. He has taught them patience, compassion, resilience and acceptance. They don’t know anything different. They love Jacob for who he is and they are completely fluent in his language. They are so proud of their brother and we are so proud of who they have become.
Without fail every time we stroll Jacob in our neighbourhood, we hear a small child’s voice call out “Hey, there’s Jacob’s Ladder.” He has also taught the community about acceptance, tolerance and the brilliant power of a smile.
Every morning for the past year Jacob has had difficulty catching his breath. Each morning he struggles. We are there for him every step of the way-but it is difficult for him and for us. Once he has cleared the way for normal breathing, Jacob is ready to start his day and his face is taken over by a triumphant smile! I did it!! I’m ready!! This is Jake’s way of saying Thank you for the day ahead. I will embrace it and enjoy it with everything I have! And so will we! We were so proud to call Jacob our Bar Mitzvah boy as he truly deserved this title. He lives each day with joy, gratitude, love and appreciation.
We celebrated with friends and family, Jacob’s way, through song and emotions, yet grabbing hold of everything that is good. We were serenaded by Jacob’s favourite stars, his Aunt Jenn, Stacy and Blake Papsin. Jacob’s sister secretly wrote a song on her guitar and sang it to all of us for the first time. Her lyrics spoke volumes as she sang,” smiling in your chair without a worry or a care. You make me realize, that my problems are so small in size, oh Jake, where would we be without you.”
Jacob’s Uncle Rob created a very special gift. Through his creative genius, he was able to transform all of us, to see life through Jacob’s eyes. Through 13 years of documented video footage, Rob created a masterpiece. Narrated by Jacob’s siblings and cousins, Rob produced Jacob’s Speech. What would Jacob say if he were able to speak? All we can say is we were speechless.
Even the centre pieces were created to capture Jacob’s essence. When you looked closely at them, they uncovered all of the little miracles of life. They were a gift from special friends. At each place setting was a tea light and a match box which read, “Thank you for lighting up my world, Love Jacob.” The entire room contributed to a candle lighting ceremony and each person in the room lit their very own candle as they thought about their own personal relationship with Jacob. Jacob’s world sat in that room, his teachers, his caregivers, his family and his friends. There was one extra candle that was lit on that very special day, and that was yours. Thank you for being such a light in our world. Without you, your support and your friendship this special day would not have occurred.