The beauty of Judaism is that Elijah became bar mitzvah when he turned 13, whether he chose to mark the occasion with an aliyah or a celebration or not, just as he will be old enough to vote, drink or drive when he reaches those chronological milestones whether or not he exercises those rights. What is sad is that no one seems to have engaged with Elijah in a conversation about what it means to “feel Jewish,” why “feeling Jewish” matters, or why “being Jewish” and “feeling Jewish” can be totally separate but not mutually exclusive things. It’s not too late to have that dialogue; in fact, it is a dialogue that continues throughout one’s life. I hope that Elijah and his dad can start it soon. It is much more meaningful than a party.
Syracuse, New York