Chapter IV — Bar Mitzvah

As you have probably realized by now my family is Jewish, and two years after her death it was time for my ceremony of passing. I studied at the synagogue for a whole year to get myself prepared, and the day was finally coming. All I could think about was that she would be absent. At the ceremony I performed well, but once my loved ones begun to makes speeches, I just couldn’t handle it and cracked down in tears. The first speaker was Adriana Netter (the mother of my friend Ian, and best friend of my mother), she started by saying she had planned to show me, and only me, a video that would show pictures of me and my Mom together, but because of her routine she ended up not having the time to make that project. However, she said she would translate to Portuguese a version of a “The Police” song called “Every Breath You take”, and as she read it I should think of all the good times I had with my mom.

The second speaker was a Rabbi that is a friend of my dad. All I can remember from his speech was the saliva dripping out of the corners of his mouth. It was grouse and funny at the same time. I could only pay attention to that as I tried not to laugh.

Next came my brother, in his own way he tried to make people remember the memory of my mother and show them how much he loved me, and my brother is a great speaker. He made people laugh, cry, feel pain, sorrow and admiration. Obviously, as he was speaking I was crying some more.

Nevertheless, the real shoot at my chest came when my father gave his speech. He started by pointing out that after all that cardiac massage (crying from the speeches and the emotion of having his son emancipated religiously) he could barely speak, what a lie, my father can talk and talk regardless of the moment. Moreover, I loved hearing him speak when he was talking about me. At that time, you could feel his love emanating from his being, you could touch his caring as it came out and entered your soul. I think my father’s speech deserves to be written in its full extent:

- After this cardiac massage I don’t know if I can — the community laughed — here I’m not a lawyer, only your dad, and after this cardiac massage it’s hard to say anything to you. — he cleared his throat and continued — I wanted to tell you some things: Firstly, a super thank you is due, thank for every good night wish you ask of me. Every time we go to bed you tell me good night, that aggrandize me, and it fills me with pride. You give me a reference of who I am, you effectively lay a blessing on me. So when I tell “shluf guesinteren” (Yiddish expression for sleep with the angels) that comes as if from a violinist levitating in a “Schtetel” from somewhere, like in a Chagall painting. When you give it back to me, “schluf Guesinteren”, it’s a blessing to sleep. Thank you for that. — he paused.

- I don’t want to do no ethical deposition for you, it’s not the time for that. However, I do want to wish two things for you. The first one, is that you get to know all that is possible for you to know. That you search for knowledge and wisdom. Try to learn everything. I’m not talking about some encyclopedia kind of knowledge, so you memorize some notes in a book. I’m telling you to learn everything of life, for to you know humanities, artistic values, technical values, scientific values. Because that will open you up to endless possibilities. Those who know have options, and having options means being free. Freedom is a wonderful thing, having knowledge you will always have freedom. I’m also not talking about freedom of an individual in relation to the state, that unfortunately us Jews have suffered a lot. I’m talking about freedom of action, choices, freedom of thinking. I want you to always have that, you are intellectually curious so exercise that. The other thing I want to tell you my son is that you be a warrior in life. Not that kind of warrior that defends itself from any blow or isn’t afraid of anything, but never be scared to love my son. Love a lot, that’s the most beautiful side of living. I wish you can love everything, your job, friends, the women that will be in your life, love all that is possible for you to love. Life with love is really good and pleasant. I’m sure you have the capacity to love, don’t ever lose it. That you love always and don’t be scared of love at any moment, son.

- Life is similar to driving a car, you have to look backwards, look at your dad (don’t forget your dad or I’ll kill you), don’t forget your mom that always loved us very much, don’t forget your grandparents and your family, don’t forget your Judaism. Look at your side mirrors and see your society, be a part of it. Most importantly, life is forward, look forward, live forward. Life is really good, I’m sure that with a lot of knowledge and love, you’ll have a life filled with happiness my son.

The ceremony was held on a Saturday morning, there is a Jewish tradition that the boy who was just emancipated religiously has a shoot of vodka with friends and family. I of course had several because everyone wanted to do it at different times, so I walked out feeling quite happy.

On Sunday came the celebration party, with all the possible crazy Jewish traditions (like men holding a chair to the sky with you on it). When the necessary ceremonial was over, I started dancing with a girl from school. There was this rumor, that was quite true, that I was going to kiss this other girl, also from school, but I guess she figured that out and didn’t show. Nonetheless, I was a man on a mission! So I stayed almost the whole night with Marina, we danced we talked, we laughed and the night was almost over. Therefore, I made my move. I bet it was quite rough on the edges, but it did the job, even though it took awhile. After I made my move, she went to the bathroom and stayed there for what felt like an eternity. I suppose she was talking things over with her friends, but as I said it worked. When she came out of the bathroom, almost everybody had gone home but her friends, my brothers’ friend, and my father’s friends. So you can imagine that when I kissed her right in the middle of an empty dance floor, the whole party saw it and started clapping. Quite an awesome embarrassing moment. I always thought it was such a douche move on my part to ask the girl to kiss me in my own party, even though I was a perfect gentleman.