The family huddles close together.
The mountain beams, now devoid of snow.
The tasseled fringes of prayer shawls flutter.
The photographer calls encouragement --
turn toward him, that's right; adjust
the lapel, good, now smile, look at me
-- and all I can imagine is our own son
awkward and gangly at thirteen, draped
in a loose and flowing brand-new tallit
the opposite of the swaddling blankets
we pulled tight around his flailing limbs
just now before I blinked my teary eyes.
I wrote this poem on a Shabbat afternoon after presiding over the bar mitzvah of a young man in my congregation. I've been part of many b'nei mitzvah ceremonies before, but this was the first bar mitzvah I've done since our son was born, and the realization that someday it'll be our kid up there was poignant for me.