“Every night I eat a delicious dinner and go to bed with a full stomach”. This is what my online bar mitzvah student said recently as part of his speech at his bar mitzvah ceremony when I officiated. He realized that he never has to worry where his next meal is coming from but so many people are food insecure. It really bothered him that there are people living on the streets who are hungry and go to bed with aching bellies and are forced to eat out of trash cans. So what did my bar mitzvah student do? He took action.
He learned with me that a bar mitzvah is not just about learning to sing your Torah portion. It’s about affecting change and looking for opportunities to share kindness and goodness with the world. So my online bar mitzvah student, along with his sister and parents spent the weekend making hundreds of sandwiches. Then they packed the food and themselves in a rented van and drove downtown at night.
They looked for people who were living on the street. Not only did they hand out the sandwiches, they spent time having real conversations with each person to learn their story – who they are, where they came from, what family they have and why they are homeless and living on the street. In many conversations, my student and his family were able to give advice and help point the person in the right direction to get help. But for at least one night, many people went to sleep with a full stomach