I have been having one of the most rewarding opportunities preparing an autistic young man for his Bar Mitzvah ceremony. He is extremely musical and has a very nice voice so I decided to have a very musical service with many of his prayers in melodies that he would identify with quickly, and he did. The booklet is made, we are in rehearsal mode and it is coming up quickly. The ceremony is at The Court at Palm Aire where I conduct Shabbat and High Holiday Services.
The family has been wonderful in the fact that they work with him at home. He has a folder in Dropbox where I have put all his material and he listens. Even the parents have learned or relearned much of the material.
The honoree will be reading Torah and a portion of a Haftarah. Because he is not able to learn Hebrew, he is doing his service in Heblish (Hebrew written in English). The service will be around 40 minutes. In this time we will be reciting the morning brachot (blessings), the Barchu (invitation to worship) Sh’ma, a portion of the Amidah, Torah service, Kaddish, Adon Olam, and a few more prayers are included. My Torah scroll will be there opened to his portion.
It has been a mitzvah for me as well as for this young man and family. He is a joy to be around. It will also be a mitzvah for the residents at The Court.
He came to the Court last Shabbat. Came right on the bima (stage) and sang Ma Yafeh HaYom, right into the mike and then did the Sh’ma. The residents were all smiles. I was relieved he felt so comfortable. He will be coming this Shabbat as well to make sure he is acclimated and comfortable before his big day.
What a wonderful experience for all!