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A Wordless Bar Mitzvah That Was Far From Silent

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This article was originally published on Jewish Women, Amplified, the blog of the Jewish Women’s Archive, and was written as part of the Rising Voices Fellowship.

Over the years, I’ve been to countless bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies. While each one has been unique to the specific teen being honored, all of the services have catered to the typical Jewish kid: one who can read English and some Hebrew, memorize prayers, and stand at the bimah and speak about his or her Jewish education and life experiences. In February, I had the honor of being part of a bar mitzvah that was unlike any of the others I had previously attended. My family friend Max became a bar mitzvah without speaking a single word.