Shalom! My name is Jacob (Jake) and I am in 7th grade at the Brandeis School of San Francisco. I have been going to Shabbat services at Beth Shalom regularly for the last two years to prepare for my Bar Mitzvah. It was a great way to learn the prayers and meet the CBS regulars.
Besides my Bar Mitzvah prep and school, I like to build projects with spare electronic parts, my soldering iron, and my 3D printer. I am also a professionally trained couch potato, specializing in watching YouTube and John Oliver. When I am not on the couch, I play basketball, baseball, volleyball, run cross-country, and recently started rock climbing. I also like to play with my dog Zoe and take her on long walks.
My parshat, Ki Teitzei, is a collection of laws about how to treat people and the appropriate consequences when rules are broken. My personal favorite was how to punish the disobedient child. The Torah tells us that an extremely rebellious child shall be stoned to death in front of the city gates. Luckily, the Rabbis came to a conclusion that no child was or ever will be that rebellious, so the law was never used. This interpretation has saved my life!
In my D'var torah I will focus on the "stranger". The most common example of a stranger might be a homeless person or a new immigrant, but there are also less obvious examples of being a stranger — like moving to another state and not knowing anyone in the community. I will talk about how we can help these "strangers."
This day would not have been possible without help from so many people who support me. Thank you to Marilyn Heiss for teaching me how to chant Torah and Haftorah, and Rabbi Dan for helping me with my D'var Torah. Last but not least, I want to thank my parents and sister for always helping and supporting me.