Joshua Miller's Bar Mitzvah on December 1

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Shalom! My name is Joshua Miller and I am in the 7th grade at the Brandeis School of San Francisco. I am so excited for my Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat. At school, my favorite subjects are art and English. I also sing with The Trebles, the Brandeis chorus. Outside of school I enjoy drawing, painting, reading and chocolate.

My family has been part of the community at Beth Sholom for over 15 years. My brothers are Aaron and Ilan Miller.

My parsha is Vayeshev, which is about Joseph and his brothers. Joseph is his father’s favorite son which made him privileged but also made his brothers angry.  As a result, his brothers became jealous and threw him into a pit. He is then sold as a slave and taken to Egypt. Joseph ends up in an Egyptian jail but through his ability to interpret dreams he ultimately becomes Pharaoh’s advisor. I believe that once Joseph was in jail he learned what it was like to not be privileged, and then was able to gain empathy for others.  While Joseph was initially unaware of how his brothers felt about him, once he hit rock bottom he understood his brothers feelings and became more understanding himself. From reading about Joseph, I have learned that we should always try to have more compassion and respect for others even if we have privileges that others do not. A couple of weeks ago, I volunteered to serve breakfast at Glide. I learned that sometimes you can’t tell if someone is privileged just by looking at them. I also became more aware of how much privilege I have compared to others. I was surprised by how many people in our community need meals on a regular basis.

I want to thank Rabbi Ain for helping me understand my Torah portion and suggesting I do something out of my comfort zone to better understand the idea of privilege. Thank you to my tutor, Marilyn Heiss for teaching me how to chant Torah and for being so patient with me. I also want to thank her for being an inspiring role model as a volunteer at Glide. I want to thank my parents for their support. Thank you to Aaron and Ilan for making me laugh. I am so grateful to my family and friends, who have traveled from near and far to be with me as I become Bar Mitzvah. I look forward to celebrating this special day with the entire congregation.