Here is the blessing I gave to Hannah at her Bat Mitzvah this morning:
My beloved Hannah, words cannot describe the joy that entered into my heart on the 12th of June, 2009. I never knew I could love someone so deeply, and so powerfully as I love you. Being your father has been the hardest job I have ever had, and the most rewarding. It has been my honor to be your father.
You are embarking on a new journey, that of an adult in your faith, and young adulthood in the world. There will be many trying times ahead of you. But I have noticed over the years, you have developed traits that will serve you well, as you navigate your life.
You are truly one of the most compassionate human beings I have ever met. You care deeply for people, how they are treated, and that each person be given the dignity that is their right as a child of God. This world today so critically needs this in each of us; let your love and compassion shine bright and be an inspiration for us all.
You have such an innate sense of fairness and how the world ought to work that makes you sensitive to injustice large and small. You have a clear moral center, and a code you have chosen to live your life by, it will serve you well. A brave man once said that the standard we walk past is the standard we accept. Never be afraid to NOT walk on by when you see injustice and unfairness in this world; stop and demand it be changed.
Watching your mind work has given me some of the most cherished memories of my life. Many summers ago, on our long drives home from Dekoma Day Camp, you would have me teach you math years beyond your grade level, most amazingly, you truly understood what was being taught. Use your intelligence to chart the life you want, but always temper it with your deep compassion, lest you become hard-hearted.
Finally, as you are my child, part of me is within you, so as you begin this wonderous new adventure, I end my blessing with ancient words from your father’s father’s father’s land:
May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.