Dovey Greenglass loved to play soccer with his friends. The trouble was he spent every afternoon after school studying with Rabbi Lernsen for his Bar Mitzvah. He was twelve years old and his Bar Mitzvah was exactly six weeks away. It didn’t give him a lot of free time. He did however still get together with his friends Herschell Swartz, and Mordechai Gordon on Sundays. They would go to Central Park and play on the North Meadow field off of 84th Street.
The boys would arrive at seven am and be gone by seven-thirty. They loved kicking the ball around and made sure they disappeared before other players showed up. It was a great way to start the day. By avoiding other players they also knew they were saving themselves from any possible trouble.
There had been many stories of Orthodox Jewish kids being beaten up for no reason by haters. Mr. Greenglass had said that Dovey could only go to the park with his friends if he kept his cellphone on and reported in every half hour. He needed to know where he was and where he was going. He had instructed Dovey about different dangerous scenarios and how to respond to them. Mr. Greenglass besides being a very successful lawyer was also a member of Shomrim which was a neighbourhood watch. They were Orthodox Jewish men trained to handle difficult situations.
The Sunday morning Dovey, Herschell and Mordechai went to the park, they were delighted that nobody was around. Mordechai took his place in goal and the boys started passing the ball around. Dovey was firing shots and Mordechai was making great saves when they heard someone screaming. It was eerie. They stopped, looked around, and saw nobody but they could tell the yelling was coming from deep inside the trees. Dovey called his Dad and told him about the screams. ‘’Dovey, you’re not to get involved, you Herschell and Mordechai leave now and I’ll call the Police. You don’t have to stay around, it could be a gang or psychos. Promise me you’ll leave now!’’ Dovey said he would, and hung up. When the boys heard ‘’Help me, Help me, they started to run, and then all of a sudden Dovey stopped.
‘’Guys, Rabbi Lernsen said the thing about a Bar Mitzvah is that it is much more than memorizing words or giving a good speech. It’s how you act that defines you. You have to do Mitzvahs (good deeds) and be a Mensch (decent) at all times. You know…