I have always felt blessed beyond words. I was born into an amazing family full of love and support. I never felt alone or lost in terms of my daily existence.

I had parents who were always consistent. They never had a do as I say but not what I do attitude. They loved and they lived with integrity and honesty and would never do anything that could be misconstrued as not being the right thing.

My parents were proudly Jewish and they never hid it. They weren’t Orthodox and my Dad never wore a yarmulke every day, but I rarely saw him out and about without his head being covered. My Mom kept a Kosher home and sent us to Hebrew school when we were kids. Our home wasn’t glatt kosher, meaning on occasion food items came in without a Hechsher (or Kosher certification), but there were never any items with pork or gelatin or meat products brought into the house.

As I grew up I appreciated living in a Jewish home with a sense of tradition and respect for where we had come from and what we had to do in order to maintain our Jewish identity. My Dad made a concerted effort to go to Synagogue every Saturday morning and I proudly went with him.

There were boys in my class who went to Junior Congregation every Saturday, but as soon as they had their Bar Mitzvahs they stopped. Some of them renounced their Jewish identity in later life, which was their choice, but I could never understand it.

I had the most sensational coming of age party in the world. My Bar Mitzvah was magnificent. The date was March 17th, 1973. I was given the Shabbos Zachor Haftorah, which is read during the Torah service. It was about Remembering what our enemies tried to do to us for practicing Judaism. It has stayed with me my entire life.

After a kiddish in the Synagogue, we walked to the Genosha Hotel in downtown Oshawa, where we entered the Picadilly Room and had a gorgeous Kosher lunch.

On Sunday night, March 18th, there was a huge celebration, a wonderful party featuring the Murry Alter Band in the Ballroom at the Adath Israel Synagogue. It snowed like crazy but every invited guest made it. The food was spectacular the party beyond words. I loved every second of it.

They say a Bar Mitzvah should be one of the highlights of a Jewish boy’s life and my Bar Mitzvah was everything I could have ever wanted. It was a great and important part of my existence. I look back at it with a sense of happiness and sentimentality.

I was raised with a Brother and Sister who were always supportive and strong. Who provided me with valuable advice and who were always there for me. I had the Best Grandparents I could have ever dreamed of having. I loved my Parents with every ounce of strength in my body. They all taught me the important lessons I would follow in life. They made me who I am today.

As I look back on My Bar Mitzvah (it will be the 48th anniversary of it tomorrow) I am so thankful for the way my life has gone. Somehow my parents knew that a Bar Mitzvah was never to be treated as just another day and that the impact of a Bar Mitzvah on a Jewish boy was extremely important. I am grateful to them and like Shabbos Zachor, I will always remember.

Alan Schwarz loves life. He is the founder of JAMS Productions, a television production company based in Toronto . His passion is writing.

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