Taking a Mitzvah to a new level

By: Mischa Trevor-Deutsch
August 11, 2010

Like most Jewish kids, the thought of doing my Bar mitzvah was terrifying. For two whole years, there was a constant voice in the back of my mind saying that I was going to mess up. The only thing keeping that voice quiet was support. And most of it came from my Bar mitzvah class at the Benlolo School. My teacher was the well known and respected Cantor Daniel Benlolo. Week in and week out I always had something to improve on. And there he was every week helping me with my mistakes and making sure they don't happen again. But he was not my only teacher. I also had the teachings of his daughter, Shira Benlolo. Whenever the Cantor was focusing on another student, Shira would help me instead. But helping me study was not all that the Cantor did. He told me that for my Bar mitzvah, I had to take part in a Mitzvah project, a good deed.

But what he had in mind was much more than just a good deed; it was several of them for me and my classmates. He told my Bar/Bat mitzvah group that we would be participating in the musical production entitled Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat put on by Tamir. He said that we would make up the children chorus to the musical and have community actors along with Tamir participants play the roles in the play. Then he told us that there would be another chorus, comprised of members from the Tamir organization. When he told us that the Tamir participants were individuals with developmental disabilities, I got a little nervous because I always felt a little uncomfortable around them, so I thought. Then the year long rehearsals started and I realized why this was such a big deal. We weren't just helping them; we were letting them be part of something huge.....no they were letting us be part of something huge. When they would sing the songs, their faces would light up and they wouldn't hold back at all. This play really made all of us shine, and knowing that were helping them do that made it all the better. In the end we put on and incredible show. The cast did amazingly well and the orchestra was phenomenal. After a year of practice and rehearsing I knew that we had done a great job, and I knew that I had done my mitzvah well.

Thank you Cantor Benlolo for this wonderful experience.

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