PORTLAND, OR — Congregants at Temple Or Shalom were shocked this morning when bar mitzvah boy Daniel Haber’s speech was both coherent and interesting.
Earlier that morning, the 13-year-old Daniel stumbled through his maftir and haftorah readings, which were barely audible to the friends and family who had traveled from around the country to be there on his special day. His Bloomingdale’s Boys’ department blue-striped tie seemed too tight for him, and he was clearly sweating under his Macy’s Boys’ department gray suit jacket. Reportedly, his baseball-printed kippah had been sliding off his head all morning.
When he stepped up to the podium and took a big swig of water before opening his folder, guests were not expecting the eloquent stream of poetry, wisdom, and understanding that was about to flow from his lips.
As he illustrated the parallels between baseball players, steroids, and Moses destroying the tablets, congregants and family notedly gasped when they realized he was actually making good points. When he wove connections between racial unrest, his late grandfather’s experiences in the Holocaust, slavery in Egypt, and the Avengers, some family friends began to tear up.
“I couldn’t hear a word he said all morning leading up to the speech,” said Al Feldblum, 87 year old congregant who frequently sits in the back row. “But he spoke so clearly when he read that poem in Hebrew and related it to that Spanish piece about American colonialism. I’ve never felt so inspired in synagogue. And then when he tied it back into baseball and Rick and Morty… wow. Just wow.”
“My favorite was the end,” said his baseball coach, Marc Silverman. “The way he thanked his parents, siblings, friends, and teachers, called for a better movement to combat climate change, and then quoted Rabbi Akiva and A-Rod? The rabbi could learn a thing or two.”
When asked after the service how he felt about the reception of his speech, Daniel blushed and said, “I’m glad they liked it, ‘cause my dad said if I did good, he would take me to GameStop tomorrow.”