On Wednesday our group traveled to the mystical city of Tzfat. Here we visited a historic synagogue, a beatiful candle shop (featuring everything from ordinary hannakuh candles to giant david and goliath candles). We then walked to numerous shops viewing wonderful pieces of Jewish artwork. Finishing our day with "Awesome Avraham." He was eccentric to say the least. He gave off strong hippie vibes that brought laughter to the group. He had a passionate way of discussing the meaning of the Kaballah and the significance of our Hebrew names. He shared with us how important our Hebrew names are. These names date back hundreds of years and provide significance to who we are as human beings. Ending our day in Tzfat we furthered our discussion of the meaning of who we are on the bus. Here our group leaders leaders introduced that on the very last day we have the opportunity to take part in a symbolic bar/bat mitzvah. For the few of us who have not had a bar/bat mitzvah or those of us who want to renew their celebration we have the chance to take part in this symbolic celebration here in our homeland. I am one of the very few group members who has never had a bar mitzvah and when I heard about this opportunity it really hit home to me. This would be a once in a lifetime experience that I have chosen to take part in.
First things first I needed to find out what my Hebrew name is and I have no clue. So I called my parents to find out any helpful information on the significance of my Hebrew name. My mother mentioned the name Pinhas, but was not 100% sure. Later that day I called a family friend who is an Orthodox Jew; he studies the Torah and I felt that he would know best. Not mentioning what my mother said, he tells me that Peter in Hebrew is similar to the name Pinhas. I paused for a second in shock. I could not believe that he mentioned the same name. In addition, since my father does not have a Hebrew name he mentioned Pinhas is follwed by Abraham. So I believe I found my name!...
Today's events in Israel have touched me personally. Finding the meaning of my Hebrew name is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. And if it wasn't for this trip I probably would never have considered partaking in the celebration of my bar mitzvah. I am looking forward to wrapping up my experience here with such a symbolic celebration of my Jewish heritage.
Peter "Pinhas Abraham" Khrizman, Silver Spring, MD
Check out photos from this GREAT day!