Raphael celebrated his Bar Mitzvah at Dianella Shule on 6 May 2023. He read the Shabbat Shacharit service on Saturday morning and explained that this meant reading an extended section from his siddur. For his parsha, he read six of the seven aliyot of the Parsha Emor, followed by the Haftarah.

The message of Emor includes providing details about what we should do on each festival, Raphael told me. My little research on the side added that in this parsha, Moses receives a series of laws specific to the priests as well as laws about blasphemy and murder. There were “quite a few pages” for Raphael to read, but he said he wasn’t really nervous about the reading – he woke up early on the day and was well-practised. He had read at school, too, so he was prepared enough to give him confidence.

Several different families celebrated the Bar Mitzvah over lunch on the Saturday, including friends from school. After this, the children went to B’nei Akiva and continued to enjoy themselves. Raphael was very pleased to be able to report that although his relatives in South Africa were not able to attend the Bar Mitzvah, his cousin has finally got her visa and is arriving in Perth this week – her first time travelling outside her home country. We hope she has an amazing time and loves Perth.

For Raphael, being Bar Mitzvah means that he now has to take responsibility for his own actions. Beforehand, he was a child so if he did something wrong it didn’t matter as much – now it’s more important to do the right thing. The best thing about Carmel School for Raphael is that it offers a lot of Jewish education – he explained that he really enjoys learning about his history and religion.

Mazal tov Raphael!