Wednesday, May 4, 2011

TBE Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary: Noah Durica on Kedoshim

Many of you know how much I love scouting… it’s the thing I love the most (aside from video games).

It started when I was in 2nd grade,… when I built a car and raced it in the Pinewood Derby. And I won! Scouting allows me to spend a lot of time with friends, but instead of hanging out at the mall, we hang out at meetings and learn important skills like cooking, first aid, swimming -- and how to shoot a rifle. Scouting also enables me to spend lots of time outdoors protecting animals, not just learning how to protect myself from them. I love animals (my name is Noah, after all!).

Scouting isn’t just about being outside – it’s about getting along with others – with people, with animals and with the environment. It’s also about leadership.
My torah portion of Kedoshim is about leadership too, because leadership begins with caring for others.

Here are the Scout Laws, the basic guidelines of scouting that were written over a hundred years ago. We have to memorize it, along with the Scout Oath, and listing these laws almost sound like my Torah reading from Kedoshim:


My portion teaches us to rise before an old person, to be kind to strangers, to be fair when judging another, to be kind to workers and pay them on time, to not hold a grudge against another person, to not be angry and love our neighbor as ourself.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” For a scout that means, leaving the place you are encamped clean for the next person – or even cleaner than you found it.

It also means helping your neighbor to help himself, even if your neighbor lives thousands of miles away. That’s what I am doing with my mitzvah project.
I decided to do the Heifer project because it allows me to love my neighbor around the world in a way that also allows me to help animals, which I also love. I haven’t decided what I’ll be giving yet. I have enough money so far to buy a goat. But as they say on their website, with this project, anyone can be like Noah.
Two cows could bring milk to a Russian village. Two sheep will help families in Arizona produce wool. Two oxen can pull plows and carts in Uganda.

The more I collect through the sale of the blue bracelets, the more I’ll be able to help others all over the world.

You might think that Boy Scouts are so busy camping and hiking that there is no time to work in the reverent part. Well, you are wrong. I have fond memories of attending Friday night Shabbat services at Camp Reed and Havdallah under the stars at our 100 year of Scouting Camporee. The Westchester Putman Counsel of Boy Scouts has become the guardian of a very sacred miniature Torah Scroll and Ark. This Torah and Ark has been carried into the battle fields of WW1, WW2, and Korea. I am proud and honored to have been able to share the words within this scroll with JEWISH soldiers who have given service to our wonderful nation.

Scouting has taught me to be proud of my heritage as an American and a Jew.
Today, after becoming Bar Mitzvah, I have come to fully appreciate the true meaning of the Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared.”

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