Essential Wisdom of Yishama Frydman Orlow: Adina’s Speech for Yishama’s Bar Mitzvah

Adina’s speech to Yishama on becoming a Bar Mitzvah:

Yishama, these are some words that capture your essence sprinkled in with sayings from Pirke Avot, because I know how much you love a good inspirational quote.

Perseverance and Grit
I need only say one word, basketball, and I think everyone in this room knows what I mean. What they don’t know is that in addition to the hours you spend on the court, you wake up most days at 6:30am to do your workout routine, spend your lunch and recess hours doing drills, and even your down time is watching players you admire and studying their best moves on you tube. I love that after games you seek out the referees to ask if there is anything you can improve, and they look as stunned as you do right now. Whether you are headed to the NBA or to become a renowned physicist, this virtue of perseverance will take you all the way! , לְפוּם צַעֲרָא אַגְרָא: Ben He He said: According to the labor is the reward.

Shama, you are someone who deeply cares and emotes in ways that people many years your senior cannot match. As you grow up to be a young man, embrace this superpower and do not shy away from expressing your feelings. Remember that real men cry. It is this empathy and ability to be vulnerable that will make your relationships real and deep.

Friday nights in our house, aside from the usual bewitching that takes place at Shabbat dinner because everyone is exhausted from the week, Mami and Aba wanting it to be the perfect family dinner, and the four of you being as goofy as possible. These are some of my favorite family memories. Whether it is you and your brother doing some impression of a famous singer, actor, or made up character, or you simply chasing Libi under the table screaming, catch me if you can! Or doing your belly and but-cheeks high five, you keep me laughing. Never lose that ability to keep things light – a trait you no doubt learned from your father, not me.

Every night one of us puts you to bed, because at an early age you realized that these few minutes were time for you to have our undivided attention. And every night you ask me “so, how was your day mom” followed by “what did you do today” I can never get away with fine or “had a few meetings” because I know that your follow up question will be “but what did you DO today” because you are one of these rare creatures who understands and values the preciousness of life and the great responsibility we have to seize every moment. You make me a better person.

But it isn’t only that, Shama, there have been numerous occasions where you literally took my breath away with the deep reflections you shared. Like the time I was 9 months pregnant and driving your 3-4 year old self to school and and you asked me, “Do mommy’s ever die when they have babies?” or on our weekly walks to shul, when you share “Deep thoughts by Shama Orlow” And say things like, “You know, he is a really nice kid. He has matured a lot over the years.” Or “you mean we are paying double for our education? Once through our taxes and another through our tuition”  You have always been our wise old man in a little boys body (with a scrabble dictionary vocabulary to boot).

Shama, you always stand up for what you believe in. Whether in school, on the court or at home your character takes the front seat. It is not lost on us that you wear your kippah on the court with unbridled pride, no matter who is playing . וּבְמָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין אֲנָשִׁים, הִשְׁתַּדֵּל לִהְיוֹת אִישׁ In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.
You make us so incredibly proud – not only today but every day in all the small moments when your true character shines through. Anyone who knows you knows that you are destined for greatness but more importantly that you will inspire others to greatness.

As we spend many a nightly conversation pondering the state of our country, world and humankind I am lifted up thinking that you and your brother and sisters will be agents of change in fixing all that is broken and healing all who are suffering.

As you know, Mami and Aba have devoted themselves to serving the Jewish community professionally and to being involved in our local community through the shul and the Hevra Kadisha. So, when we are home late from a meeting, or travelling for days at a time and missing tucking you in at night, know that we are doing our small part in fixing this broken world so that we leave it a little better than we found it.

Whether you choose to work in the for profit sector and make a lot of money to become a baal tzedakah or your choose work in the nonprofit sector giving back through your daily work, remember that the day is short and the work great. הַיּוֹם קָצָר וְהַמְּלָאכָה מְרֻבָּה and that It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you at liberty to neglect it; לֹא עָלֶיךָ הַמְּלָאכָה לִגְמֹר, וְלֹא אַתָּה בֶן חוֹרִין לִבָּטֵל מִמֶּנָּה: And one final saying as I leave you with some parting wisdom,  הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, אִם אֵין אֲנִי לִי, מִי לִי. וּכְשֶׁאֲנִי לְעַצְמִי, מָה אֲנִי. וְאִם לֹא עַכְשָׁיו, אֵימָתָי: He [also] used to say: If I am not for myself, who is for me? But if I am for my own self [only], what am I? And if not now, when?
Shama, be intentional every minute about the person you want to be, surround yourself with people to care for and that care for you, and continue to live each day to the fullest, seizing every moment as if it were the last.

Yadid, Emunah, and Libi

We love you so much and too much and we hope that looking around you see all of the people that are here who love you and together with Mami and Aba have helped us raise 4 metsches. Remember always that no matter what, you have one another and you have to be there for each other. You are each a unique creation that was put on this earth for a reason and one of those is to take care of each other and of your parents in their old age (but not for many years to come – you hear that honey!)


Thank you for being my bar plugta, my soul mate, for ever challenging me to be the best version of myself and being my co-pilot on this life journey. Together we strive to be the best parents we can be – each in our own unique ways. As you often say to me, “we have some pretty awesome kids” as if to say, “we didn’t mess them up too badly”. Don’t worry there is still time.
“Honey, I love you so much”

Oma, Abuelo and Abuela

Thank you for schepping naches with us and for giving us all of the tools we needed to get to this moment. I know that PJ is here with us to smiling with his cockeye grin from ear to ear as are your great grandparents who could not physically be here today.

To our family and friends
We feel so blessed to be a part of this community. We could not have dreamed of a better place to be raising our children together with you. From the first time we came 11 years ago to “Check out the community” and moved in with Rabbi Chaim and Suzie and their seven kids for a week, we knew this was the place for us. Today, Yishama and his squad wander the streets of White Plains and dominate the Highlands court and couldn’t be happier. To so many loving friends who came today representing different parts of our lives we love you all and look forward to continuing to share many simchas together in the coming years.

Adina, I am so honored to call you my Bar Plugta, accountability buddy, and the love of my life. Much love.

Image may contain: Avi Orlow and Adina Frydman, people smiling, people standing and outdoor


2 Responses to “Essential Wisdom of Yishama Frydman Orlow: Adina’s Speech for Yishama’s Bar Mitzvah”

  1. 1 All in One Place: All of Our Speeches on the Occasion of Yishama Becoming a Bar Mitzvah | Said to Myself Trackback on June 24, 2019 at 3:23 pm
  2. 2 grissel Trackback on February 24, 2021 at 9:44 pm

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