I met with Yonatan this week to listen to his account of his recent Bar Mitzvah. He was very pleased to be able to welcome to Perth both sets of his grandparents who flew in from Glasgow and Newcastle in the UK, as well as his aunty from London.

Yonatan’s Bar Mitzvah proceedings started on the Thursday before, when he received his first call up to read from the Torah at PHC and realised that it was real – he really was becoming Bar Mitzvah. Having said this, he told me that he had been preparing for the occasion for the past year, which was impressive! Friday involved more preparation and culminated in leading the Kabbalat Shabbat service in Shule on Friday night, before enjoying a Friday night dinner with much singing and dancing with friends and relatives.

Yonatan was given the menu choice of dinner that night (apparently his dad is a really good cook) and when faced with choosing between Indian, Chinese and Israeli themed dinners, he chose Chinese. The noodles and chicken and sweetcorn soup went down well.

On Shabbat morning, he was called to read from the Torah – Parsha Tetzave. Yonatan told me the story of the kohanim (priests) and their clothes, explaining that the message of the story is about appearance – merely wearing fancy clothes doesn’t matter, it’s what is inside you – what sort of a person you are that is important.

Yonatan also explained to me the special parsha of Shabbat Zachor (the Shabbat of Remembrance), the reading of which is on the Shabbat before Purim is a special mitzvah. Because not a word can be omitted and the reading has to be perfect, Rabbi Dan obliged and read this section.

I was fascinated to hear that Yonatan had taught himself the first two portions of his reading on an iPad app called ‘Pocket Torah’. I do like the idea that modern technology can be used effectively to help people learn about such ancient teachings! He and I have both been using DuoLingo to improve our Hebrew and I now have a decent incentive to spend a bit more time on it so he doesn’t overtake me.

It might not surprise you to find that Yonatan’s favourite subject at school is Jewish Life and Learning – he really likes learning about the history of the Jewish people. I am confident that his love of learning will serve him well in the future – especially if his current ambition to become a lawyer is realised. For the moment, leading the service as he has now done during davening at school, will have to be enough.