Alon Zohar Speech
On behalf of all Bar and Bat Mitzvah kids, I would like to thank our President Shimon Peres and all of the honored guests and friends that guide us year-round and on this special day.
I, Alon Zohar, was born 13 years ago today, along with my twin sister, Tamar, as the present in honor of the new year to my parents, Amir and Orli, and to my older brother, Asaf.
When I was four years old, my father Amir was killed in the midst of a terrorist encounter in Jericho, as part of his reserve duty as an Engineering Company Commander.
Three days earlier, he took me to kindergarten, as any other day. My sister, Tamar, and I sat on the stairs at the entrance of the kindergarten and didn't want to let him go serve his reserve duty, but Dad had to go.
My kindergarten teacher hugged me tightly and tried to help me part from Dad. Maybe I knew what would happen three days later, but really, what could a four year old know or understand, when all he really wants is his father always by his side?
There are many stories about Dad's love for me and I think I remember a little bit thanks to photos and videos, but deep down, I know for myself - he's number one.
Three days later, in the early morning we woke up to a different morning; Dad was killed by a sniper in the midst of a terrorist encounter and I remained with a father only in spirit.
Dad was always with me, and everyone says I look and act like him, which is a good thing because that means he'll always stay with me.
Today I'm thirteen and understand a lot more than a four year old does. I understand that losing a father is something that has no compensation.
When everyone calls, "Father," I can't remember the last time or place I said the word, "Father." When a friend's father takes him home, my father can't take me home. Uncles and aunts, grandma and grandpa, Dad's friends - everyone tries to fill in the empty space, to embrace, to love, to act as fathers do with their sons. It's not the same at all though. I could have lived with my own father, Amir.
Dad, it's Alon. I've grown since you've gone, and everyone says I'm just like you. I still love sports, especially basketball, the way that you used to sit and watch and play games with us. I wish you could see me play on my team - I think I'm not bad.
I have so much to tell you, Dad, but what I really want to do is just run to you, so that you would pick me up and carry me on your shoulders like you did when I was little. I love you dad - I always will.
It's hard for me to describe in words what it's like to grow up without a father, especially knowing that I had such a unique and special father that did so many things with me, and can't be with me anymore.
You were especially missed in my life at my Bar Mitzvah celebration. I believe the pain will always stay with me.
Thank you to all who joined us today, to all who raise us and support us and try to create better lives for us: lives that are closer to what should have been.
Happy New Year (Shana Tova),