Thank you for joining me tonight, by my Bar Mitzvah Celebration. You are also invited to join me tomorrow morning in 770 downstairs for my Aliyah during Shacharis.

In addition to being a my Bar Mitzvah day, it is a special day on the Chassidic Calendar. It is the day that the Rebbe went home after his heart attack, in the year 1978. Afterwards, it was possible for the Rebbe to spread more Torah, and more Chassidic teachings to the masses.

My name is Meir. Meir means the source of light. On Rosh Chodesh Kislev 1978, a new level of revelation of Chassidus happened through the healing of the Rebbe, and through the Rebbe coming home.

I’d like to share the following thought from this week’s Torah portion. Unique to this week, we learn about three generations of righteous men. The question is asked: How could there be three generations of righteous men? And why does the Torah find it so important to list them?

The answer lies in the opening verse of this week’s Torah portion:: “ואלה תולדות יצחק בן אברהם אברהם הוליד את יצחק” – “& These are the generations of Yitzchak, the son of Avraham. Avraham gave birth to Yitzchak”. Avraham was a good father, and he imparted true Jewish values in his son! That is why his son, Yitzchak, was in turn able to transmit those values to his son, Yaakov. So, three generations of righteous men were all due to the work of the family patriarch, Avraham. What a merit that Avraham had, to raise a child and grandchild who gave him much pride

This ties in beautifully with why we are here tonight. I am here celebrating my Bar Mitzvah, the acceptance of true Jewish values. I credit my appreciation of Jewish values to the Rebbe, my parents, and most importantly, my grandparents: Zaidy Avtzon- upon whom I am named after, and Zaidy Zirkind. They, together with their wives, my Bubbies, both raised proud chassidic children, who in turn raise children of true Jewish values. I am a proud product of my grandparents’ self-sacrifice for the Rebbe.

I would like to share with you all two stories that happened, with each of my respective Zaidys and a person from our community named Jack Sawl.. Jack was the typical American Jew. Although he was not very involved in Judaism, he liked to hang out by my parents’ house. About 24 years ago, my Zaidy Zirkind took a look at Jack, and invited him to put on Tefillin. Jack responded “I don’t do those things. That was for the olden-day Jews” Zaidy responded, “Putting on Tefillin is considered to be a special time for Jews. You can ask G‑d for anything you want”. Jack contemplated this for a minute and responded “You know what I really want? I would really like it if G‑d blessed your son and his wife with children, as they don’t have children yet”. Quickly, my Zaidy rolled up Jack’s sleeve, and the Tefillin was on. Within a year, Mendel was born.

The next story happened with Zaidy Avtzon, right after Mendel was born. Zaidy flew in for the Bris, and who does he meet, pulling up on a motorcycle? None other than Jack Sawl! In his classic accent, Zaidy asked him to put on Tefillin. “Film?” Jack asked in wonderment, “I don’t need film. I have the best quality kodak film. I keep it fresh in my refrigerator.” “Feh!” Zaidy Meir answered, and before Jack could even argue, Zaidy had yanked Jack’s hand out of his shirt and put tefillin on him.

These are my grandparents, and this is the legacy that they imparted to us, their children and grandchildren.” ואלה תולדות יצחק בן אברהם אברהם הוליד את יצחק” Because of our grandparents, we are here today, celebrating a Bar Mitzvah, the acceptance of Jewish values. Although Zaidy Zirkind, Zaidy Avtzon and Bubby Avtzon are not here physically celebrating with me, I know that they are still with us, and I daven for the day that we will be reunited very soon, with Moshiach and our Rebbe

At this point, I would like to thank the following people for making this day so special:
Bubby Zirkind, thank you for cutting your trip to Eretz Yisroel so you could be with us tonight. Bubby, you called me and my siblings your farm grandkids, do you still think of me that way?


I’m really happy that so much family traveled in special for my Bar Mitzvah, Uncle Mendy, Bentzy and Yossel from Montreal. Sholom’ke, Nuchie and our Baltimore cousins. Sternie, Shloimy and your kids all the way from Monsey. Debs, Noach and Foxes - Your home has been a great Fox den for me, as we often stay by your home.

Thank you Tante Dina and Uncle Moishe. Ever since the summer, you were so proud of my choice of Tefillin bag, my hat, my Hapride Tefillin, my shtoddy suit, and of me becoming a Bar Mitzvah. Thank you for opening your home and letting my mother cater all my favorite foods. You really know how to make a kid feel so special!

Thank you Tante Esti for arranging tonight’s servers and also for having so many deep discussions with me. Refuah Shlaima to Uncle Menachem.

To all my Avtzon aunts, uncles and cousins…Thank you for coming out in the rain, visiting us in Fresno throughout the years and opening your homes to me and my family. A special thanks to Lazer, Sarah, Mendel, Meir, Cheyena and Devorah Leah for loving me so much. I love when you join us for Pesach and each of my trips to New York are made so special by you.

Thank you Meir and Meir Avtzon for joining me.

Thank you Tatty and Mommy for raising us on Shlichus and shlepping us everywhere. I was really hoping to get gold status with you on American Airlines. Thank you Mendel, Cheyena, Chaya, Aidela, Esti…my big sibs. Thank you driver Shaina and my little bro Shneur.

I may live in Fresno, but I am so lucky to be a part of the greatest family, where so many are on Shlichus, involved in community work, and just the best family ever!