Like pretty much all other speeches for special occasions, bar mitzvah speeches follow a rather set format. One of the components of those speeches is the giving of thanks. It's only fitting that at this opportunity I acknowledge the graciousness of the School of Education of Tel Aviv University which, substantially after any formal relationship I've had with it has been terminated, still permits me to post these musings on one corner of its web site. But in proper bar mitzvah fashion perhaps my greatest thanks should go to my parents. My mother lived to read some of these columns, though she did so from pages my brother printed out for her rather than by clicking through them on her computer. She also shows up as a not-too-minor character in a number of these columns. My father also shows up a number of times, though he died well before I started this project, and before either of us were exposed to hypertext and the web. I'm sure it would have fascinated him. I'm reminded of Yochai Benkler's dedication to his The Wealth of Networks in which he writes:
Oddly enough, I have never had the proper context in which to give two more basic thanks.Dad was swept up in other struggles, and unlike Benkler's father did study, completing a doctorate when he already had three growing children. But he had a similar voracious appetite, and I'm sure he also would have loved it.My father, who was swept up in the resistance to British colonialism and later in Israel's War of Independence, dropped out of high school.
He was left with a passionate intellectual hunger and a voracious appetite for reading.
He died too young to even imagine sitting, as I do today with my own sons, with the greatest library in human history right there, at the dinner table, with us.
But he would have loved it.