I wish I had gotten a picture. We were on a crowded U-bahn train on our way to a Simchat Torah service, and Avery was studying torah, preparing to read the same lines from the first day of Creation that he had read for his bar mitzvah two years ago. We were standing in a small crowd, the man next to me was giving a German lesson to an Italian teenager, while most of the other passengers were absorbed with their electronic devices or newspapers. I couldn’t take a picture because Avery was studying torah on my phone, having snapped a shot of his parshah just as we were leaving our apartment. But the moment of watching my son read torah on a smart phone on the U-9 will remain etched in my memory for a long time.
I felt at home at that moment on the train. And I marveled that I had a son who gave up his usual teenage pursuits to celebrate a minor Jewish holiday on a week night. Avery handed me back my phone just as we arrived at the church on Detmolder Straße where the service would take place. I quickly snapped a few shots before we rushed in and took our seats. It turned out that Avery was well prepared for his reading and stepped into his role as a Jewish adult in Berlin with ease.
And that is how the transition has been for all of us, an easy adjustment to a city where migrants make up around twenty-five percent of the population. The school year routines already feel as predictable as the Berlin rain showers and are allowing me time to pursue career opportunities. I’ve got some pretty good job prospects, but wait….next week begins our Herbstferien (10 days of fall vacation). I guess I’m still getting used to a very different schedule for the school year.