Thirteen-year-old Duncan McAlpine Sennett recently became a bar mitzvah at Congregation Beth Israel in Portland, Oregon. In the Jewish tradition, becoming a bar mitzvah (bat mitzvah for females) means that a person has come of age and is now accountable for their own actions under Jewish law.
As part of becoming a bar mitzvah, Duncan was asked to deliver a d'var Torah, which is a theological essay relating a text from the Torah to our modern lives. Duncan spoke about the story from Genesis of Jacob's marriage to Leah and Rachel. He noted that the women are sisters, first cousins of Jacob's, and had no say in their marriages whatsoever. "Today, in the United States, marriage is very different," Duncan said.
Duncan went on to demolish the argument that marriage has a "traditional" definition at all, and then made a passionate call for marriage equality in Oregon and across the country.
The video of this remarkable young man's d'var Torah speech is making waves across the blogosphere. Watch it below.
Mazel tov, Duncan!