As a child, I was raised in Beachwood, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, in the heart of the Jewish community. Cleveland is one of the strongest Jewish populations in the country, although it isn’t as big as New York City or Los Angeles. When I was growing up, Beachwood was approximately 90-95% Jewish; consequently, all my friends were Jewish. It wasn’t that I sought to be friends only with Jewish people; it’s just that we tend to gravitate toward those who are like ourselves.
Both my parents are Jewish, and they exposed me to the Jewish culture as a child. In Judaism, boys have a bar mitzvah at the age of 13, which is considered the age of accountability. They go through a ceremony at the Temple in which they read from the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). The word bar means son, and mitzvah means commandment. So when a boy reaches the age of 13, he accepts the responsibility to become a son of the commandments.