JKR owns HP

To Mara C DeWitt: Nobody's perfect, not even fictional characters.

To Mordy Aisenstark: Shhh. I've decided that photographs are different.


Blessed is the one who has freed me from the consequences of this boy's actions. (Blessing by the father of a bar mitzvah boy)


Three weeks before his bar mitzvah, the tape recorder blew up with a pop! and burst into a fireball, right there on the table in the common room. On fire.

"Aguamenti!" Cho shouted. The flames splashed out with a hiss of smoke. Yehuda blinked. He snatched up his tikkun before the puddle could spread and mopped up the water with the sleeve of his stupid wizard robe.

Marcus slapped him on the back. "Congratulations, Goldstein. No more accidental magic for you."

He shrugged off the hand, his eyes still frozen on the table—his tape was gone. Inside the smoldering plastic and metal there was only the sad, wet plastic strings from inside it. He had no more recording to practice from.

"Ve'im minchas marcheshes korbanecha, soless bashemen tei'aseh," he murmured, trying to pick up where he had left off. What came after that? The words were printed, but not the tune. Veheveisa es hamincha asher yei'aseh—but how could he be sure?

He pushed his chair away from the table and got up. He walked to the other end of the room and pressed his hands against the windowsill, struggling to make his breathing even. Stand at the front of the shul with his whole neighborhood watching, stumble over the words, fifty men's voices would jump in over his with corrections, pitying him—"What am I going to do," he murmured.

Shh. It was all right. It would be all right, it had to. He would…he would just practice anyway, it wasn't long to Purim, maybe Rabbi Bronstein at the Chabad knew how to lein—was Chabad leining the same as regular?

He saw movement out of the corner of his eye. Kevin had closed the tikkun and was watching him, with a crease between his eyebrows. People care about me and I must not worry them unnecessarily, he thought. He let out a long breath and made his shoulders relaxed, then turned around.

"Why'd you leave?" Michael said.

The tightness in his chest came back. He spoke quickly so he wouldn't cry. "My tape blew up. My father recorded the—the tune for me. I need it to practice. My bar mitzvah's in three weeks."

"But you have the words," Kevin said. Yehuda and Michael both turned to look at him in surprise. Kevin started to tap the cover of the tikkun but then pulled his hand back. "You have the words, it's just the tune you need, right?"

"Right—"

Kevin dashed across the common room and disappeared up the steps. Michael looked at Yehuda in confusion. "Where's he gone?"

They scarcely had time to wonder before he was back, his guitar slung across his body and out of breath.

"I don't know the words because it's all in Jewish," he said apologetically. "But I can play the tune while you say it."

"Hebrew," Yehuda corrected. "I'm Jewish, the language is Hebrew." The words felt clumsy on his tongue; had he really never in his life said the words "I'm Jewish"? Kevin didn't seem to notice; he placed his fingers on the strings and picked out the notes, one by one. Vayikra-a el Moshe vayedaber Hashem eila-av mei'ohel moed, leimor: Dab-e-e-er el bnei Yisrael v'amarta-a aleihem

Yehuda stopped. "How do you know it?" he demanded.

Kevin shrugged. "I heard you sing it. I remember tunes. I'm always telling people in the band club what goes next."

He had remembered right, you did hamincha-a-a-a ashe-e-e-er yei'ase-e-eh. He had the parsha all but memorized. It was the tefillin that were giving him trouble. You needed both hands to get it right. He had to wake up very early in the morning to get to the common room while it was still empty, balancing the leather cube above his elbow and racing to pull the strap tight before it fell off. Inevitably it would twist to the back of his arm, or the strap would choke off his circulation, and he would have to scowl and drop his siddur to fix it. Then he would feel bad for scowling at tefillin.

Dear Rabbi Zeller,

Are you allowed to be annoyed about a mitzvah?

Thursday was Taanis Esther, but he woke up after dawn and it was too late to eat. Charms and Herbology went by quickly; his stomach started to growl on the walk back from the greenhouses and he remedied this by following Mandy Brocklehurst into Professor Lockhart's classroom and sitting right behind her. Still the tallest of the second-year Ravenclaws (though Michael was rapidly gaining on her), she hid him easily. He put his head down and napped for thirty minutes.

They were dismissed; he blearily followed the group down to Potions. You couldn't get away with a nap here, there was nothing to do but muscle through it. "Four sprigs of lavender," he muttered. His fingers were clumsy as he let the herbs fall into the cauldron. He knocked his mortar and pestle to the floor and when he bent over to get it, his head was so heavy on the surface of the desk that he just wanted to keeping lying there. He heard feet walking between the desks and a fog of distant conversation. Michael jabbed him in the ribs.

"Hospital wing, Goldstein," Snape said. "We are brewing sleeping draughts, not demonstrating their effects."

He had to make up the classes that night, but he was so tired he didn't care.

Purim was on Sunday this year, which meant Parshas Zachor was right now. Last year he had sat on the stone floor outside Professor Flitwick's office, his heart filling his throat and trying not to cry, knowing he was going to miss Parshas Zachor and there was nothing he was allowed to do about it. Never again. On Friday, he turned up in the seventh-floor corridor at four o'clock promptly. Professor Snape arrived, he put his hand on a corroded sink tap, they were knocking at the door of a house on a gravel road.

"Oh, Yehuda!"

He was smiling before he realized it. "Hello, Mrs. Bronstein."

"Gavriel is here for Shabbos too," she said. He thought he heard the distant crack of Snape Disapparating behind the closed door. "Yanky is also in town, but he's only here for meals and he's driving back on Motzei Shabbos. Come in, we'll put you in the same room as last time if that's all right with you."

This was all right with him; he could smell chicken soup in the kitchen. Friday night here was not quite like home, everyone was older than him and there were hamentashen with meat inside, but it was familiar and it was family of a different kind. In the morning he sat on a folding chair and listened to Zalman's reading:

Remember what Amalek did to you as you left Egypt, how they encountered you on the way and struck at the stragglers when you were exhausted and spent, and they did not fear God. When God gives you rest from your enemies, in the land he gave you as an inheritance, you shall wipe out all memory of Amalek from beneath the heavens—never forget!

He knew what that was; it meant you had to kill everyone in Amalek, all the people and everything that belonged to them so that no one could point and say "that was Amalek's cow" because that would be a memory. One of the Unforgivable Curses was to kill someone. He wondered idly if you could use it here, but Zalman launched into the brachos for after the reading and he was distracted. Had Parshas Zachor been so full of murdering last year, too?

Shabbos afternoon, after they had said the grace after meals and cleared up the plates, he went to his and Gavriel's room and got the tikkun. He marched downstairs and plunked the book on the table. "My bar mitzvah is in two weeks," he said. "Will you listen to me practice?"

Gavriel sat up. "Two weeks? Mazel tov. What parsha? I'm not an expert, but I can follow the trop for you."

"Vayikra."

Gavriel pulled an extra Chumash off the shelf. Yehuda covered the vowelized side with a paper and launched into the words that were as familiar to him as the sound of his own breathing: "Vayikra-a el Moshe vayedaber Hashem eila-av mei'ohel moed, leimor: Dab-e-e-er el bnei Yisrael v'amarta-a aleihem, ada-a-am ki yakriv mik-e-e-em korban laHashem min habeheima-a-a-a min habakar u'min hatzon takrivu es korbanchem…"

Gavriel's eyes darted down the lines of text, humming along, from aliyah to aliyah all the way until the final swing up and down at the end: "v'nislach lo, al acha-a-a-as mikol asher yaase-e-eh l'ashma ba."

"L'ashma va," Gavriel corrected, closing the Chumash. "There's no dagesh there."

Wait, we're not finished, he wanted to say. I don't know it yet, I need more practice! Instead he swallowed and put the tikkun back in his room. There was still time.

After Havdalah, he helped Mrs. Bronstein set up for the party, laying out brightly-colored tablecloths, scattering taffies and cheap plastic noisemakers across the tables. The refrigerator was full of shrink-wrapped trays. Yanky was unloading samples from the distillery in town. There was more whiskey than food. Yehuda stepped back to survey his handiwork and bumped into someone.

"Sorry," he said. He looked up. It was Gavriel.

"Listen," Gavriel said quietly. "Maybe stay out of the way tonight. This is a college party; there'll be people drinking and their drinking won't be like what you're used to. After Megillah, I think you should stay in your room."

"Then why do you get to go?" he asked, and bit his lip. That was rude; Gavriel wasn't his brother or anything. "I'm sorry."

But Gavriel just laughed. "I'm a little bit older than you. And I'm curious. If it's not like what I'm used to, I'll come in and keep you company. How's that?"

The Megillah reading was disappointing; it was just Zalman and Mrs. Bronstein, himself, Gavriel, Yanky, an Israeli girl from the college, and the Bronsteins' little boy, and Zalman read it very quickly without any fanfare. Then the doorbell rang, and he scurried into his room. With nothing else to do, he reread the story of the megillah and stared at his Hogwarts schedule, wondering what Michael was doing right now. He could hear it growing noisier and noisier outside, talking and shouting, and eventually someone turned on a tape.

He opened the door a crack. The room seemed smoky, smelling heavy like the Potions cupboard, the music seemed to shake his whole body, and he saw people dancing, hands in the air. Someone was dressed in a full-body chicken costume. Zalman was yelling "Megillah, anyone near to hear Megillah?" It was too loud. He shut the door.

It was probably better this way, he realized—the Muggle college students would wonder what a little religious boy was doing here, so far from Golders Green. After a while, he changed into his pajamas and pulled the covers up to his chin, snug in the dark as the party rumbled on the other side of the wall.

Once again, there was trash all over in the morning. He'd forgotten to bring fruit for his mishloach manos, but Mrs. Bronstein told him never mind, he could buy some of hers and then they would belong to him, and he could use them for the mitzvah.

"But I haven't got any money," he said.

Her eyes widened, he saw her mind racing. "Nothing?"

"Well…" He had the Galleons and Sickles left over from his and Mummy's trip to Diagon Alley. He couldn't give her those. "I'll check my bag."

He found a handful of discarded coins in an inner pocket, counting them in his palm to total two pounds forty. Mrs. Bronstein quickly told him it was enough and handed him two muffins and two juice cartons. He had no quill or ink, but he took a paper and ballpoint pen and wrote A Freilichen Purim! in his best calligraphy before handing them over, one to Gavriel and one to a Moray College boy who had fallen asleep on the couch and been convinced to stay for Shacharis.

On the fourteenth of Adar, he was still a child; on the twenty-ninth, he was a man. He felt very solemn as he went down to the common room, pronouncing every word carefully, aware of every motion of his body and every tick of the clock. After morning classes, he went back up to the dormitory and pulled his overnight bag out from under the bed. Michael and Terry looked on in confusion. "I'm going home," he explained as he rummaged through his wardrobe. "For my bar mitzvah. Could I—"

"Borrow my notes, yes, that's what we always do," Michael interrupted. "You don't have to ask. Why are you packing all that, what happens at the bar…when you go home?"

He sat on his bed, carefully filling the bag. Shirt for Thursday, shirt for Friday. Socks. His mother had got him a new suit and hat, which were waiting for him back at the house. The tikkun, of course. He could leave it in Golders Green if he wanted to.

"Bar mitzvah." He pronounced the word slowly for Michael's benefit. "Well, my family will come—my cousins and grandparents, I mean. My mother will light candles. We'll say the Friday night prayers. In the morning there'll be more praying. I'll lein—I'll sing that Hebrew that I've been practicing. After that there will be a sort of party, for all the neighbors and friends—"

"A party?" Michael interrupted, crossing his arms in mock offense. "And you didn't invite us?"

Yehuda stifled a laugh trying to imagine them there in the shul's simcha hall, two little goyim standing among all the people that mattered. No matter how friendly you were with the non-Jews on your street, you didn't invite them to your family things like they were your friends. But he couldn't say that out loud. No matter how he tried to word it in his head, it came out sounding like he didn't like them at all. He did, of course he did. He'd never have survived last year without Michael, and even Terry now was all right. But they weren't friends.

"I'll see you next week," was all he said.

Penelope Clearwater was waiting for him in the common room, and they walked down to the gates, between the great winged boars, and out to the village. The train idled in the station as they approached. She watched him board and shut the door.

His footsteps were loud in the empty corridor. He sat down, propped the tikkun in front of him and turned to the first page with determination. Vayikra-a el Moshe…


They slowed and entered Kings Cross at dusk. The station was nearly empty under the pools of light from the lamps—a couple in cloaks and carrying a birdcage, an older woman wearing a pointed witch's hat emblazoned with stars, and his father, standing awkwardly against the wall in his suit and fedora. The train slowed and halted, he swung up his bag and leapt onto the platform, the tikkun under one arm. "Ta!"

"Yehuda!" His father's face lit up, his father was happy to see him. "The bar mitzvah boy himself! Come, we've got a long drive to pretend we're doing. Let me get your bag—Savta is here already; she and Saba Reuven landed yesterday. They're staying with us; Saba Reuven can't walk that far—he's not well, he's got a cane now, don't look too shocked when you see him…"

They pulled into the driveway. His mother met him at the door and wrapped him in a brief, warm hug. "Come in, have something to eat. I'm sorry to rush you after your long flight, but you'll need to try on your suit in case we need any last minute hemming." She handed him a sandwich, then ran her fingers through his hair. "My goodness, you are shaggy. Esti, will you give Yehuda a haircut, please?"

Yehuda looked at his big sister dubiously.

"She's all right, she's done me," Sholom said without looking up.

He gave Sholom's head a once-over and allowed himself to be sat on a stool, a cape draped around him with his yarmulke in his lap while Esti spritzed his head. The guard snapped into the hair clipper and curved against the back of his neck. At the table, Adina was busy assembling bags for the guests and complaining about her dress, that Nechama Hillman had got an outfit for her brother's bar mitzvah and another two for Pesach.

"It makes no sense that my dress has to be for Pesach too," she said, throwing two tealights and a box of matches into a bag with perhaps more force than was necessary. "It's so unfair. And you're taking Esti for new things again after the bar mitzvah!"

"Esti needs clothes for seminary," his mother said.

"Oh, I don't think I'm going to go to seminary," Esti said calmly. The clipper buzzed over his head, little wisps falling to the floor.

At this, Mummy looked up. "Don't be silly, of course you can."

"What for?" Esti said. "So we can spend a lot of money for me to hear shiurim from people that don't even know me? Maybe I'll stay here and get a job, I'd like that. Yehuda, cover your peyos, I'm going to do the side bits."

He brushed the short hairs forward and put his fingers beside his temples, his hands over his cheekbones.

"Stay here and work?" Mummy said doubtfully. "I don't know. If you think it would be better…it's just not something people really do."

"You sent Yehuda to the place that was best for him," Esti said. She tugged the sidelocks out and flashed her scissors, trimming them to just below his ears. "Why not me?"

Yehuda sucked in a breath. His father looked at him and then quickly back to Esti. "Yehuda, come and eat some real food. Esti, we'll talk about it tomorrow, this is not a good time for a long discussion, we need to make beds for Bubby and Zeidy in the Danzigers' guest room. Adina, do you have a bag ready?"

By Friday afternoon, the house filled up with grandparents and cousins. Mummy, of course, was an only child, not counting Saba Reuven's children, but Totty was one of ten, and most of them had come for Shabbos. He could not make himself a cup of tea without bumping elbows with an aunt or uncle, a Freidy or Noach or Bluma or Tzvi Hirsch or Leib or Brocha Esther. There was scarcely enough time to feel afraid.

It wasn't until the next morning that he felt butterflies, and even then they felt far away, like it was someone else's stomach in knots. He was the same as always, in his bed next to Sholom's with the sun coming up over the rows of houses. The girls were still sleeping, but Bubby had left a loaf of kokosh cake on the kitchen table. He walked to shul surrounded by a phalanx of Jewish men, tallis fringes swinging: his father, his grandfather, Saba Reuven with his cane tapping on the pavement. There was a buzzing in his ears as he entered the building, shook hands with Rabbi Zeller, louder and louder all through davening.

Shakily, he stepped up to the bimah. They brought the sefer Torah up to him, unrolling it to the place, and Rabbi Zeller made the bracha for the first aliyah.

"Amen!" His voice rang out clear as a bell across the silent shul, startling him. He looked down at the cipher of black letters, scanning until they resolved themselves into words. The silver pointer shook as he hovered above the place. "Vayikra-a el Moshe vayedaber Hashem eila-av mei'ohel moed, leimor!"

He heard his voice moving smoothly through the words, lowering at venasu-u-u,up again at v'shachat oso,noticing abstractly that the columns in the Torah looked exactly like the practice ones printed in the tikkun only bigger. The final words caught him by surprise, but he remembered at the last second to sing-song into the ending of the first aliyah.

His father was called to the Torah, then Saba Reuven, then one of the uncles. "V'im zevach shelami-im korbano, im min habaka-a-ar hu-u-u makriv, im zacha-ar o nekeiva-a, tamim yakrivenu—"

"Zachar im nekeiva!" the shul chorused behind him. "Zachar im nekeiva!"

Oh. He jerked back to the words, his face hot. This was a description of the permitted animals to be brought for a shelamim offering, and he had a flash of memory—Kevin picking out the high notes, leaning his guitar on one leg propped up on an armchair—no, he was in shul now! This was no place to remember Kevin. He ran the pointer back to the beginning of the sentence. "V'im zevach shelami-im korbano, im min habaka-a-ar hu-u-u makriv, im zacha-ar im nekeiva-a, tamim yakrivenu lifnei Hashem!"

His voice went on and on for what felt like forever. He made no more mistakes that he could tell, until finally Uncle Noach finished his bracha and they called him up with a flourish.

"Ya'amod…habachur habar mitzvah, Yehuda ben Meir Halevi, maftir chazak!"

This time it was his voice that rang across the hall, making the blessing. V'nislach lo, al acha-a-a-as mikol asher yaase-e-eh l'ashma ba, he was so close, almost finished. "Yisbarach shimcha befi kol chai, tamid le'olam va'ed. Baruch atah Hashem, mekadesh haShabbos—"

Thwap. Something stung his face. Thwapthwapthwapthwap—candy flying everywhere, he yelped and pulled the tallis over his head. His father laughed and Rabbi Zeller started singing: "Siman tov u'mazal tov, u'mazal tov u'siman tov…" They pulled him in to dance, around the bimah, the tallis was gone and everyone was shaking his hand, his father, Zeidy, Saba Reuven, so many people. The rest of the service went by in a blur; he shook hands with a dizzying parade of guests—grownups from shul, uncles, cousins, Danziger, even Abulafia turned up for a few minutes. Then they were home, he was sitting at the head table, forcing himself to eat. It was only in the afternoon, when he'd been alone for a bit and with the adults slowly drifting in from their naps, that the knots in his stomach loosened and he had a chance to breathe. Soon it would be dusk.

The day was almost over. He had been a bar mitzvah for almost a week, he reminded himself, this was just a party. He went to get himself some popcorn, closing his eyes and trying to clear his mind over the sounds of Esti interviewing Savta for her Holocaust project two feet away.

"He was so much older than me, and I a Yekke and he a Galitzianer," Savta was saying reminiscently. Yehuda's eyes popped open; he glanced at Saba Reuven to see how he felt about all this discussion of Saba Sholom, but he was bouncing Eliyohu on the couch as Brochie sat next to him, showing him a picture book.

"We had to be very patient," Savta was telling Esti. "There were not many certificates, the countries were taking only a few at a time. We had friends leave to America, to England, but your Saba Sholom only wanted Israel…"

Yosef tugged at his trousers. "Huda, wanna bikkit."

Distracted, he passed the baby something off his plate. Savta was still talking. "We had a small baby, he could have asked to be given assignment in Jerusalem and come home for dinner every night, but he was needed in the Sinai, and so he went. He was a brave man, much spirit." She laughed. "Maybe too much. Like Adina and Brochale. But in the end it did not matter how brave he was, they told me his tank was fired upon, and it was so quick he could not even try to get out."

All the relatives were listening now, even Totty's brothers and sisters, all of whom had visited Israel briefly at one point or another but would never in a million years consider joining its army and probably could not find the Sinai on a map. Savta, Yehuda realized proudly, was like something out of a storybook.

"I thought we would stay, but then your mother…" Savta was still talking only to Esti. "She was so little, and so sick. I rented out the apartment and left, I thought we would return when she was well. The joke was on me, I rented that apartment out for almost twenty years before I came back to it."

"But why England, Savta?"

Her forehead furrowed. "It was many years ago, my memory is not so good. We had friends, others in our apartment building, specialists… This was the advice, to come here. The doctors in Israel did not know what it was, but here they would. I imagine that she was in the hospital for quite some time…"

Tante Simmy crossed the room and sat between Mummy and Savta, blocking his view. He tried not to frown; she always talked to him like he was a baby. "Good Shabbos, Yehuda. You did a beautiful job on the leining. Who taught you?"

"Totty recorded it on tape for me," he said, trying to crane his neck around her. He remembered Gavriel. "Oh, and one of the older bachurim helped me practice."

"It's wonderful that you came home," she said. "Are you going to help your mummy with Pesach cleaning, now?"

He squirmed in his seat. "Well…I'm going back to yeshivah."

Tante Simmy whirled on his mother. "Back? To America? Pesach is in ten days, Chaya, are you sure you know—"

"Well, it made sense," Esti cut in. "It was a good deal, and Mummy had the miles from her card. Besides, every day of learning Torah is important. Right, Yehuda?" She nudged him in the ribs. "Right?"

"Right," he squeaked. Tante Simmy nodded; days of learning Torah were a card that could not be outplayed.

"Don't worry, we'll put him to work when he gets back." Esti laughed, and so did Tante Simmy.

But Yehuda was troubled. How had she known to interrupt just then, he wondered, and on Friday how had she known to use his name as an argument against going to the same schools as everyone else? Mummy and Totty surely had not confessed the truth to Esti, of all people.

He was bar mitzvah now, but he was still a little boy. To him, you could only say something through a loud and obvious message. He did not know how easy it was to read someone's face and know what they were thinking, what little details you could pick up in the nuances, and that all you needed was one key to the riddle before you understood everything. He did not know what small details could click into place to form a whole, what else could be gleaned from something small, from a letter like the one Michael had sent him months earlier—the letter that he did not know was no longer under the mattress where he had left it.


Glossary

Ve'im minchas marcheshes korbanecha, soless bashemen tei'aseh (Leviticus 2:7). And if your sacrifice is a meal offering, it will be made of fine flour in oil.

Shul. Synagogue.

Veheveisa es hamincha asher yei'aseh… (Leviticus 2:8). And you will bring the meal offering made of these…

Lein. Read the Torah.

Tikkun, short for tikkun korim, literally "guide for readers." A study guide for preparing to chant the Torah, with one column's text featuring vowel and cantillation marks, and the other the same words as they appear in the Torah scroll.

Vayikra el Moshe vayedaber Hashem eilav mei'ohel moed, leimor: Daber el bnei Yisrael v'amarta aleihem, adam ki yakriv mikem korban laHashem min habeheima min habakar u'min hatzon takrivu es korbanchem (Leviticus 1:1-2). He called to Moshe—God, speaking to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying, "Speak to the children of Yisrael, saying 'When a person from among you brings an offering to God, from animal, cattle, and sheep shall you bring your offering.'"

Tefillin. Phylacteries.

Mitzvah. Commandment.

Parshas Zachor. Reference to Deuteronomy 25:17-19, a mandatory public reading for the Saturday before Purim.

Motzei Shabbos. Saturday night.

Hamentashen. Triangular filled-pocket pastry.

Brachos. Blessings.

Trop. Cantillation.

Vayikra, literally "and he called." The Torah portion spanning Leviticus 1:1 to 5:26, or the Book of Leviticus overall.

Chumash. One of the Five Books of Moses.

Dagesh. A Hebrew diacritic distinguishing between plosive and fricative forms of a letter.

Aliyah. Subdivision of the Torah portion.

V'nislach lo al achas mikol asher yaaseh l'ashma va (Leviticus 5:26). And he will be forgiven for one of all these that it is possible to do and to become guilty.

Havdalah. Ceremony to end the Sabbath.

Megillah, literally "scroll." The Book of Esther.

Mishloach manos, literally "sending portions." Gifts of food or drink sent on Purim.

A Freilichen Purim. Happy Purim.

Shacharis. Morning prayers.

Simcha hall. Social hall.

Goyim. Non-Jews.

Shiurim. Classes.

Peyos. Sidelocks.

Tallis. Prayer shawl.

Bimah. Elevated platform for Torah reading.

Sefer Torah. Torah scroll.

V'im zevach shelamim korbano, im min habakar hu makriv, im zachar im nekeiva, tamim yakrivenu lifnei Hashem (Leviticus 3:1). If his sacrifice is a peace offering, if he brings it from cattle, whether male or female, he shall bring it whole before God.

Shelamim. Peace offering, divided between the altar, the priest, and the offerer.

Ya'amod habachur habar mitzvah, Yehuda ben Meir Halevi, maftir chazak. Rise, the bar mitzvah boy, Yehuda son of Meir the Levite, for the concluding portion—be strong!

Yisbarach shimcha befi kol chai, tamid le'olam va'ed. Baruch atah Hashem, mekadesh haShabbos. May your name be blessed by all the living, continuously and forever. Blessed are you, God, who sanctifies the Sabbath.

Yekke. German Jew.

Galitzianer. Roughly, a Jew from western Ukraine or southeastern Poland.

Bachurim. Unmarried young man.