Dear Dori,

I've thought about who I should use as a model for blessing you, and, by far, the best choice is Sherry Kraft. She comes up to the bima with a twinkle in her eye while the child to be blessed quakes in fear how she will embarrass them. I've watched her do this with Yarden Batson, Melanie Phillips, and her own daughter, Rachel. So, Sherry, I hope I can live up to your example.

Dori, when you were just a week old, we had a baby naming ceremony for you. You were really cute then. Anyway, during that ceremony, I wished three things for you. First, I hoped you would be a scholar. Second, I encouraged you to serve your community. Finally, I wished you happiness.

Over the last thirteen years, your personality, strengths, and weaknesses have started to show. From your mother, you have inherited a generous and sensitive spirit. I see it every day in the way you help and interact with others. I see it the most in the way you helped your mother when she was here and in the way you treat your brother. You are an absolutely wonderful older sister. You are part friend, part mother, and part teacher to him. You should be really proud of how much you have helped him. I think this is an excellent sign about how you will handle adult responsibilities as you grow. From me, you have inherited intelligence, good looks, and a great sense of fashion. The intelligence part is pretty obvious as you've glided through school without really trying very hard. I hope, as you grow older, you will take on more intellectual challenges, and they will inspire you. You have all of the tools for this to happen including an intelligent and inquisitive mind and a desire to excel. With respect to good looks, hopefully you won't grow my facial hair. And fashion sense, talk to your brother.

Anyway, back to your baby naming ceremony. You were really cute then. For some reason, you didn't seem to understand what I was telling you then. Now, at your bat mitzvah, I think you are starting to understand. But only starting to understand. You still have a tremendous amount to learn in school. I wish for you that school helps you understand the world around you. I hope it helps you to pick a career that you find truly stimulating and rewarding. You should be an economist. I'm kidding: you should be whatever will make you happy and fulfilled.

You still have much to learn about serving your community. Your family life has helped you here, and your bat mitzvah project was a first step in learning how to interact with your community. But, all thirteen year olds, including you, are just becoming aware of the outside world. So, in this respect, you have just begun a path of service.

The final thing I wished for you was happiness. In your life so far, you have experienced much happiness. But you also have experienced significant sadness. I hope most of all that you will be able to use your experiences to make you a stronger, better person. I hope, as you grow older, you will develop a loving relationship with a man, have a family with children as wonderful as you and Aaron, and be happy. I will be here to support you, encourage you, occasionally push you, and love you.

And now for the really embarrassing part: Dear Dori, I love you with all of my heart and always will.

Love, Dad