Studying For Bar Mitzvah Aids Football Player

Some of what makes Taylor Mays a precociously talented safety for USC can be traced back to when he was 13.

There were months of intense study. Repetitive practice. And memorization of every nuance of his responsibilities. Mays was preparing for his bar mitzvah.

The experience of reading from the Torah shaped him in ways he did not anticipate, ways that have helped him thrive as a person and an athlete.

“I don’t think at the time I really understood what that meant,” Mays said of the ceremony that is a Jewish rite of passage into adulthood. “Now, looking back on it, I feel like I have come a long way in regard to maturity and becoming an adult.

“I think that helped me do it.”

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  1. Jack's Shack December 31, 2006 at 12:02 am

    Hi Barbara,

    Have a happy new year.

  2. BarbaraFromCalifornia December 30, 2006 at 3:16 pm

    That is very interesting, and I agree.

    My son played violin since he was 4 1/2. I noticed that this kind of concentrated activity helped him become more focused as an adult too. Both my children had bat/bar mitzvahs. I would like to think that this helped them, to some degree or another, if not how to be focused, at least what it means to be a Jew and why it is important.

    I am still waiting for them to show me that this is true, however.

    Wishing you and your family an excellent 2007, Jack.

  3. Jack's Shack December 30, 2006 at 8:10 am


    I thought so.


    My Bar Mitzvah made quite an impression upon me. I remember it well.



  4. Val December 29, 2006 at 8:24 pm

    Huh. He sure doesn’t LOOK Jewish?!! 😉 (sorry, couldn’t resist! Please excuse my politically incorrectness!)

    That is very cool, though.

  5. Anonymous December 29, 2006 at 7:10 pm

    I second what Ezzie said- very cool. It seems that the whole process of preparing for a bar mitzvah is one of the most powerful tools we have for shaping the character and honing the skills of our young people. Its a wonderful institution-

  6. Ezzie December 29, 2006 at 5:27 pm

    Wow. That’s cool.

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