Triple the mitzvah as triplets share rite of passage at Temple Beth Am

From left to right: Zachary, Jacob and Aaron Schurr
From left to right: Zachary, Jacob and Aaron Schurr

When Ron and Michelle Schurr got the news they were pregnant with triplets, they were shocked, to say the least. “We knew it would be a multiple birth because of the fertility drugs Michelle took to get pregnant,” Ron Schurr said. “We were thinking twins; we never figured on triplets.”

But triplets it was, and immediately the three new babies increased the Schurr family from three to six. Ron Schurr runs his own business and his wife is a teacher at Temple Beth Am Day School. They also have another son David, who is 16.

Now, 13, the triplets — Jacob, Zachary and Aaron —are seventh graders at Palmetto Middle School. They had their bar mitzvah on Nov. 15 at Temple Beth Am in Pinecrest. It was the second bar mitzvah for triplets in 16 years for the 60-year-old synagogue.

The sacred rite of passage was also a fun event, bringing together more than 90 friends and family members. Some of them traveled from as far away as Washington, North Carolina and Michigan to take part in the celebration.

Each boy did a mitzvah project, centered around giving back to the community. Jacob’s project was to volunteer at a horse ranch, where he groomed the horses and helped the “little kids” who came to ride the ponies. “I put on the saddles and walked the horses with the children on them,” he said.

On the day of the bar mitzvah, each brother told a story from their Torah portion.

“We talked about being individuals, although we are triplets, and each of us spoke on different portions of the story of Jacob and Esau, who were twins,” Jacob said. “I explained how the parents of Jacob and Esau favored one son over the other and how they loved them differently.”

“Our parents have never showed favoritism to one of us over the other. They worked hard at that. They treat the four of us equally,” said the future veterinarian.

Zachary and Aaron did their project together. They baked cookies and brownies at home and sold them to fellow Boy Scouts at their scout meetings as a fund-raising project for school band instruments. “We raised $50 in three hours,” Zachary said, adding that their project is an ongoing one. “We have more fund-raising planed.”

The boys share a birthday, but “they are not identical in any way,” said their dad. “They are different sizes and they have different personality, likes and dislikes. When they were babies, for about a year or so, we dressed them alike. That was because of the gifts they received. But after that first year or so, they never dressed alike again,” Ron Schurr said.

Although Zachary and Aaron shared a project, Zachary said, “I like different things from them, and I do different things.” For example, he said he likes to play the saxophone, while Aaron is into drama and wants to be a movie star.

Aaron said the fund-raising event is very important because the kids in the band can’t take the instruments home to practice because there aren’t enough to go around.

In his portion of the Torah, Aaron said he told the story of how Jacob stole the blessing from Esau. “I learned that a parent should bless each of their children the same. That will keep the children from fighting each other later on.”

In all, the boys said the bar mitzvah meant a lot to them. “We were together and we were being bar mitzvahed on the same day.”

Although they had their special day together, the triplets couldn’t leave their older brother out of the picture. “He’s a great big brother, Aaron said. “He is a junior at Palmetto High, and sometimes he helps us with our homework and plays outside with us.”

Said David: “I feel honored that nobody else I know, has triplet brothers. I entertain them a lot and being the oldest brother, they look up to me. We get along together very well.”