Saturday, May 03, 2008

Baby's first Bar Mitzvah

Today was the bar mitzvah of one of my students. He worked very hard, overcame learning disabilities and low self-esteem, and chanted his aliyah and his haftorah perfectly. Flawlessly. I am so proud of this young man.

It was Kali's first bar mitzvah. She sat quietly in synagogue during the service, only yelping once to remind mummy that it was time to eat. In the evening, she smiled and laughed in her moby wrap while mummy danced the hora, and was adorable and cute as she got passed from one set of loving hands to another.

What most pleased me, though, is that this bar mitzvah was a lot less Bar and a lot more Mitzvah. Have any of you been to a bar mitzvah lately? Many of them are like weddings - gorgeous table linens, sophisticated centerpieces, huge bands or dj's who give away prizes to the most enthusiastic dancers. And let's not get started on the activities for the teens who don't want to dance. They can choose between "make your own pajama pants", a karaoke recording booth, and handwriting analysis.

But this bar mitzvah was different. The party in the evening was in a simple hall, there was a trio who played through dinner, a few short and meaningful speeches. The decor and food were simple and tasteful. Later, a couple of teens showed up to organize the kids and lead them in Israeli folk dancing. The kids loved it. Everyone loved it.

It was probably the most beautiful bar mitzvah I've been to. Mr. December and I agree that we'd like Kali's Bat mitzvah to be a lot like it.

So... where do we find her some friends who love Israeli folk dancing?


DrSavta said...

In Israel, of course! We're waiting for you.

Aurelia said...

I bet you'll find plenty around here...mind you, they won't be the self-centred rich kids in certain neighbourhoods I know.

Reality is that you are in charge of planning and paying for it, and you will decide what they do. I think it sounds like a lovely way to do it. These overblown celebrations for children and teens drive me crazy...not sure why people go nuts for this?

ms. c said...

I'm in (with Sacha, of course!) I LOVE Israeli dancing, always have.
My aunt did something similar for my cousin's Bar Mitzvah (in California) 2 years ago. It was so much fun, and the kids really enjoyed it too.

sariel & shlomit said...

hey you...just catching up...loving all the kali anecdotes and love the sound of that bar mitzvah!
those flashy, over the top simchas (weddings included!) leave me feeling flat...this bar mitzvah sounded like the kind sariel and i used to dream about for our as-yet-unconceived i'll look forward to kali's!!