After having the privilege of photographing other kids’ bar and bat mitzvahs, I get to have the pleasure of being in the photos at my own son’s bar mitzvah. Tomorrow, after much hard work and preparation on his part, Jacob will become a bar mitzvah! I’m so proud of him and I’m so looking forward to the events of the day. In true Jewish fashion, we’re having a whole week of eating, hanging out, eating, dancing, eating, celebrating and eating some more! Our family is arriving as I write from LA, New York, Palm Springs, San Diego and we’ll have a cozy group of 30 for Shabbat dinner. Tomorrow, bright and early, we gather again for family portraits and then the service where I know Jacob will do a magnificent job reading from the Torah, reciting prayers and giving a teaching.
My mom and I have also prepared to read from the Torah. Let me tell you, it is difficult! First, one has to learn to read Hebrew letters with no vowels, chanting an atypical melody and not understanding what it means. I only have a paragraph to learn and it took me about two months. Jacob has four portions to learn plus many other prayers. I am listening to my mom practice her portion before the BIG Day right now and she sounds so sweet. I love that our family participates and supports each other. Another way that we are participating is in the creating of Jacob’s tallies. When my older son became a bar mitzvah, he wanted a homemade tallis. His taste runs more toward tie dye than traditional so for Noah’s tallis we tie dyed it. His is truly unique and very much to his personality. Jacob, however, is a bit more traditional so I made his tallis from white linen and decorated it with blue and silver ribbon trim. It is really classy. To finish off the prayer shawl, Jacob’s three grandparents and I tied the ritual fringes, the tzizit. The tzizit are a complicated series of knots and wrappings of string which added up are the number 613, the number of mitzvot in the Torah. Sitting together, tying the knots with Jacob’s grandparents was touching and significant. It was a joy and a pleasure, plus, we were all pretty good at following directions.
Grandma Joyce also showed her skills by needlepointing an exquisite tallis bag. It was a labor of love.
I want to thank all the support folks that have made this bar mitzvah happen: Rabbi Kahn, Rabbinical Intern Reuben Zellman, my wonderful friend and amazing photographer Maggie Fessler, Carmen at Berkeley Doubletree, Joel Nelson DJ, Linda Snyder of Zuzu Petals for flowers and catering, Lucy Adhadjian Catering, Bibi at 6 Degrees Restaurant, Gather Restaurant, all my friends who have given me love and support, Congregation Beth El for years of teaching, camp, kindness. Of course I love and thank my perfect husband David for everything including, well EVERYTHING. I love my family and friends and am so thrilled to share this big life milestone with them.
Mazel tov to Jacob!