Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Bar Mizvah

Saturday was our cousin Matthew's Bar Mitzvah. Since we're Baptist and hadn't been to a Bar Mitzvah before, we weren't really sure what to expect except for lots of Jewish traditions and a big party afterwards. We're assuming it was a traditional ceremony but its hard to know just what "tradition" is when its your first time at an event. Can't you just hear "Traditions" from Fiddler on the Roof? However, we were right-on about the big party! You'll hear all about later on when I give a detailed description of everything, including every single song, each appetizer, and how many glow-sticks went flying into the air and landed on unsuspecting people.

If flying glow-sticks doesn't tell you how classy our family really is, I don't know what does.

Having arrived (miraculously) at the synagogue on time, I took the opportunity to find the bathroom. After asking for directions I (once again, miraculously) found the bathroom. As soon as I entered that room I know I was in for trouble. Especially in the area of getting the lock to work on the door.

Let me make one thing clear: I do not like public restrooms where the doors don't lock. Securely. Particularly if I don't have a friend to guard the door for me. Clearly I was in trouble.

I struggled with the locks in both stalls for approximately 5.8 minutes before I decided that maybe I could just wait until we go to the reception. That decision was going out on a limb because I had no idea how long it would be til we actually go to the reception since, like I said before, I'd never been to a Bar Mitzvah. I went back to the line going into the sanctuary only to find that my family had (unmiraculously) abandoned me and I had to stand there alone and unsure of what was at the end of the line. However, the wait was not in vain as I stood behind Cousin Cheryl who was kind enough to inform me of other restrooms with working locks.

At this point I am going to inform that this is a long story so you might want to grab a pillow, a glass or two of lemonade and some cookies. You're going to be here for a while.

I finally entered the sanctuary only to discover that my family was sitting with all my relatives in the front. To make another thing clear: I do not like sitting in the front for any event(except for maybe a Josh Groban concert) but I bravely walked up, in front of everybody, anyway.

From the minute the service started, we didn't have a moment to rest, what with the books, and 92% of the service,being in Hebrew. One book was even printed backwards so page 1 was all the way to the right and page 698 was all the way to the left. Thanks goodness we didn't have to read right-left. I never would have survived that culture-shock! My non-Jewish, non-Hebrew reading uncle decided he "knew" Hebrew well enough to reach over and turn the pages in Grandma's book at the "right" time as if he understood just what the Rabbi was reading. Oh Jimmy, I was so on to you!

It needs to be shared that my sister, Elizabeth, needed to go to the restroom in the middle of the service. I was a good person for her to tell because, if you remember, I knew where the bathroom with locking doors was. This time though, there was a new problem: the program clearly said "please to do not leave the room when the ark is open." Even though I had never seen an ark before, and it didn't look like what I had imagined, when they opened curtains to reveal a small room with shelves of scrolls, I was pretty certain that was the ark. Whatever the cost, I knew that I didn't want to leave the room when the ark was open and risk being thrown out of the Jewish synagogue on the day of my cousin's only Bar Mitzvah. I mean, how embarrassing would that be for the family? Not to mention for me...

Matthew did a very good job reading/chanting and preparing his sermon. It was nice to see how proud his parents-especially his mom who is the Jewish parent-were of him.

Since this is really long, I won't write about the glow-stick flying reception right now. Depending on how many 'I-can't-wait-to hear-the-rest-please-tell-me-more' requests I get for it, maybe I'll write about it tomorrow! ; )

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