Friday, October 2, 2009

What matters

We're not religious in my household. When my son was little, we celebrated everything: Christmas, Passover (complete with the Passover Bunny), Hanukkah, you name it. We've tried to let our son figure out what it is he believes or doesn't believe, and we all keep an open mind. So this weekend, to my surprise, we are giving our son a bar mitzvah.

But being us, it is, of course, not a usual one.

It's something he wanted to do. It's something we began to want to do, too, just to keep hold of the cultural thread that ties us all together. My grandfather, a writer I have just one memory of (I'm two and playing with blocks and he beams at me), was an orthodox rabbi and his black silk top hat sits on top of our shelf, so maybe I feel his spirit beaming down at me or maybe I just wish that were so. Or maybe it was my son's reading of Anne Frank's Diary or the people who deny that the Holocaust ever happened. I don't know, but we felt this was significant to do.

So we hired someone to come to our house and teach him a little bit about Jewish history and a lot of Hebrew. And instead of the garish 50,000 bar mitzvahs with themes like The Titanic, and a guest list that would fill a stadium, we're keeping it small. Twenty-two kids, about 8 adults. And we're having it at the hip and cool Maxwell's Rock Club! Our son will take the same stage as Patti Smith, the Ramones, and Bruce Springstein. The Club is ecstatic. This is their first bar mitzvah! They're throwing in Maxwell's t-shirts (not the ones with skulls and wine bottles, just the simple ones with just the name). The kids are going to karaoke until their throats are sore and dance, and all the adults have to do something, be it light a candle or say a prayer.

Sometimes, I am deeply moved by how life unfolds and surprises you.




9 comments:

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I believe that anything that makes a teenager realize they are part of something bigger than themselves is a good thing. Blessings on your house!

Elspeth

Caroline said...

Thank you Elspeth--and yes, I like that, realizing he is part of something bigger than himself. So well said!

Jeff Lyons said...

C:

Molotov...

He'll have to memorize Fiddler On the Roof. The Zero Mostel version... not the cheap imitations.

J

Jeff Lyons said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff Lyons said...

C:

I meant mazeltov... my yiddish needs some work...

J

Sorell Says... said...

How wonderful... the joy and the surprises.

xo G

Leora Skolkin-Smith said...

Mazel Tov!

Clea Simon said...

Mazel tov! Will you post photos, please?

Neil said...

I'm sure this is not the first time someone has become a man in that club!