Sunday, December 6, 2009

Literally or figuratively?!

So I took a little gander at the English translation of the Torah portion our daughter was assigned to learn and sing in front of the congregation (in Hebrew) to become a Bat Mitzvah.  *GASP*  How are we going to simply gloss over the literal meaning of some of these completely inappropriate and outdated concepts?!  For example, kidnapping, rape, justifiable murder by pelting with stones, marrying your dead husband's brother to insure the family name is carried on, stoning your own son to death because he is rebellious & disobedient, and cutting off the hand of the woman who grabs a man's private parts to break up a fight between her husband and his brother.  Oh sure, there are some great messages in this particular section of the Bible.  One exceptionally timeless message is that "finder's" is not "keeper's"; you should always try to return something you've found that does not belong to you.  After all, I am by no means an expert in religion or the Torah.  This section of the Bible contains 74 of the 613 laws or "mitzvot" G-d commanded to us.  I certainly do not understand them all, or what they should mean to me and my family.  However, I do know that our daughter is expected to learn to sing the Hebrew text of these 74 laws dictated in this portion of the Old Testament as it is written in the Torah.  I have conflicted feelings about burdening her with some of the inappropriate information it contains.  Does that make me a hypocrite?  I don't know.  I do know that there is a lot to be learned from the positive messages that this parsha contains though, so I suppose we'll try to put our focus on that.  I wonder how other parents have handled some of the age inappropriate texts their children have been challenged with.  This past Shabbat a set of twins tackled parashat Vayishlach for their Bar and Bat Mitzvot, which contains a powerful story of rape and revenge; I appreciated that our Rabbi said straight up that it is difficult, challenging, and sad to have to revisit such a tragic story year in and year out, but that we do it and hopefully learn from it.  Please feel free to comment here and share your experiences so that our family and others can learn too.
Here's a summary of the story: 
and here's a detailed translation:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Okay, I'll bite

I saw this on Twitter, so I guess I'll check it out...

Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah Directory: All you need to know from meaning to planning. -

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

WHERE do I sign up?!

Seriously!  I can't fathom skipping out on celebrating yet another life cycle celebration at our shul of four generations...  but yes, this would be quite an affair to remember! 

Also, after visiting the oldest synagogue in continual use in the entire United States...  having a mitzvah to remember there would be pretty darn incredible too!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


After a wonderful visit to the Virginia Beach area, I momentarily thought it just might be the most fun party ever if we could have it right there at Great Wolf Lodge!  However, it seems pretty unlikely that we would somehow be able to manage getting even a small bunch of 12 & 13 year olds without their parents across state lines to a very large hotel with a built in water park.  So I was then wondering how to manage any number of kids that age in a public restaurant or hotel where trouble might find them...  Should I be worried about this?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

We're already having fun!

Centerpieces, linens, and place cards - oh my!  We're actually having fun talking about all kinds of ways to add nice touches for not much money, crafting our own centerpieces, and creating unique place cards too!  We are throwing around ideas for changing the candle lighting into something that everyone can participate in, possibly.  We're looking forward to hearing more about what you are planning for your celebration, or what you've seen recently...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

But wait? There's more?!

Is the (not so large) budget supposed to include a Friday night Shabbat dinner for family, friends, and/or out-of-town guests?  What about brunch on Sunday? Did you do that too?

Sunday, October 4, 2009


So tell us...  of the Bar/Bat Mitzvot you've attended, what made the great ones fun & memorable, and what made the not-so-great ones, well, not-so-great?  What did you think was fun, tasty, classy, or creative?  How was it themed, decorated, and tied together?  What kept the adults entertained?  What kept the kids entertained?  Were the favors just for kids?  Were the favors cute, practical, useful, cheap, or wasteful?

Did you plan a Bar/Bat Mitzvah for your child and have a DJ, band, caterer, or idea that you'd like to pass on?  Or do you have one you'd recommend against using?  Please feel free to share your thoughts, ideas, referrals, and all that...  Thanks!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Candle Lighting

I realize that this candle lighting business is pretty standard around these parts, but it certainly wasn't the norm where I come from... I understand it as some kind of tribute or thanks to the special people in the Bar/Bat Mitzvah kid's life. Is that it? Is it something that the B/BM looks forward to? What about those called up to light the candles? What about all of the other guests who aren't called up? Is it something that some people choose to eliminate from the festivities? I suppose we could go either way with this; it would be fun to create some kind of personalized keepsake decoration for the candle lighting. It certainly has a lot of potential for humor too, but I wonder if it's something that people in general don't look forward to because it's too lengthy, too boring, and/or too exclusive.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The journey is just beginning...

Come with us on what will surely be an interesting journey. We're preparing for our daughter to become a Bat Mitzvah! We suppose that means we should be planning a party too! It's hard to know where to even begin. Our family is quite small, and being assigned the first date among her friends has its advantages and disadvantages. Who knows what kind of a celebration she'll want two years from now?! A family luncheon and a night time kids' party? A traditional celebration? Hotel or restaurant? Fancy or casual? Kosher or not? Candle lighting? Kippot? It's overwhelming for sure. We're hoping to stay somewhat calm and put together a meaningful celebration that doesn't break the bank!