Three days till Mark's bar mitzvah. When all is said and done, I think Jim and I have done a pretty good job of keeping it meaningful, of not letting the keep-up-with-the-Joneses mentality take over. Of course, I think we're putting on a party we can be proud of, and I think we'll all have a good time--some family will be here that we haven't seen in over a year, we've hired a DJ the kids will enjoy. Yet I think we've managed to remember that the point of the event is not a party, but an embrace of Judaism.Of course, sometimes I think about the ironies--that, though Jim is a Jew and I am a Christian, I was the one who has organized most of the bar mitzvah. In fact, I have been the one who has insisted on us trying to raise Mark with some religious identity. I think Jim would have been happy to let it slide. Date: 10-7
Having a good time with all the family in. I hadn't seen Lisa and Steve in two years, almost. We went to Friday night services, Mark led the kiddush, and then most of us came back here.I think Jim is reminiscing about his own bar mitzvah. Amazing that it was almost four decades ago that we were teens, heading off to high school. I was confirmed at about this age. I never would have dreamed that 40 years later I would be hosting a bar mitzvah for my son. Date: 10-9
The bar mitzvah was a success, more moving than I think any of us anticipated. Mark did wonderfully! And the party was fun. I felt really included in the ceremony. Jim and I went up to the "bimah" [reading table in the synagogue] to do a joint "aliyah" [honor involving the recitation of prayers before the torah]. Some of Jim's cousins, who never approved of him marrying a shiksa in the first place, were taken aback to see a non-Jew participating, but I felt it was really Godly. The Torah is my Bible too, after all, and I was proud to be able to participate in my son's ritual.This morning, after many of the relatives left and Mark was still sleeping, Jim and I sat at the kitchen table. He took my hand and said, "Thanks for making this all possible. I know it couldn't have happened without you--without your spiritual and emotional support, as well as your organizing the party." He acknowledged that sometimes he dragged his feet and let the burden of making his son a Jew fall on his Christian wife, and I knew that he appreciated all I'd done.