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.