Human Family

This Saturday we went to my friend’s son’s Bar Mitzvah. For the longest time I debated whether or not to bring the kids. I knew it was going to be a long service (two hours)!, most of which we would not understand. I knew with absolute certainty that we were going to have tortured negotiations about what they should wear beforehand. “No, you can’t wear those cargo pants.” “Or that lurid shirt.” “You call this lurid?” “Yes. Yes, I do.” “Sneakers are not appropriate.” “Black socks, not white socks.” And I knew they would not be thrilled about having to miss their soccer games. They would have to miss their studio piano class too, though I was pretty confident they would find this far less devastating.

It was a beautiful and deeply moving service. There was much that was unfamiliar, and much that we didn’t understand. (The biggest shocker for my sons might have been the silky turquoise yarmulkes they were asked to wear)! But the bar mitzvah is all about the universal human experiences of separation and connection. The boy’s individuation from his parents is acknowledged and celebrated with their loving blessings, and in the warm embrace of the community that binds them together. I too left the synagogue feeling connected to a larger community of faith, and to a larger human family.

And since we were all dressed up…

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