Thursday, August 26, 2010


We went to our first Israeli Bar Mitzvah1 today. That's not entirely true, we've been to a number of family B'nei Mitzvot here in Israel, but our family is... well... unique. Considering the family alone makes up the bulk of the guests, there's always someone to talk to. And y'know, it's family.

But surprise, surprise, this was pretty much like every other Orthodox Bar Mitzvah we've been to. Except it was Thursday, not Saturday. And the party followed the davening (prayers), rather than having to be Saturday night (due to various Shabbat restrictions). And despite it being Thursday, there were still Cohanim2. One of whom was a teenager - so cute! (Is it wrong to refer to a Cohen as "cute"?)

Otherwise, there were the requisite speeches, ribbing by the siblings, tears from the mother, musicians, photographers, videographers and dancin' fools. The main difference between this Bar Mitzvah, and those I've attended in North America? The instant the music started, the teenage BOYS were out of the chairs and onto the dance floor. Yes, the boys. Here, boys think nothing of dancing together and holding hands when they do it. It's a beautiful thing to see. They were even line dancing at the end.

Oh, and the other difference? The photographer was a) packing heat3, and b) while walking around the womens' section during the repetition of the Amidah4, was responding "Baruch Hu uVaruch Sh'mo" while snapping away.

Mazal tov to the family, mazal tov to the Bar Mitzvah, mazal tov to Am Yisrael!

1 - Bar Mitzvah/B'nei Mitzvot. Rite of passage for 13 year old boys. Girls have a Bat Mitzvah at age 12. Contrary to common thought, the Bar Mitzvah is the boy, not the event.

2 - Cohen/Cohanim. Members of the priestly tribe of Judaism. Descendants of Moses's brother Aaron, their responsibilities lie mainly in the Temple. Until the Temple is rebuilt, may it be soon, we keep them busy by giving them small parts in the daily services.

3 - Packing heat. Really? You needed a definition for this one? ;) Carrying a gun. Not at all an uncommon sight in Israel. Except, apparently, in Eilat.

4 - Amidah. Silent prayer, which is then repeated out loud by the person leading the services. During the repetition, the congregation responds at various points with "Baruch Hu uVaruch Sh'mo" (Blessed is He and blessed is His name")


Isobel Phillips said...

Eilatis already have enough heat, thankyewverymuch - we don't need to pack any more!

Minnesota Mamaleh said...

omg i love this post! witty, informative and a total and complete picture in my mind! thank you for a great read! :)

Altmans said...

MM, thank you for your effusive and enthusiastic comment! Chag sameach

Altmans said...
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