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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bat Mitzvah Envy

Today we went to the bat mitzvah of Rachel Emily Yu Lan Garfield Goldman, daughter of Alyssa and Bruce, my old friend from The Daily Targum @ Rutgers.

I really liked it. And though I embrace my Catholic faith, hold it close to my heart, I do notice rich traditions in the Jewish faith that are lacking in ours. For instance, all of the people the rabbi called up to the podium today for Rachel, who was adopted from China: her grandfathers, her grandmothers, her parents, her cousins, her uncles, her mischievous little sister, her peers. Surrounding her, supporting her, passing on their faith. Helping her, praising her, believing in her, being proud of her. Honoring the passage from one generation to another. And how wonderful that a young teen is groomed to speak before a congregation. Empowering. I would never have been able to do anything nearly so daring @ age 13. Standing up to address a crowd at Saint Mary's Church? God, no.

And: the mystery and magic of the Torah and the Torah ark, where the scrolls are stored so carefully, like treasures. The songs. The words. Shalom. The Hebrew names. The yarmulkes and the fringed prayer shawls for men. So mystical and timeless.

I also really enjoyed the lox and bagels afterward. And I thank Rachel Emily Yu Lan for the lessons I learned today. Go forth and do great things, Rachel.

Good night.

  1. Did not get a second bagel. Tried to listen to my tablemates, Sarah [Bruce's mom] and Ruth [her cousin], rather than race up to get more food.
  2. Nap. Needed one after last night, when Figgy had three friends sleep over and they were up really late, making pasta in the middle of the night, etc. [I found that out in the morning.]

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