The Talmud instructs parents that on the day of their son's bar mitzvah, they must make a feast in his honor.
That is a directive with which Long Island parents have never had a problem. The parties can be quite elaborate.
I ought to know, I survived my daughter's bat mitzvah. Times two. Each of my daughters celebrated the occasion in our synagogue's ballroom, with the same formality as might accompany a wedding. Some day I might share with you all the mishegas (craziness) involved in those parties.
This weekend, Drew and I attended a bar mitzvah, his coworker's son.
The religious service was on Saturday, and was very traditional.
The party, held on Sunday afternoon, was ... different.
It was held in a sports bar/restaurant. The dress code was jeans and sports jerseys. (I wore black jeans and a black shirt, and felt a bit "overdressed".)
Part of the party area was set aside for games -- air hockey, foos ball, some sort of basketball game. The TV screens were all tuned to the Yankees' opening day game in Tampa Bay, the Knicks/Celtics game and the match-up between the Islanders and the Sabres.
The food was very simple, but very good. Sandwiches, salad, onion rings, French fries.
Despite the unusual locale, the conventions were observed. A cocktail hour (they passed around sliders and pigs in a blanket), then the grand entrance by the bar mitzvah boy, his brother and his parents.
The boy's grandfathers were called upon to make the blessing over the bread -- blessed are You, oh Lord our G-d, Sovereign of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.
Then there was the candle lighting ceremony, the bar mitzvah boy dedicated each of 13 candles to the friends and relatives most important in his life.
The DJ played traditional Jewish music and we danced the hora. The bar mitzvah boy sat in a chair, and some of the men lifted that chair into the air.
(I remember, at my wedding, the feeling of flying through the air when that chair was lifted! I held on for dear life!)
Later, the boy's father made a toast, and the DJ played "To Life!" from Fiddler on the Roof. Then the boy danced with his mother. (And I flashed back to my wedding again, and dancing with my father.)
And, of course, there was the photo montage of the boy's life, the treasured family pictures.
We sat with Drew's coworkers, an interesting group, easy to talk to.
But the highlight of the party was when the DJ played "Paradise By The Dashboard Light". We headed for the dance floor, and we wound up singing along to the record, the men versus the women. And Phil Rizzuto's play-by-play ...
Or maybe it was how the DJ was handing out funny hats, glow sticks, bracelets, etc., and handed me a headband with cat ears...
The afternoon ended with coffee and cake, and hugs and kisses.
Great party, lots of fun.
life in and around NYC is insane
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- An unconventional bar mitzvah
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