As my own daughter’s bat mitzvah approaches in June, I find myself in the ironic position of reading Mitzvah with a much deeper appreciation than in prior years, when my family and I were not wrestling with all of these choices ourselves. Having edited eight editions of Mitzvah, which comes out twice a year, I’ve published the following advice from parents whose children have recently had their bar/bat mitzvahs so many times, it’s a tradition!
Treasure this time, they always say in one way or another. Don’t get caught up in the party planning, they always add. Remember, what’s truly important is this special milestone in your family’s life.
And now, as if I’m hearing the advice for the first time, I think I finally get it. For we are caught up in the party planning, but, at the same time, there’s this wonderful undercurrent of expectation and joy coursing through the family. It’s fed by many thoughts and feelings: our pride in how much Elena has put into her Hebrew education; our happiness to have “a big day” to share with our dearest family and friends; and love and appreciation all around. Can you imagine the over-the-top speech I’m likely to give at the party?
I’m sure you’ll feel the same way, but before you get there, please take a stroll through this issue, which is full of wonderful and helpful ideas of both a practical and spiritual nature. A few highlights: We asked three rabbis to reminisce about their own bar/bat mitzvah experiences. Local mom Melissa Stoller reflects on how parents may use this special time in their child’s life to re-embrace their own connection to Judaism and even to their family. And legendary event photographer Sarah Merians shares her own daughter’s special day with us.
Go figure: My daughter’s d’var Torah happens to be about transitions. I wish you and your family much joy and satisfaction as you engage this one.