Next June, my only daughter and eldest child will have her bat mitzvah. That made the editing of this particular issue of Mitzvah much more personal than in previous seasons. This time, I was my own litmus test for the issue’s helpfulness—and all I can say is that I’ve been flagging my wife all the time with tips and trends and interesting thoughts that our writers and subjects have shared.
I’d like to do that for you as well. It starts with Melissa Stoller’s wonderful story about where to start, and how to reconcile the spiritual path of the bar/bat mitzvah with the secular celebration that often culminates. I read the story and was inspired by a number of Stoller’s suggestions for how parents can help their children see the value of an active relationship with Judaism. I was also touched by the two children who share very personal accounts of their wonderful Mitzvah projects, and thought that the best thing I could do with that story was to pass it along to my daughter. My wife and I aren’t rich, but our children have never wanted for much (just what we refuse to buy them). I’d love to see Elena truly focus on people much less fortunate than we are and see where that kind of journey takes her.
The issue is full of helpful party planning ideas too, of course. Whether the subject is invitations or entertainment or where to have a celebration, we asked the experts for tips and trends and just plain advice for what parents should be considering. At the same time, we spoke with moms who have planned bar/bat mitzvahs. Not only do they have lots of good ideas, they have something even more important to offer: perspective.
As I write this note in early October, I’m reminding myself (again) that my family and I have yet to do much party planning beyond agreeing on a general vision for the celebration. This issue has reminded me that it’s time! Time to plan for real. Time to think about the kind of year I hope we have, and what this journey could mean to my daughter, my wife, my son, and me. I’ll update you in the spring.
Until then, my best wishes to you and your family.