I just can’t figure out how each ceremony I do becomes my favorite! I have so many favorites, I just don’t know how to classify them all, and this past Shabbat morning was no exception!
E&Z (names removed for privacy) – A brother/sister team that shared their special day quickly worked their little ways deep into my heart, bringing me to tears of joy and sadness as we stood on the bimah together at the end of their ceremony. I worked with E&Z for about 9 months. Every week, we gathered around the dining room table, and did our thing. Every week, E brought the most amazing enthusiasm and desire to please, while Z – a bit quieter and less interested in pleasing did his share.
It was actually strange, looking back, to realize that very quietly, somehow, Z’s interest took hold, and he began to change through this process. Suddenly, his work was done perfectly. His effort increased, his memorization and trope improved immensely, and I could see – he was actually taking pride in what he did. Both E and Z always strived to understand the material, and make it meaningful to them, rather than just accept at face value what they were supposed to be doing.
I especially enjoyed working on the 10 Mitzvot with them. They really took those personally, and I could see they began to mirror the lessons we were working on, and becoming even better and more responsible teenagers as they recognized they were becoming more accountable for their actions.
R – their Mom, well…what can I say? This woman runs her household with impeccable diligence, rules, structure, humor, and grace. There was always an upbeat air to her household, yet, you just knew that she juggles a lot. It’s not easy for a single Mom to handle the kids’ schedules, a job, and planning a B’Nai Mitzvah, but she did such an incredible job. At the end, she and the kids gave me an absolutely amazing gift that I just want to say thank you AGAIN for – another sign of her caring, generous heart and soul.
But – then…The event. She did such an amazing job. It was held at Jacaranda Country Club, and the room looked beautiful. The chairs were done in a lime green and turqoise blue, and it looked so beautiful. She had more than 55 kids, and 130 adults, so we were a full house, but it was warm, and you couldn’t help but feel the positive air as you walked in.
I made sure that I set the proper tone for the day. I knew I had a lot of Jewish and Non Jewish family members in the audience, and it was important that I made all of them feel comfortable and welcome. I reminded them that it wasn’t about how much (if any) Hebrew they knew, but about the positive prayer they held in their heart for Z & E, that mattered. We sang, we prayed, we laughed, and rejoiced, as the kids took their spots as adults in the Jewish faith, and in the eyes of G-d.
For me – it became another favorite, but one that will live long in my heart. Thanks, R, for sharing your beautiful children with me, and for giving me a piece of your family. I will cherish it forever!
Mazel Tov to The Family!