As I’ve mentioned before, it’s nearly time for my third child to be called to read from the Torah.
For my first son, I was clueless. It didn’t help that we switched temples and so skipped several steps at our current temple that would have made things a great deal more comfortable. I wanted everything to go well, but in a way that is familiar to most of us who were not raised as Jews, it was sort of like dancing to music I couldn’t hear. The most difficult part was that I felt responsible for teaching my son that dance, too. Lots of other issues with my family came up… It was a miserable process from my part – BUT he did great. He was ready on time. He was comfortable during the service. He was a champ.
For my second son, I knew what I needed to do, but it was necessary to switch his date at the last minute. It was a scramble but he did great. He was prepared – with a LOT less maternal stress throughout the process. His party was fun. He was relaxed. It turns out it was complicated for him because many of his school friends didn’t realize he was Jewish until that moment – because he is Asian and they assumed he couldn’t be a Jew. Because I was more centered, I could support him in those moments when things felt complicated.
Now it’s my youngest’s turn. I not only know what I’m doing. I’m looking forward to it. The party is not going to be a huge deal. Her Bat Mitzvah Project is going to be the focus. She’ll celebrate with her friends because the preparation is time consuming and the process is intense. Some fun will be just the thing when it’s done. The unequivocally Jewish kids have already tested her to prove her Judaism, so no new stress there. I’m looking forward to going shopping for the fabric for her tallis this summer. She wants everyone to help tie the tzitzit – not just the women in her life. That’s fine with me. I’m excited to begin.