My best friend and I are complete opposites. I still recall her first bris, to my utter shock (and horror)! She finally had a son after four gorgeous girls. Her husband and she are what us Israelis endearingly label “clueless Americans”. Just the idea of putting together a bris in Israel overwhelmed them tremendously. You know, calling up Simcha halls, photographers, caterers, balooners, you name it. In the end, they called up their Rabbi when the baby was an elderly 6 days old and asked him to arrange the whole thing- in his house! Luckily, their Rabbi is a go-getter jack-of-all-trades kind of guy who whipped up a memorable (and delicious) bris right in his little downstairs synagogue.
Yeah, so that type of thing is totally not for me! I looooove anything and everything fancy, elaborate, eye-catching, breath-taking- you get the point! I am now “Erev-Bar Mitzvah”, with my third son’s bar mitzva less than a month and a half away. We Israelis tend to wait till the last minute when it comes to wedding and Simcha planning, but I don’t want to wait too long!
I find that my life now revolves (even more than usual!) upon constant phone calls, e-mails and WhatsApps. The Bar Mitzvah preparations are honestly all I think, breathe & dream about!
Where to start? Let’s talk balloons- I received several referrals from a few Post-Bar-Mitzvah friends. It’s so hard to choose when each balloonist seems more talented than the next! The newfangled balloon creations that these women come up with just blow me away (hahaha- get the joke?)! What about the cake? I absolutely need Avi’s cake to be at least three layers with an edible chocolate Tefillin decoration. Here too, I asked several bakeries to email me photos of their most delightful Bar Mitzvah cakes. As for the catering- several highly-reputed glatt kosher caterers sent me mouth-watering photos of party food- why do they always send them at meal-time? I wish they’d each send me free samples of every dish on the menu. That would definitely save me some time in my rush against the Bar Mitzvah clock!
One of the best things about hosting a Simcha is buying new outfits for the children (and myself). Choosing a color theme for us all is lots of fun and the adorable fashions available today in the malls are to die for. I remember a time when mothers of young daughters were the only ones who had anything to get excited about because all the little boy outfits were so bland and boring. Not anymore! Boys can be fashionistas as well in the year 2017.
My two eldest sons’ bar mitzvahs were held in the posh Chafetz Chayim moshav hotel, a sprawling picturesque green haven of nature. We invited our extended family and closest friends from the synagogue. However, quite a few members of the congregation felt very hurt when they weren’t invited. In order to make everyone feel included this time, we decided to make a large Kiddush for the entire congregation in a hall a block away from shul. When we originally made this decision, we didn’t realize just how many tiny details we’d have to take care of! )Making hotel Bar Mitzvahs was very costly, yet we weren’t responsible for all the nitty gritty details… This time we are!)
Wait a sec! I’ve been going on and on about my thoughts on all the preparations and I totally forgot to mention Avi, my delicious Bar Mitzvah boy!He’s very excited about the whole thing- the Shabbat synagogue cenermony, the festive meal afterwards- you name it! He’s been taking group Bar Mitzvah lessons for the past two months and is so thrilled. It’s so cute to see him walking on clouds, muttering verses from his Torah portion under his breath!
Lucky for me, my husband is the founder and owner of the ajudaica.com website, showcasing tens of thousands of Judaica items. Avi’s Tefillin will be hand-written by his uncle Aaron, aJudaica’s main sofer. He is a lefty, so he will be wearing his tefillin on his right arm. As for his Tallit, Avi chose a blue Jerusalem Yair Emanuel hand-emboidered motif. Although we live in Elad (central Israel), he feels very connected to the city of Jerusalem and makes sure to visit the Western Wall at least once a month!
My parents will be surprising Avi with his first shofar- a stunning Medium Yemenite Polished Shofar. Avi’s daily Torah-learning sessions will be greatly enhanced by the gorgeous book-holder that my in-laws will be offering him: the Filigree Silver Plate and Wood Tabletop Shtender. They will also present him with something stylish, yet spiritual- Golan Studio’s Shema Israel Silver Bracelet.
As you can tell, all I can think about is the Bar Mitzvah and all that it entails… But these exciting milestones, although tiring at times, are what give flavor and zest to our lives!