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Bat Mitzvah

Following the funeral on Thursday, we began Friday night to observe my older daughter's bat mitzvah. This is a right of passage that Jewish kids usually make around the age of 12 or 13, in which they become a "child of the commandments". Although there are the 10 famous commandments, the Torah (Jewish Bible) actually has 613 commandments (imperatives), but not all apply to any one person. The term "mitzvah" usually is translated as "good deed" but technically it counts only if it can be connected to an actual biblical imperative. Forming such connections has kept rabbis busy for a couple of thousand years.

Friday night there was the usual service at our Temple but with the unusual attendance of some 200 kids around the ages of 10-15 who were participating in an conclave. I had the honor of arrnaging music for the service and I picked a lot of stuff they knew and could sing well. The experience was amazing. We had 5 guitars, a bass guitar ( Dave Jurgens), a flute, and piano. Having that many people sing enthusaisically was an overwhelming experience. My daughter didn't have to do much at that service.

Next day, Saturday, was her main service. She conducted Shachrit, read from the Torah and Haftarah, and interpreted the text. I had the honor again of helping with the music, and arranged for piano, flute, string bass, and clarinet to play. It was a service I will never forget.

Of course I'm proud of my duaghter for what she has accomplished. But following on the tragedy of just the day before, the support of friends and family was unbelievable. I had cousins here from all over the country, who were coming before they knew of Paw Paw's death, and their presence here helpd us through this rough time.

Congratulations Jessica -- you were amazing!


Mazel tov! What a wonderful experience to have you arrange the music for the bat mitzvah. I'm sure it was beautiful and moving. I am so sorry for your loss. What a bitter-sweet time. Please extend my condolences to your family.

Posted by: Dana Shear at February 23, 2004 1:01 PM

Thanks Dana!

Posted by: rkc at February 23, 2004 10:10 PM