Jewish · slice of life

Thinking About 2024. #SOL21

Isabelle’s Hebrew School class has been talking about B’nai Mitzvah for the past few weeks. It’s the focus of their time together on Sunday mornings this semester. This morning, our Rabbi spoke to Isabelle’s Hebrew School class about having a Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Parents were invited. Isabelle invited me to sit alongside her while Marc zoomed in from the kitchen since someone had to watch Ari.

Our rabbi invited some of the parents to speak about something they remember from their Bar/Bat Mitzvah. I raised my hand and recalled trying to make a connected between my Torah portion and the world in 1990. Then, our Rabbi tried to assuage some of their fears (e.g., standing up in front of the congregation to lead the service) about the big day and what it entails. He spoke of some of the requirements. He invited parent questions. He assured the children that he would push them to take on as much as they could handle for their Bar/Bat Mitzvah, but he wouldn’t push them to the point where they’d feel embarrassed about leading any part of the service. Isabelle told me that hearing him say that made her feel better about what her Bat Mitzvah might look like.

There was a lot to take in. We still have a lot of decisions to make about where Isabelle will have her Bat Mitzvah (i.e., We’re entertaining the idea of going to Israel if she sees it as more than just a vacation.), when she’ll have her Bat Mitzvah (i.e., in the early spring of 2024 rather than the wintertime since I don’t want to deal with snow), and who will attend her Bat Mitzvah (i.e., will it be a small family affair or will she want to have a bigger celebration).

Right now, we’re talking. We’re not making any decisions. We are in the beginning stages of figuring things out. We have a year until we have to really make a decision. So, as much as Isabelle wants to know when/where it will be, Marc and I have decided that this is something the three of us need to discuss and decide upon together if we want it to have meaning and value to her. What we want may not be what she wants. (And, quite frankly, she doesn’t know what she wants yet.) We’ll get there…

But, honestly, as I was sitting on Isabelle’s bed, watching our Rabbi talk to us via Zoom, I did a double-take. How did my baby girl grow up so quickly? It feels like just yesterday that we were planning her Simchat Bat (i.e., Blessing of a Daughter ceremony at our synagogue in Harrisburg). In reality, it was nearly ten years ago! Now, we’re starting to think about her Bat Mitzvah, which will be in three years.

As the saying goes, “The days are long and the years are short.”

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10 thoughts on “Thinking About 2024. #SOL21

  1. Wow! I don’t think I realized that you would have to start planning so early. There’s a lot to think about! And yes to the speed at which they are growing. Blink of an eye!

  2. Stacey, how wonderful it would be to go to Israel for Isabelle’s Bat Mitzvah! It is a great idea! I cannot believe it is only two years away – time has passed so quickly. You made me think about how lucky I am to have all of you in my life. I miss our Lancaster get-togethers and cannot wait to resume them this summer. Our friendship is very important to me, and of course, I adore your kids! So much to think about and plan!

  3. I know very little about Bat Mitzvah. (Think: movie viewing version only.) As I read I thought about how religious ceremonies like this keep parents focused on how they raise their children. We can all learn from such intentionality. Three years seems like a long time, but it will pass quickly.

  4. It really passes much too fast. I appreciated this Slice especially because I know all about Bar and Bat Mitzfahs, as I grew up in Squirrel Hill PA with all Jewish friends and feel very spiritually connected to the culture. I probably went to 15 when I was a kid and remember them clearly. I loved reading about how this thinking process is landing in your family right now, and am right there with you: the years pass in a blink, but each day sometimes feels like an eternity. TY so much for sharing. XXX

  5. This seems unbelievable to me, too, and I only know Isabelle through your Slice of Life posts; I think of her as a preschooler! (And Ari, too!) Yes, you’ve got me singing, “Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset,” just thinking about this. What a beautiful stage of life to greet together as a family – enjoy this thinking and planning with your dear girl!

  6. I saw your teaser and thought “WHAT?!” She’s still a little kid in my mind! (Although I feel a little better knowing it’s still several years away, it’s still incredible that she’s even at the stages of starting to plan it! Also, I had no idea they were planned that far in advance!) I always enjoy learning about your faith & culture from your slices!

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