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Monday, September 19, 2011

Bat Mitzvah

I started an adult bar/bat mitzvah class this fall at our synagogue.  The plan is that the adults in the class will have their own bar or bat mitzvah in the summer of 2013.  It won't be the same weekend as Caleb's, of course - his is June 8.  (I even asked him how he felt about me doing it and he said fine, as long as it's not the same weekend!) 

I've thought about this for many years, ever since Beverly and some of the ladies at Lev Ha-Ir had their adult bat mitzvah and it was clearly so meaningful to them.  Since I had the kids, I've thought about piggy-backing on their preparation, but now that it's here, I feel a little ambivalent.

I never felt especially strongly about not having had a bat mitzvah when I was 13, because even though it's an important rite of passage, once you've been practicing a religion for your whole life, it seems a little silly to go back and participate in a ritual that welcomes you into the religion.  I mean, I'm in the religion already, as an adult, so I don't really need to mark my passage into adulthood.  On the other had, it's never too late to become official.

The other issue is the cohort of people I'm studying with.  Theoretically we're doing this together, and I always imagined it would be like the group Beverly studied with - they clearly established a big bond.  But the group I'm with are mostly strangers to me, so I wonder if it will be that same bonding experience.

When we went around and introduced ourselves, and explained (briefly) why we were taking the class, one of the women said she wasn't "kosher" yet (she converted as an adult, so of course never had a bat mitzvah).  But I have to admit that I hate that attitude.  Hitler would have sent us to the gas chamber, so that's freaking kosher enough for me!  Again, I'm a Jew, I've been practicing and participating in Judaism my whole life.  I've explained it to people and represented it all these years.  I do not feel like I need a specific ritual to make me a real Jew!!!



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