The Mother of a Young Man

Cold Night in St. Paul

This was a BIG WEEK for our family, and I’m afraid it’s going to take me a few days to get my energy back.

Thursday after his last session with his Hebrew tutor, we went for a cold visit to our favorite park to see the beautiful, huge moon over St. Paul.

On Friday night Max participated in our evening services, Saturday was the BIG DAY when he chanted parts of the Torah portion Yitro.

Dessert Table!

Allow me to kvell a bit when I say, he knocked it OUT of the PARK!

Max’s singing of the blessings, his chanting, his whole demeanor was so poised and full of grace.  He absolutely glowed with happiness (or was that his very pale skin?) Max made us all very proud – himself included.

Gerry Now, and at HIS Bar Mitzvah

A Bar Mitzvah is a chance for a boy (Bat Mitzvah for a girl) to become a full member of a congregation by leading a service and giving a d’var Torah (a speech about the portion of the Torah he’s been studying.)

It’s a very big event, but it’s not about the party – it’s about claiming and celebrating one’s identity as a Jew, and learning enough to lead a service.  Which is exactly what Max did this weekend (and did it VERY well!)

Max’s portion was Yitro (found in Exodus) and is VERY special to our family.  It’s a great portion, lots of good stuff, and Gerry and I have always loved it.

Yitro, for whom the portion was named, was NOT an Israelite (not  “Jewish”) and that always appealed to me – the non-Jew in the family.

Yitro shows patience, love and intelligence when dealing with Moses and his organizational problems – which is as much as any of us could look for in a father-in-law!

And then Gerry alerted me to an unusual series of connections:

  • Yitro is usually pronouced Jethro in English.
  • Jethro was the well known son of Jed Clampett in the Beverly Hillbillies
  • My family are all from West Virginia [cue the banjo]
  • The part of Jethro was played by Max Baer Jr.
  • MB Jr. was the son of Max Baer, the first Jewish Heavyweight Champ
  • Our Jewish son is also named Max
  • Max’s Hebrew middle name is “Yitro”

Max & Friends at the Lunch

See – it’s all one big coincidence!

The Tallit & Kippot I knit were terrific – Max really loved them!  The extra-cold weather  made some things hard (the challah almost froze in the car) but folks here are pretty much inured to the cold.

Before we went into the service I sang a bit of “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” to him and he was ready to go up onto the Bima and shine!

Knitters & Knots

With the help of my friend Kathleen, Mavis from the temple kitchen, various Mt. Zion friends & my friend London, the food was ready and plentiful!  Thank you, everyone!

The dancing, the music, the balloons that got tangled in a big knot (good thing I had some great knitters to straighten them out!) are all one big blur for me right now.

With family in from out of town we were pretty busy with dinner last night, then this morning I had a meeting and then brunch with the New York gang.

Hannah, Max & Grandma enjoy the band

I loved seeing Max and Hannah dancing with their cousins and their grandmother – what a wonderful day!  Hannah and her cousin Matthew discovered a shared loved of Anime, and both kids loved spending time with their pretty cousin, Liana.

I think everyone went home very happy, but exhausted – I know I am!

It’s going to take me a few days to recharge my batteries and get my “spoons” back in my drawer.

But it was worth it – this was a once-in-a-lifetime event!

22 thoughts on “The Mother of a Young Man

  1. Where is the photo of the beaming Mother of the Bar, hmmm?

    Looks like a stompin good time.

    Oseh shalom bim romav u ya’aseh shalom aleinu
    v’al kol yisroel v’al kol yoshvei tevel v’imru amen.

    May the one who makes peace in high places make peace for Israel and all people, and let us say, AMEN.

    (Why yes, I’m showing off!)

    xoxo kay

  2. I thought (from films I admit) a Bar Mitzvah was somewhere between a Church of England confirmation and party that celebrated the transition from boyhood to manhood. I didn’t realise there was so much more involved eg, doing stuff in front of people. That really takes some nerve. Congratulations to Max for doing so well (I am of course just assuming you are not biased in the slightest ;D), he sounds like a real credit to you.

  3. You have been blessed with a beautiful family. Everyone looks great, but Gerry looks especially well. Love that 70’s crushed velvet tux – I remember those!

  4. Dear Annie,
    Congratulations on putting on such a marvelous event, and congratulations to Max for such a good job!
    My younger sister married into a lovely Jewish family, and she organized three Bas and Bat Mitzvas, so I have an inkling of what you have accomplished!
    And Gerry….how much it must mean to him to be part of it all.
    Bless you all,

  5. Mazel Tov! Lutherans have it so easy! My youngest will be “confirmed” in a couple of months, and all he has to do is go to sunday school (no learning hebrew, no doing ANYTHING in front of people – although for him it wouldn’t be an issue, no YEARS of study). No wonder a Bar Mitzvah is followed by a party….it’s taken a lot of commitment from the entire family to get a child that far.

    MUCH Happiness!

  6. Mazel Tov!! I know how much work is involved both from the Bar Mitzvah and from the family in planning (been there, done that!). It’s a wonderful accomplishment and a credit to Max and your family. Sounds like the day was wonderful and that Max will be a credit to our faith. Congratulations to you all.

  7. Mazel Tov!! How exciting! Max looks like such a young man now and it’s evident how proud you both are of him. I’m so glad you all had a wonderful time at the bar mitzvah too.

  8. Mazal Tov! Your description of Max’s bar mitzvah reminded me so much of the joy we experienced surrounding our son’s bar mitzvah. Many things were similar – Exodus (Bo), cold Midwestern day, friends and family who helped us make the day special and a son who had worked very hard, did well and made us so happy. One difference is that I knit my own tallis, not my son’s! His looks gorgeous.
    So, kvell for a long, long time. You’ve earned it.

  9. Thanks for the concise lesson. I have to admit I never really understood why the boy needs to learn and recite all that Hebrew – to LEAD A SERVICE DUH! That explains a lot to this old Catholic!

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