family hopes to go from one celebration to the next focusing on all the positive
aspects of life. In the II-A family we are fortunate to be moving from Lila's
Bat Mitzvah to her cousin Benjamin's Bar Mitzvah.aliyah to
the Torah and the experiences surrounding it.
The cousins, who
were born six days apart and live on two different continents, both gained
so much from the experience of Lila's Bat Mitzvah, that they along with their
parents are contributing countless ideas towards Benjamin's
Benjamin's birthday and the U.S. calendar
helped us decide on the date of Ben's Bar Mitzvah. Since most of our family
lives in the U.S., we needed to position Ben's Bar Mitzvah to maximize the
chances that most of our guests would be able to leave work and school for
a quick trip to Israel. Fortunately, Benjamin's birthday and the three-day
President's weekend coincide. Now that we have set the date, Ben knows which
Torah portion to study and we can begin our work.
For me, the fun part was at hand. I
now had a reason to spend days dreaming up concepts, connected to Ben's Torah
portion, to Benjamin as an individual, to Benjamin as a member of a family,
religion, culture, history. Through free association I could devise thousands
of blueprints to create a meaningful, and yes, practical, Bar Mitzvah experience
for Ben and those around him.
parents we are keenly aware that this is Benjamin's Bar Mitzvah --
that it is his time to grow and take new responsibilties upon himself. Therefore,
the flavor of the Bar Mitzvah must reflect who Ben is and who he seeks to
become. The program surrounding his aliyah to the Torah, is supplementary,
a tribute to a 13 year old boy.
Fortunately, I have supportive, experienced
partners 24/6 planners
to help plan this not so simple simcha. Our constraints include: winter weather,
space/hotels, age range, interests, time and timeliness.
Benjamin is an avid cook, or shall
I say chef. He likes to grow herbs and vegetables. Aha! A tasty theme came
to mind: the ancient Nabatean
spice route would be an interesting route to follow, with stops at Mamshit
and Avdat. Not too long ago, a catering company recreated a menu based on
Nabatean foods. Perhaps they would cater our meal ...
Another idea we are exploring is that
Ben would read his weekday Torah portion on Thursday morning in a Cochin Synagogue followed
by a traditional Cochin Seudat Mitzvah (festive meal). From there
we could travel south to Avdat to learn about
Nabatean ingenuity. Spend an overnight in the area and join an archeological
dig the following day. Shabbat starts early in the winter months, and since
we do not drive on Shabbat, we would need accommodations not far away from
the dig. The area around the Dead Sea is wonderful in the winter and we set
out to explore options there.