It was beautiful.
Unsurprisingly, K did very well. She chanted her maftir and haftarah clearly. She read her d’var torah more slowly than she had in rehearsal (although still more quickly than would have been ideal,) and it went over well. I especially liked her conclusion:
“[Our Rabbi] told me that “Israel” means “Wrestles with God”, and Eema pointed out that the rabbis and Torah scholars spent most of their time arguing with each other over what the Torah did or didn’t mean. So what I’ve learned from this process is that part of my role as a Jewish adult is to continue to struggle with the Torah. If I argue with you, I may be being difficult, but I’m also following in the footsteps of Torah scholars of past generations. I’m ready for this: I’ve been practising my whole life.”
All I can say is that she’s a lucky kid to have been born into a religion that views arguing and debate as both important and potentially holy!
As you know, I worked pretty hard to make the bat mitzvah as beautiful and special as a zoom-from-home bat mitzvah could be. For brunch K wanted desserts, a waffle bar with toppings, and her favourite blintzes. It was way too much food to eat in one sitting, but it felt good to have a festive-looking (and abundant) spread to celebrate. I regret nothing. As a bonus, I don’t have to cook at all tonight or tomorrow. We’ll be eating waffles til they come out of our ears.
Perhaps the most special aspect of today was that seventy-five individuals and families joined us on Zoom to celebrate. We are so blessed in our family and friends; if we couldn’t be with them in person, we could at least see them smiling and waving at us.
By the time all was said and done, I put on my sweats and sat down with a cup of fancy hot chocolate (courtesy of waffle bar leftovers.) It’s been a good day.