Erez Shuman's Bar Mitzvah - June 8, 1996
It's hard to believe, after all the planning, and cleaning and cooking, and a bit of worrying, that Erez's Bar Mitzvah has come and gone so quickly. It was a great day, and we will always have the memories, but it went by so fast.
For Friday night dinner we were 26 people - and we ate at Jodie's parents' home. Jodie had done most of the cooking on Election Day, and froze the food. Family attending the dinner included my parents (who stayed with us for the weekend), Jodie's parents, her sister, Ellen and husband, Amiram (who by a stroke of luck got out of reserve duty in the army for the weekend), and three small children, sister Laura, brother-in-law Joel (Brenda's husband) and his new wife, Chaya, and friends from Kibbutz Yahel - two families (five each), who stayed in Jerusalem but joined us for the festivities. Dinner was scrumptious - to say the least. Erez said the prayer over the wine - using his new silver kiddush cup (gift of the Kaufmans).
All the Shumans were smartly dressed for the weekend. Erez looked like a real handsome young man - in dark shoes (size 42 and rising), light slacks, blue shirt and black tie. Raute and Merav and Jodie had new outfits as well - I had a new off-pink shirt.
The main event was Saturday morning - and of course the Shumans were among the earliest arrivals at services, which started at 09:00. Erez was wearing his beautiful new tallit (a prayer shawl - gift of my parents) and had the tallit bag which my mother had made - exquisite. Services were services, until of course, the Torah service - where the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) is read, and men are called up to say blessings. These blessings were divided up among the male members of the family - Amiram, Joel, then me, Jodie's father, my father and Shlomo, my sister Judy's husband. One blessing was given to the moshav member who had prepared Erez for his Bar Mitzvah.
Erez was called up to the Torah for the last blessing. He then read from the Torah. Afterwards Erez chanted the portion from the Prophets. Erez's voice was loud, his chanting steady. Everyone could hear, and was amazed at his mastery of the portion. His teacher later said that Erez was his best student ever. Okay - so the Shumans can't always carry a tune, but Erez filled his portion with melody and confidence. Erez had said that he was a bit nervous (he even walked in his sleep a bit the night before - something he never does), but the nervousness fell away. Jodie and I were so proud of him, as were his four grandparents, and gathered aunts and uncles.
Candies were thrown at the young man, as is tradition, and the children raced around filling their pockets - it doesn't seem that long ago that it was Erez gathering up the toffees.
After services a reception was held outside, with a plentitude of home-baked cakes from moshav members (we got the leftovers!) and soft drinks.
At 12:30 we gathered at the hotel. First some quick family pictures. Then many additional guests arrived - who had not attended services. Jodie's mother has many cousins in Tel Aviv, and also Shlomo's family arrived. We had originally planned to hold the luncheon in the hotel's new restaurant, but it is still not finished. When we moved into the Negev Hall (which is very nice - new curtains and furniture) we had to change from a buffet to a served meal (this later saved us money). The hall was set for 100 (the restaurant would have allowed a buffet with 120), but there were a few last-minute cancellations (some friends we had hoped would attend). So, the meal was served to 85, but everyone was comfortable.
On the tables were three salads - including grape leaves soaked in wine (very good!). The warm first course was a pastry stuffed with mushrooms. The main course was a choice between Thai-style chicken breast or roast beef in vegetable sauce, with Chinese rice and baby carrots. Drinks included red wine and different juices. Dessert was chocolate mousse, followed by Bar Mitzvah cake (shaped like a computer - but the keys, which showed the alphabet - were missing the letter H!). The food was good, not as special as the buffet we had originally wanted, but certainly filling.
Jodie and I said a short speech - in rhyme. Then Erez spoke, repeating in part a talk he had given in his class during the week (when Jodie and I had attended) telling of Moses sending the twelve spies to scout out the land of Canaan.
Erez received many presents, and is a wealthy young man. He is already enjoying the stereo system we gave him, complete with the first CD player in the Shuman home.
Today - it was back to school and work - but Erez took the day off. After his big day, he deserved it!
Hope you could get just a bit of a picture of this special day.