I had the opportunity this past weekend to travel to Pennsylvania and New Jersey to spend a few days with a very good friend whose oldest son was having his bar mitzvah. Not only did I get to see a small part of the country I have never seen before, I got to spend time with a dear friend and her family, get my own personal rabbi (more on that later), and learn a ton about the Jewish faith (mostly the Conservative movement). Oh, and I actually got a little crocheting in too! All in all it was a pretty great weekend.
The reason for the trip was the bar mitzvah. Not being Jewish, and having never attended a Jewish service, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. But my hosts are an incredibly lovely family, and shared many, many tenets of their faith with me. It was truly inspiring to see the reverence, respect and love they have for the scriptures (and I am using my term). And watching a 13-year-old who is truly inspired by his faith was a wonderful experience. It was incredible to watch him during the Shabbat service and see how well prepared he was, both because of the efforts of his parents and his own efforts. The members of his synagogue also know how special he is because they all tried to claim him as their own! I don't blame them.
Now, how did I get my own rabbi? Easy. My friend's best friend is a rabbi in Boston. She came up for the bar mitzvah, and I swear it was liking finding a long lost sister. Oh, my goodness did we have fun. And it was so cool having not just really great people (my friends) to answer my questions about the Jewish faith and culture, but then I had a rabbi available to answer my questions too, and sometimes that was good because I stumped my friends. In fact, we were having such a great theological discussion on Sunday afternoon on the way to the party for the bar mitzvah boy and his friends, that I completely fell down on my job as navigator and we had to take the "scenic route" to get there. That's OK, it just meant that I got to see more of PA than I might have otherwise. We did, however, decide to limit our theological discussions to times when I was either making sure I was navigating or there was no navigation involved. I love that I've been invited to ask any and all questions that come up. Any time.
The crocheting that took place was also bar mitzvah related. I had intended to make some kippot for the bar mitzvah before I got out there, but didn't get around to it. I did get two made while I was there and they were a hit. Here they are:
And boy am I glad I can make these things pretty quickly. I came home with orders from the other kids for some. :-)
Here's me with my good friend SuperM:
And see? I really was in New Jersey!
Last very cool fact about my trip? My friend lives within walking distance of where George Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas during the Revolutionary War. How awesome is that? So now I can say I have seen one more important place in U.S. history.