I have been trying to finish this post all week – apologies for the massive delay. I presume you’ve all been waiting on pins and needles wondering how the Bar Mitzvah went? No? Whatever.
So, there’s this family here in Nashville that I sometimes house-sit for, sometimes dog-sit for and sometimes kid-sit for. This family is Jewish. This family has a Bar-Mitzvah-age son (which I’m fairly certain is 13 years old). This son had his Bar Mitzvah last Saturday night.
I had never been to a Bar Mitzvah (or a Bat Mitzvah for that matter). And I was really not adequately prepared for the stunning hoop-lah that accompanies a Bar Mitzvah these days.
Here’s the deal: the mother of Bar-Mitzvah-Boy asked me months ago if I would be willing and able to be sort of a chaperone (me – a chaperone! ha!) at her son’s Bar Mitzvah in March and asked if Terah would also be available for said Bar Mitzvah gig. So, I’ve had this thing on my calendar for months and in the meantime I have been kid-sitting the younger brother of Bar-Mitzvah-Boy while parents and Bar-Mitzvah-Boy have been attending various Bar Mitzvahs on a nearly weekly basis. (I’m going to try to work “Bar Mitzvah” into this post as much as possible just for the fun of it).
According to the father of Bar-Mitzvah-Boy, his own Bar Mitzvah (like 30 years ago or so) consisted of cookies and Kool-Aid served in his parent’s basement. These celebrations have since morphed into grandiose wedding-reception-style events that have Jewish mothers frantically running around like headless chickens for months prior.
Terah and I arrived at the Hillwood Country Club promptly at 6:30 where mother of Bar-Mitzvah-Boy showed us around the extravagant lay-out. Okay, when I say extravagant, I’m not exaggerating. Seriously. They had rented out the enormously glamorous ballroom which was set-up at one end with a DJ on a stage next to a huge projection screen in front of a dance floor. The room was dimly lit with brightly colored dance lights shooting around the room to the sounds of thumping hip-hop music. Along one wall the buffet was set up with kid-appetizing food (like wings and quesadillas and BBQ chicken sandwiches and fudge brownies), an open “bar” and a cotton candy machine (which I just knew would become the bane of my existence for the evening). In the middle of the room there were tables festively decorated and along the back wall there were more tables set up for the photographers (yes, plural).
Okay, THAT was just the kid portion of the Bar Mitzvah! The adult scene took place in the Dining Room adjacent to the Ballroom which was separated with a row of large double doors. The adult dining area was elegantly subdued with a string quartet and no flashing disco lights. Their appetizers were passed around by smart-looking waiters and their buffet and open bar were set up out on an enclosed stone terrace adjacent to the dining room.
Terah and I took our places as the young, hip (in our own minds of course!) chaperones in the Ballroom with the approximately 100 teeny boppers and another dozen or so younger kids. Being involved with ACE mentoring, junior high career fairs and summer career camps, I pretty much know what to expect when it comes to teenagers. I expect a high degree of entertainment value! And we were not disappointed.
Imagine, if you will, a dance floor full of awkward 13 year olds. To do this, think back to your Junior High school dances. Okay, now further imagine that these 13 year olds are all white Jewish kids. Now imagine, and this may be difficult, the hordes of awkward 13 year old white Jewish kids dancing to Baby Bash’s Cyclone and Soulja Boy’s Crank Dat. Hee. Awesomeness.
The only non-hip hop song played all night long was at the very end of the night when Bar-Mitzvah-Boy’s mother insisted that they all dance to the Horah (you know, the Jewish dance where they put the guest of honor up on a chair and everyone dances around them in a circular pattern to the Hava Nagila song? Yeah, that one.)
Also entertaining were the slow dances (again in the hip-hop/thug genre) wherein the girls and boys engaged in the ever-amusing zombie dance. Oh you KNOW what I’m talking about! The position where each partner has their arms outstretched to their maximum length (go go gadget arm!) and tentatively wrapped around each other. They then proceed to sort of sway back and forth from foot to foot in a zombie-esque manner. So funny!
In addition, there was the group of boys who refused to dance and instead preferred to engage in pickle throwing contests, butter-knife fights, and general annoying 13-year-old boy behavior (this is where our chaperone talents came into play). Also requiring our chaperoning abilities were the dozen or so younger kids who were so wired from all the cotton candy, Coca-Cola, and fudge brownies, it was a challenge to keep them even moderately under control. At one point, after being informed that Bar-Mitzvah-Boy’s younger brother was going on his 5th stick of cotton candy, I banned all further cotton candy consumption, only to see a line of munchkins carefully sneaking their way over to the cotton candy vendor on hands and knees in a futile attempt not to be detected. I swear, that stuff is like kid crack!
So, there you have it. My first Bar Mitzvah.
Damn, those Jews know how to throw a party!!