Bar_Mitzvah_Western_WallI went to Israel for my first and only time about fifteen years ago.  I had an unexamined image in my mind of all the men looking like the one in black, above.  I’m not sure what I thought the women would look like, perhaps there would be none, they would be only at home.

While I found it interesting that there were people who prayed on the airplane in a somewhat public space, otherwise, there seemed to be little visual (or cultural) difference between Israelis and Americans.  Staying for a while with my boyfriend’s (now husband’s) family, I learned perhaps three words, one of which I still don’t know how to really pronounce, but remember it because it sounds like broke-a-toe.  As my now sister-in-law had three sons, I also heard the words for No and Yes a lot.

We were there for a bar mitzvah, which was not at all like any other.  The party  was outdoors, in the desert, at night.  There was a dance floor that was surrounded by palm trees, under a starlit sky.  We flailed around, my boyfriend stepping on my toes for the first but not last time, and my now brother-in-law made the most amazing cake that looked like a Torah.  It was a night that I never wanted to end.



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