So here’s the first part of how the weekend went down.
Shabbat (the Sabbath) is celebrated by Jews from Friday at sundown until Saturday at sundown. We have prayer services on Friday evenings and on Saturday mornings. The main portion of the Bar Mitzvah is celebrated on Saturday mornings, but he still participates (this is how it goes at our temple, anyway) in a small part of the service on Friday night. What’s good about that is that he was able to get a feel for being up there in front of everybody before the actual “Big Day”.
The first time he went up there to lead a prayer, he didn’t speak loud enough and wasn’t close enough to the microphone: he was slighly nervous and freaked out. But he still did fine. When he came back to his seat I told him that he was fine but needed to make sure to speak up. He said, “My throat hurts.”
The next time he went up, he was much louder and clearer.
After the service (about 1 hour, 15 minutes), we have what is called an Oneg Shabbat. In English that can be loosely translated as “Eat, eat, eat…and socialize.” At our temple, people sign up to host them. The group of five families that we get together with for Jewish holidays signed up for ours, along with a couple of other good friends and they put out quite a lovely spread of food, along with Cubs balloons (that was to be part of his theme for Saturday’s party) on both ends of the table. It was really, really nice.
We hung out for a bit–and yes, ate and ate and ate…and socialized–before it was time to go home and get everybody into bed to get some sleep before the big day!