The conception and execution: The Bar Mitzvah of my firstborn
A little background about me. I have been teaching Yoga for over twenty years, but my college degree is in Hospitality Management. I love travel and I love events. I am all about front of the house, presentation, and all the pieces falling into place. After the crazy year we have all had, lonely without each other, not being able to gather and celebrate, this was my opportunity to go all out. My oldest son worked so hard all year learning his Torah portion, it is what a 13 year old Jewish boy recites as he steps into his manhood, as our ancestors have done since the beginning of time. It was not easy learning to read Hebrew fluently, and also follow the musicality. With two magical men by his side, one rabbinical and one musical, he blew us all away with his deep voice and confidence directly from his soul.
We had a weekend of celebration of over eighty people per day. On Shabbat, Saturday services are holy and spiritual. The setup was elegant, black, white, and red. We found small coke bottles which were part of the centerpieces on each table, and people were transformed into their childhood, happy to be able to grab and enjoy. The food was all made by my one of a kind husband who has a gift and feel for the freshest and most delicious food. On our second date, he made me Israeli salad, and I was hooked, I said yes that day.
At first I was really connected to the meaningful and serious focus of the ceremony of accepting responsibilities as a boy becoming a man. I was not thinking of a party, because we are simple folk, believe it or not. Just music, dancing, and food was not what would be fun for my guy. Then our Rabbi said that I had to have a party, he suggested a barbecue. He said it would be something he would remember for the rest of his life, and the floodgates opened, no holds barred, nothing was going to stop my creative flow to have the most amazing event for everyone to enjoy together, just like it was before the world closed down.
Honestly with so many variants, I just had to let go and let G-d. Who knew if people would feel comfortable gathering, and if venues and vendors would be forced to close again. My husband handled all the food prep, made the burgers by hand, it was a meat fest. Steak, hot dogs, and chicken, as well as salad, fries, and some Israeli snacks called Bissli.
Now the process, oh the process, I am always fascinated by the creative process. It all started when my talented and brilliant sister in law wanted to gift us a candy table extraordinaire, and it was all that and more! Not only that, she has a background in hospitality, as well as my brother in law, so from the very beginning they were guiding us how to organize month by month.
It all started from the candy table, then I asked my son what colors he liked, black and red were his favorite. I had round tables of every color except yellow, and was so excited when I found the coolest tablecloths that you see above. With the black confetti roll, she started creating magic. The cool shapes in between are glass that someone was giving away, and I just wanted color, so I grabbed it! They actually hang, but the ceilings were so high in both venues, so excited they were put to use! I could not believe that every last ounce of candy was gone at the end. The room just came together, I had a vision, but it had to come to life in the moment. Shoutout to my parents, family, friends and community that made it all run smoothly from set up to helping it flow beautifully.
I wanted to create a carnival atmosphere that was fun for the kids, and I was thinking of a catchy name, and Soul Soldier came to mind. The concept was that we all have a spiritual side, soul, aura and a physical side, and we need to be connected to both. Inside was food, photo booth, candy, and a crayon caricature artist. Outside was target shooting, laser tag, barbecue grill cooking up all the goodies, and a snow cone machine. The kids had a blast, but I was also excited that the adults felt like they could let their inner child play and had a great time. It really all came together at the end, but the secret is you have to leave room for what works. It cannot be too planned, there has to be wiggle room. In Hebrew I call it Emunah and Bitachon, Faith and Trust, that is the only way I know how to exist. Fully present, grateful, and seeing all the connections, beauty and miracles in everyday life, Thank God!
My Bar Mitzvah Boy enjoyed his party weekend, and I am grateful that he let me get excited about all my ideas, and seeing them come together was divine.