Saturday, June 21, 2008

Service 6-21-2008

My first Bar Mitzvah ritual.  It was really very beautiful.  I loved how it emphasized and continually reinforced his new role as a member of Jewish society.  The Aliyot started with his peers, and went to various family members, gradually getting closer to the Bar Mitzvah boy, until eventually his parents were called to the bimah on the sixth aliyah, and the Bar Mitzvah took the seventh and final.
It was amazing to watch how proud of him his parents were.  I loved that he made a couple of mistakes, but corrected himself pretty confidently.  That takes guts and maturity, which are qualities adults definitely need.  It was clear that he did a lot of studying and preparation, which are absolutely vital to adult life.  He did very well.  I'd be terrified to do what he did, even though I think that I want to.

I was also struck by the speeches his parents gave about him.  His father talked about how he's always been a very determined person, and reminded him that it will take him far in life.  His mother talked about the idea of tikkun olam and always keeping the goal of making the world a better place, reminding him that it was not only a Jewish value, but a family value as well.

These things reminded me of well, firstly, that I don't know how my parents would react at my Bat Mitzvah (if I have one).  But that's mostly because of the Jewish label.  If they just talked about who I was, and who I am, they would be likely to talk about how I've always been pretty driven, but I've always held the same values that I find in Judaism.
In fact, I've recently realized that my years as a Girl Scout have very much shaped how I live as an adult, and I don't just mean my love for hiking and cookies.  The Girl Scout Law that my mother taught me as a little girl is still pretty paramount.  It's also a good way to ensure tikkun olam, I think:
  • -to be honest
  • -to be fair
  • -to help where I am needed
  • -to be cheerful
  • -to be friendly and considerate
  • -to be a sister to every Girl Scout
  • -to respect authority
  • -to use resources wisely
  • -to protect and improve the world around me
  • -to show respect for myself and others through my words and actions
That's really all I want out of life.  Well, that and a religion I can put my faith in, and that gives me the framework to base my choices on.  A girl can't live by "be prepared" alone.

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