It began like this. No clean clothes. What will I wear? I had to put on one of my few business outfits. I felt a little disjointed. After all, the only shoes that go with the outfit are high heals. Surely you know high heels and Kimber do not go together. I put them on anyway. It is a big day. B'nai Mitzvah for Yoshi and Neshama.
I know this will be a big deal. I know they sought more than the memorization that bar/bat mitzvah transition sometimes turn into. I know this is a concern of theirs. On some level.
The service was beautiful. Rachael did a great job leading Psukei. Her children were on the bima, quietly rolling around, like they knew they were welcomed as long as they had their quiet voices on. And they indeed had their quiet voices-big-smiles-full body rolling on!
Heidi. New dress that she looked awesome in. She led Shacharit and it was the best I have ever heard her. Ever. She also led Musuf for I believe the first time. Can you spell s-u-p-e-r-w-o-m-a-n? The glow she had on the bima was one of confidence, beauty and ability.
Interspersed with that, Neshama and Yoshi confidently led different parts.
Rachael and Heidi, in addition to leading parts of the service, read Torah. Rachael, who is always extremely nervous just before reading, read beautifully. Her voice was rich and calm. Heidi read an extremely long passage in record speed.
Each section davended built upon the other. And then there was the d'var Torah, the teaching shared by the B'nai Mitzvah. Usually this part can be a little dry as the person tries to connect the Torah portion to the Haftorah portion to one's life experiences.
This was different.
This was different. (Yes, that is written twice for dramatic effect.)
Yoshi started. It was a vulnerable interpretation of the parsha. As he read, I could see truth and struggle written all over his face and could hear it in his voice. I was deeply moved, as were others in the room. The kind of self-examination he extracted from the story of Korach was something so identifiable that I noticed I wasn't the only one affected.
Neshama's written piece was an artistic, realistic and idealistic interpretation. I love how she put affirmations within the body of what she read, whether intentional or not. She also splashed her words with self-examination. In the end, as is the joy about Neshama, she wrapped life and love up neatly with bow and left us all feeling hopeful.
In the middle of all this was that our chavurah, who has struggled the last year with finding time to study, balancing friendships within the group, and moving forward with our own personal journeys, as well as having to face the reality that our two teachers, mentors and good friends, Rabbi Neal and Carol Rose, are leaving. At one point, we are all on the bima, together. It brought tears to my eyes. Here we are. Together. Supporting Neshama and Yoshi. It doesn't get much better than that, my friends.
It turns out to be an emotional service. We are all touched. We are all connected. We feel when we daven. We understand the purpose of communal prayer. Thank you, Neshama and Yoshi. Thank you.