Doing the Bat Mitzvah shuttle

We just came home from a Bat Mitzvah.

I had three kids in the car. They make up the 8th grade class at Honolulu Temple Emanu-El’s SJS, besides the Bat Mitzvah girl. She had her own transportation.

I will take them to her party this evening.

There are only 4 kids in the class. My older daughter is one of them. Her Bat Mitzvah last January was the first for that class. A Bar Mitzvah followed last summer. The Bat Mitzvah today and a Bar Mitzvah scheduled later this month overĀ  Thanksgiving weekend will find the whole class completed in this major rite of passage. Two boys and two girls.

While a small group like this does not offer the busy social life of many Jewish 13-year-olds, filled with ceremonies and catered affairs on a weekly basis, it does offer the opportunity to forge close relationships between these adolescents who have been in Sunday school class together every week from 9 am to noon since they were in kindergarten.

Add in Wednesday afternoons for two hours of Hebrew school since fourth grade and these kids have spent a significant amount of time together learning about and being Jewish.

As I drove, my daughter talked and joked and laughed with these two boys, who are like brothers to her. I started to muse about her prospects of dating a Jewish boy or marrying one some day. I wondered which of the two boys sitting in the backseat of my car would make a good boyfriend or husband. I like them both very much.

They are very nice boys. I am friends with their mothers. And that’s when I stopped. I don’t want to be in-laws with my friends. She can meet a Jewish boy from another state when she is in college. Or maybe one will move here that she doesn’t know so well.

It did remind me of my youth and the Jewish boys I knew so well: Jon Sherman and Jason Oxman. We lived in the same neighborhood. We rode together and were in the same class at Sunday school, Hebrew school, weekend camp programs for our entire Jewish educations. Jon and I were in the same class in elementary school every year as well. We all went to the same high school. They were like my brothers. We fought like siblings and have remained in contact to this day.

I never would have dated either of them and I am pretty sure they would say the same about me.

So that’s where it stops.

I will let my daughter play football with these nice Jewish boys we know so well. They can go to parties and dance and lead services together with the Temple youth group. And I will let her choose her own dates as well. I’m pretty sure these boys will have her back and take good care of her like any brother would.

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