By Elyse Goldstein, www.parentingmovesu.com
To date, my family and I had the wonderful experience of planning two incredible Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah celebrations. Neither one was traditional.
For our older son Matthew, we chose to go to Israel to mark this milestone event. Matthew along with his best friend Sam became Bar Mitzvahs on Masada. My friend Debbie and I planned the trip and it was truly the experience of a lifetime. Twenty-six family members joined us, including grandparents! We hiked, participated in an archeological dig, and enjoyed each and every area that we explored. It was by far one of the most incredibly meaningful moments in all of our lives. The following year, Matthew reread his Torah parsha and we hosted a luncheon in his honor which included family and friends. We had a mentalist and magician working the room. He loved it, and so did the many kids, family and friends that attended. It was fun to do something different.
As incredible as Matthew’s Bar Mitzvah was, nothing could prepare us for what was coming next. On September 16, 2010 we celebrated another life enhancing event in our family, our youngest child Hank was born! Our daughter Emily’s Bat Mitzvah was scheduled for September 25, 2010, talk about blessings, this was one for the books! I had a really great pregnancy and our kids were so excited about the possible notion of having a Bris and a Bat Mitzvah in the same weekend. My husband and I laughed at the notion. We didn’t even know the sex of the baby and my amniotic fluid for some reason was high the whole pregnancy and the doctors thought I would deliver early. I didn’t even have a dress for myself. I refused to commit to wearing something maternity, adjustable or “tentish.” After-all, I figured that I would have a little time.
I guess we have to always believe in the power of prayer, and our kids must have prayed hard. Their WISH was ANSWERED! Our son Hank was born on the 16th with a little jaundice. As a result, the date of his bris was Sunday September 26th. Thus making this the “Bris Mitzvah” weekend.
The children who prayed hard for their Bris Mitzvah weekend!
Pictured clockwise: Bat Mitzvah girl Emily holding baby Hank, Matthew, Simon and Charlotte
Our family was thrilled, and Emily was beaming being photographed at her Bat Mitzvah with her less than two week old brother. I was in disbelief, excited, enthusiastic and recovering from a C-section. My friend Lisa suggested a personal shopper on the miracle mile for a dress and everything came together, I bought a dress off the rack and it was perfect.
The baby was only photographed with my immediate family at the synagogue, and then he was whisked away to the Lawrence Club, where Emily’s party took place. We were extremely comfortable with the nurse because we had her previously – that was a big load off of my head.
There were some mishaps that night and I was alternating between attending the party and nursing the baby (who remained upstairs in a bridal suite with the nurse) so there were some things that were out of my control. The evening was incredible and we arrived home at 2am, to get ready for our next event.
The bris took place at 9am in the morning, at our house and we used the fabulous balloon centerpieces from the night before, to give Hank’s day a festive flare. For months I heard that people were talking about our incredible weekend.
I am so glad to have shared this incredible story with Mitzvah Market, and remember, no matter how hard you plan, sometimes the unexpected happens. Ultimately, what’s important is that the people that matter are in the room to share in your celebration.
My father Hank Held, whom our son Hank was named for, always said, “Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed and sometimes what seems impossible to achieve becomes your finest hour.” I live by those words and cherish my 5 incredible children, my husband and our good friends and family.
Elyse and her husband Andrew with their 5 beautiful children
Mazel Tov to the entire Goldstein family and we thank them for sharing their special weekend with our readers.