It was a lovely Saturday morning and we were all dressed up to attend a bar mitzvah at the famous Bialystoker Synagogue.
As a Christian, I wondered, “should I cover my hair? Can I wear a trouser suit to a synagogue?”
I had all these questions but it was an exciting adventure that my husband and three children embarked on. It was our very first attendance at a bar mitzvah [an our firs time going to a synagogue].
On arrival, all my initial questions did not matter. We were welcomed and shown a lot of love by our hosts and others in the synagogue.
It was an interesting ceremony. The men sat on one side; the women in the “Women’s Gallery.” My husband and son wore yarmulkes; the men had the tallit (prayer cloths). It reminded me of my days at my alma mater, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Apparently, during Shabbath (Sabbath) in orthodox Jewish synagogues, only men wear the tallit.
I observed the excellent manner in which the young lad read the Torah; the different intonations and pronunciations he used. It was magnificent to observe. I was quite impressed by reverence for the Torah, respect for the rabbi, the songs (Psalms) and more.
So, what else would you like to know about my bar mitzvah experience?
Do you know that after the young lad completes the ceremony, everyone gets to throw sweets at him as a sign of blessing? Well, we did and the kids loved it!
Facts about Bialystoker Synagogue
I had great hosts who told me a brief history of Bialystoker Synagogue. It is a popular New York City landmark. It was a Methodist church in the 19th century and a stop on the Underground Railroad.
Look at the picture above; there is a door [now covered] by that window. The door leads to an attic where slaves sought sanctuary. Thank God for emancipation.
And that is all I have to say about attending bar mitzvah for the first time. It was great and I am glad we were invited.
Question: Have you ever attended one? How was it? Please share.☺