i have had enough "cultural diversity experience" to keep me going for at least a couple of menstrual cycles. i attended my first ever bat mitzvah this weekend; i was hoping to be moved by the ceremony of a child becoming "woman", the transformation, the rite of passage, the hope, the potential, the, well anyway. the whole morning started off with typical female cries of "what the hell do i wear to a bat mitzvah?!" fortunately i have a pool of close jewish friends who were more than willing to share with me; "oh you, must wear stockings, you cant go bare legged into a house of worship, and no open toed sandals" (i thought this was california, land of the flip flop?) to "oh yeah, go for open toed and no hose, what does SHE know anyway, she hasn't been to temple in years". i opted for trousers and a rather matronly long sleeved, high necked t-shirt that had a rather serious, albeit funereal tone to it. i was a bit miffed when i got to the synagogue to see worshippers wearing blue jeans and a low cut top with cleavage so big you could see the veins on her mammaries!
my rating of "co-worker's daughter's bat mitzvah": i sat for almost 3 hours. the regular service was primarily hebrew, but thankfully it was chanted so it was nice to listen to. the people watching factor was somewhat disappointing after i tired looking at boob woman. i had high hopes for the old peeps and i'm glad to say they did not disappoint. i had a very scratchy, manly voice across the aisle kvetching about their swollen legs, and looked over to see a grandma, my first hope was that she was a transexual (imagine, my first bat mitzvah and a transexual in the audience!) naah, her raspy voice was more attributed to a chronic and lifelong smoking habit. i did get a giggle when she hissed at her husband (who was still standing and dozing off) to "sit down harold, the prayer is over" . the ventilation of the venue was not terribly impressive, as evidenced by the fart that lingered and lingered and lingered (not mine, remember i was surrounded by the infirm who had pretty loose sphincter muscles), and unfortunately it was one of those farts that was so thick and heavy that you could literally chew on it. hors doeuvres: 10 out of 10. we were given ghiradelli chocolates at 2 points throughout the ceremony (a metaphor for learning the torah as being a sweet experience), and then jellied sweets to chuck at the bat mitzvahee when she completed chanting her haftorah. now THAT is cool, i could mix some sugar and pelting teenagers into my religious services!
all in all an eye opening experience, it did make me reflect upon how immature i was at 13 and how mortified i would have been to stand up in public and sing in another language as i read the sacred text through coke bottle bottom glasses and lisped through my braces. oy vay.