Tradition is well so traditional. I don’t consider myself a traditional person at all but there is something about traditions. Traditions can be anything from making sure that you never change the Thanksgiving meal to making brisket every year at Rosh Hashanah to wearing the same shirt to the Jet game every Sunday.
Recently my niece had her bat mitzvah. I did not have a bat mitzvah but for many reasons we decided that our children should each have one. Watching each of them go through the process at 13 years was incredible. Between all the homework, the friends, the sports, their day to day lives they also had to prepare and study to be a bat mitzvah. There is something about the process that is empowering.
My brother talked about the tradition of Jews doing this for thousands of years and it really stuck with me. It forces each 13 year old to learn how to speak and read Hebrew (essentially that was their only language thousands of years ago). Then you have to get up in front of the entire community and prove that you can read and of course sing in Hebrew.
We are reformed Jews so our connection is more about who we are not so much about going to synagogue. Yet as I get older and go to these events I do realize the importance of tradition. Carrying that torch from generation to generation is important. I am not sure that all three of our kids are thrilled that we “forced” them to do a bat/bar mitzvah but in hindsight I believe as they get older they will truly see the value.
As Teyve spoke and sang about it on Fiddler on the Roof….tradition also keeps rattling around my brain.