No, it’s not a joke with a punchline. I was recently invited to share in a friend’s Bat Mitzvah.
I am a little ashamed to say I have lived a rather sheltered Christian life. I grew up in a Nazarene Church. For a time during my teenage years I was exposed to what I can only describe as a doomsday Biblical Church. As an adult I attended a Nazarene Church for many years, and currently attend a non-denominational Christian Church.
There was this one time I attended Mass with my one Catholic friend. And Jewish? Well, I have eaten Latkes and Brisket…but that is as close as it gets. I read about other religions, but I haven’t had much personal experiences with different faiths other than my own.
So, when I was invite to this thing called a Bat Mitzvah, I was excited to learn more about the Jewish faith.
WHAT IS A BAT/BAR MITZVAH? It is the “coming of age” ceremony in the Jewish religion. The teen or pre-teen is considered an adult in the Jewish Community. For boys this is at 13-years-old, for girls it is at 12-years-old.
It was an honor to share this momentous occasion with these friends…even if I had no idea what they were saying because the ceremony was spoken mostly in Hebrew, with some English thrown in for us non-Jewish.
Mostly I was impress with the young lady, Sydney, at the center of her Bat Mitzvah. She spent countless months learning Hebrew. To speak in front of a room full of people, in a language she just learned…well, it’s impressive!
When most 12-year-olds are a little distracted these days, she had the determination to push forward, even when it got really hard. Maybe it’s the mother in me…I got a little teary-eyed just watching her, and she’s not my kid!
My take away from this experience is Jews and Christians have a lot in common. We may disagree on who Jesus was (and other points), but fundamentally, Jews and Christian believe and worship the One, almighty God. We both believe in extending love to one another, and our enemies. We live by forgiveness, grace, and the same moral codes.
Jews and Christians share a common heritage, after all, Jesus was Jewish. We have the same desire to have an intimate relationship with God. And, that is good enough for me.
So, if you ever have the chance to share in a religious ceremony other than your own, don’t shy away from it. I hope that you will embrace it, learn from it, and who knows, you may realize you have more in common that you thought.
Thank you my friends from allowing our family to share in your special day.
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LINKING UP with Holley Gerth’s Coffee for Your Heart.