This was it: today was Adam's barmitzvah! In the morning, we had the service and the torah call-up; and in the afternoon, we had a colossal lunch in the shul hall. All of this was at the conservative synagogue that my cousins go to, just down the road from their house in Newton Center. Adam did a great job on stage: read his portion very confidently, and gave a solid and well-intentioned speech. And needless to say, the lunch was scrumdiddlyumptious.
I remember that we went to the Goldsteins' synagogue, when we came to Boston seven years ago. It doesn't look much different now — very big and modern new building, and a warm congregation. For those of you that aren't familiar with it, conservative is somewhere in between orthodox and reform, as far as synagogues go: since reform is so extreme here in the USA, they have to have something in between. The conservative service is pretty similar to the orthodox one, prayer-wise: it's just that the men and women sit together, the women can read from the torah, they can use microphones and drive, etc. Personally, I think I'll always prefer orthodox — it's what I've grown up with, and it is "the real thing" (rather than a made-up half-version of Judaism) — but they certainly do a nice job here at conservative.
My dad, my uncle Ivor and myself all got call-ups, which was a cool little honour. We also got quite a big mention in Janine's speech at the lunch — more than we needed... but anyway. And also, Becca volunteered to do some reading from the torah as well, and she did an amazing job of this: seems that she's able to perform some full-on, professional-level laning. Not bad.
As well as the titanic buffet spread, the lunch was also made memorable by the great klezmer music band, that they hired for the occasion. The musicians were very lively; but even more lively was the crazy Russian guy in charge of the dancing! He wouldn't let us just stand around, and hold hands and look like idiots — like you're meant to do at a barmitzvah — oh no sirree, none of that today! We did elaborate run-ins, we did trains around the room, we did hat-dances, we did concentric rings — we did it all.