The big bar mitzvah weekend is over. Good food, nice people, and a margarita machine, plus nice swimming and relaxing at my dad's house in between events. Not a bad way to spend a weekend.
I thought the services were pretty interesting this time. I grew up Catholic, and synagogue is a lot different than mass. The bad part is that it's three hours. The good part is that you can talk quietly and get up and wander around a little if you're so inclined. It felt strange to talk and laugh. When I was growing up it was implied that if you talked in church, the priest would kill you...WITH HIS MIND, and you would then fry in hell for all eternity or the time it takes to complete a Shabbat service, whichever runs longer. Ba-da-dum!
The Hebrew makes it hard to follow, although an English translation is provided. This time the reading was mostly a string of luridly horrific curses from Deuteronomy, each more brutal than the last: Endless drought, plagues of incurable hemorrhoids and boils, women eating their babies and afterbirth.
I usually zone out during religious services, but I followed along avidly on Saturday. The descriptions were so over the top, plus I thought it would come in handy if I ever need to call down a rain of locusts or inflict a full-body sore on some jerk.
The curses were so violent and awful that they have the most upstanding person they can find read them very softly and as quickly as possible to mitigate their impact. I wondered what my little cousin made of the whole thing as he studied the passage in bar mitzvah class. Hemorrhoids, boils, anguish, misery. Welcome to spiritual adulthood, kid!