Monday, March 01, 2004

The Bat Mitzvah Speech

Last weekend, the band played a Bat Mitzvah for a girl from an unaffiliated background. The child of a not yet religious couple, *Sarah* goes to public school and attends the local Chabad after-school program once a week. Most of the guests at the affair were not observant, so I was a little nervous when the rabbi stood up to speak. I've been present at too many speeches where the rabbi didn't realize his listener's background and gave a speech that was geared towards a different audience.

This young Chabad rabbi nailed it, though. He presented *Sarah* with an inscribed siddur, and spoke simply but eloquently on what a siddur means to a Jew. No complicated lomdus, no incomprehensible pilpul, (no messianic prosletizing). The speech was simply a statement of faith in the Jewish people and confidence that *Sarah* would continue to grow in her relationship with God and Torah. It was a tremendously powerful moment, and this rabbi helped to ensure a memorable and meaningful Bat Mitzvah through the combination of a heartfelt speech and a deeply meaningful gift that is sure to be treasured.

I love playing these types of events. The music is more traditional and the band gets to play lots of great songs we don't get to play that often in Brooklyn. We played a full affair without playing any music by Avraham Fried, Dedi, MBD, Shloime Dachs, Yisroel Williger, MBC, etc. No Chazak! No Kol Dodi! No Yehei! Our play list for the evening included older Israeli dances like Ma Navu and Tzadik Katamar (they'd hired a dance leader), a little Klez, a few Chassidic nigunim, and some Carlebach melodies. The people were extremely pleasant to work for too.