Memorializing Memorial Day

For me, Memorial Day weekend holds a lot of memory. It is the 8th anniversary of my Mother’s death and the anniversary (years before) of when my twin brother Marty and I had our bar/bat mitzvah together. This was when holidays were actually celebrated on the precise date and not the closest weekend or a reason to have a sale.
That year Memorial Day, May 31st, fell on a Thursday, which not only meant a national holiday but a day the Torah could be read. According to Jewish law, the Torah is only read on Shabbat Saturdays, Mondays & Thursdays.
At this at this juncture in time, at our temple, it was popular for girls to partake in a Bat Mitzvah, but they were still not permitted to stand on the bimah during Shabbat, the usual day for boys to be Bar Mitzvah. For girls, Bat Mitzvahs were held on a Friday night or a Sunday. Today, this is not as much the case.

So, we had a school holiday, I could stand on the bimah to do my reading, (not from the Torah) demonstrating my right of passage and Marty could read his from the Torah all on the same day.
My mother planned this, years in advance. It was a highly unusual to have twins become Bar/Bat Mitzvahed on the same day before we did.
I will always remember my mother for planning this. I suppose she was a trendsetter!

Words you may not know:
Bar/Bat Mitzvah – A coming of age ceremony and celebration where boys or girls successfully complete a prescribed course of study in Judaism, usually held near their 13th birthday.
Torah – The first five books of the Bible; the entire body of Jewish teachings
Shabbat – The Sabbath -the holiest day of the week and a day of rest
Bimah – A platform where the Torah is read

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