As I sit in our little studio apartment in Tzfat, I often hear a delightful procession with some group singing and drumming and ululating, somewhere nearby. Ah! Here’s the shofar, too. And then they move on. It could be a bar mitzvah celebration trend that seems to have caught on lately here in Israel. Probably still mostly Sephardim, I’m guessing, but popular enough that there is an expectation that you will encounter these often enough here in Tzfat as well as Jerusalem. In fact, when we asked about someone we met last year who is a very talented photographer, we were told that he’s working now mostly as a shofar-blower for these kinds of processions. Hey, it pays the bills, or one hopes it does. We hope we can be employed bringing joy. En-joying. So why the drumming? Why the outward display of emotions? And the drumming itself definitely pulls in all the emotions. I could easily point out that here in Israel, children are spoiled so much because everyone knows what’s expected of them in the future, so be happy now. And maybe that’s over-thinking it. Maybe it’s because they are loved. Yes. But. Why the fanfare? Why the outward expression? Why does everything keep getting upped? Why isn’t the old kichel and fountain pen enough? As an aside, here’s a curious audio link presentation
from Alan Licht’s sound installation Today I Am A Fountain Pen, which consists of loops made from a tape recording of his actual bar mitzvah, to accompany his Epiphany.
Do we have to prove to the outside world that we love our children by throwing them a parade?