Max's bar mitzvah is April 10. Am I calm? Kind of. The sleep deprivation has lulled me into a stupor. Thanks, Baby Ben! I'm also grateful for the people who've been lending a hand since we first started planning.
I knew I wanted to create a special ceremony for Max, but I wasn't sure where to start. Orlee Krass, director of education at Matan (a nonprofit geared toward educating Jewish children with special needs) met with us to brainstorm ideas.
I wanted to get Max a tallit (prayer shawl) from Israel. Paula, a longtime blog reader I've met in real life, was headed there on a trip and volunteered to go shopping. She and her cousin David hit a bunch of stores; we exchanged countless messages and emails until she found the perfect one. Her mother pitched in, too; Paula recently came home from work to find a voicemail message reminding her not to forget to mail Max his tallit.
My brother-in-law's sister bought a kiddush cup (a special cup for a blessing over wine) for Max in Israel.
I needed someone to crochet Max a kippah with his Hebrew name on it for the ceremony. A friend from college, Monica, saw my request on Facebook—and offered to do it.
I also needed someone to make a "Fireman Max" kippah for the party. Max's art therapist, Diane—who used to work with him in his old school and re-found us through this blog—Googled and discovered the Etsy store Judaica Art by Molly. Molly made an incredible one for Max featuring his favorite fire truck, #31 (big reveal to come, Max wants to keep it a surprise—unless you happen to stop by our house, in which case Max will make me bring it out to show you).
My sister proofread the invite list, and my best friends Wendy and Hedy proofread the invite. My mushy brain could not be trusted.
After we got the invites, they sat on the floor of our living room for weeks because I couldn't find time to stuff them into envelopes. Hedy and Jill, another college pal, came over and did the job. Ben offered moral support from the comfort of his swing.
I may or may not have asked Sabrina and a couple of friends she had sleeping over to put stamps on the invites.
I needed a photo of the logo for Max's bar mitzvah transformed into a vector (I am still not sure what that is) for a drawstring bag we're gifting kids. I crowdsourced on a local Facebook group. Some guy named Paul said he'd give it a shot. I emailed him the photo. Minutes later, he zapped me the vector image.
I needed to check out the suits Dave and Max had on hold at Lord & Taylor. My friend Paola—we studied together in Florence, Italy as juniors—came along. I hadn't planned to shop for a dress for myself. Actually, I've been dreading it (see: recently had a baby). Paola grabbed a dress off a rack and said it would be a good one for me. It was The Dress! Squeeeee! Now I just need to lose 10 pounds. Can I outsource that?
I requested recommendations for a good tailor on a local Facebook community group, and found a lovely woman who came to the house and helped alter Max's suit. My handsome boy.
Months ago I asked for ideas for a "mitzvah project" Max could do—a good deed in honor of his bar mitzvah. I got a lot of great suggestions, including one from Anony Mous who suggested that Max make a presentation at his school about fire safety. Max loved that idea. His speech therapist suggested he use both PowerPoint and his speech app, and we'll be working on that.
So thanks, all. We couldn't have done it without you.
And now: What should the baby wear to the bar mitzvah?!