Ariel was born in the same hospital and the day before my own son. Ariel's parents were the first people to come and say hello after I had given birth and in fact it was Ariel's parent's who introduced Mister Handmade in Israel and I! With all this history I was therefore very happy to create an album for his Bar Mitzvah on his Mum's request.
Ariel, she told me, is a competitive swimmer. He loves dogs, apparently does amazing card tricks, plays the guitar, has a Kindle and loves cooking pizza. He also has a cheerful smile!
I decided to show him wearing his white swim t-shirt with the JO - Junior Olympics 2013 - badge, which he received for swimming in that particular meet. Ariel has goggles on his head, a fan of cards in one hand and his dream guitar in the other. You can just see the colourful red and orange of his favourite kippa (skullcap) on top of his head. A Kindle can be seen to one side of him, as well as his yummy home cooked pizza. On the other side a dog is keeping him company.
The Hebrew lettering on the cover displays his name, the word "Bar Mitzvah" and the date of the ceremony.
I decorated a few pages inside the album too. Each page has a tallit (a Jewish prayer shawl) on it. In addition, the first page was devoted to Ariel's interest in fishing and has a rod and a little orange fish on it. Then I added another guitar - the one he apparently dreams about getting - and a picture of Ariel swimming. Next I created some teeny tiny origami pieces - another interest of his - and finally devoted a page to his tefillin (also called phylacteries from the Ancient Greek phylacterion, meaning "to guard, protect") because Jewish boys start wearing them one to two months before their thirteenth Hebrew birthday.
Ariel and his family are currently living in the U.S. but came home to Israel to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah. When she saw the album I had made for Ariel, his Mum sent me a wonderful message telling me that she thought it was amazing!
It was fabulous, 13 years on, to hear Ariel read in the synagogue and then to be able to celebrate both our boy's Bar Mitzvah's together. An expression that Jewish people often use when saying goodbye to each other after a happy event is Rak B'smachot ("only on joyous occasions"). It refers to our wish to be able to see our family and friends only at celebrations and preferably not during sad times. That saying seems an appropriate way to close this post. May we all only meet on Bar Mitzvahs!