I don't remember much about my own bat mitzvah many years ago, but I do remember this: My father cried as he turned to speak to me after the conclusion of the Torah reading.
Jews are not immune to America's divorce endemic.
Let's face it. Every marriage between two Jews is an intermarriage. I'm not talking about the obvious ones, like a marriage between an Orthodox Jew and a Jew-by-birth who is not at all religious. Clearly if one spouse davens three times a day and the other spouse uses Mapquest to find her way to synagogue on Yom Kippur, a silver anniversary is not in their future. I'm talking about the rest of us.
What is the best way to move toward a new year? The Jewish method that calls for an intense review of the past year, or the American approach of entering each new year with a sort of reckless optimism oblivious to what has come before? It seems that the answer depends on whether or not one is a parent.
Despite our tradition that sets the 13th year as the start of adulthood, 13 is not the end of childhood or the beginning of adulthood. Instead, it is the start of a new stage -- teenager. Neither an adult nor child, a teenager is like Dr. Doolittle's Push-Me, Pull-You: Sometimes he seems to be pushing toward adulthood, and at other times he is pulling back toward childhood.
Last week at the Santa Monica Farmers' Market, I got a taste of what it is like to be an Israeli. Going about the ordinary tasks of life one moment, standing next to a corpse the next.