When I was 13 and 14, there were a lot of jokes about my bar mitzvah and my grandparents, and then when I got older, it became more about touching boobs and trying to get liquor. I kind of ran the gamut of infantile behavior and I haven't moved one step forward since.
I was Jewish, through and through, although in our house that didn't mean a whole lot. We never went to synagogue. I never had a Bar Mitzvah. We didn't keep kosher or observe the Sabbath. In fact, I'm not so sure I would have known what the Sabbath looked like if it passed me on the street, so how could I observe it?
When 1:45 came, half the class left, and Danny Hupfer whispered, "If she gives you a cream puff after we leave, I'm going to kill you" - which was not something that someone headed off to prepare for his bar mitzvah should be thinking. When 1:55 came and the other half of the class left, Meryl Lee whispered, "If she gives you one after we leave, I'm going to do Number 408 to you." I didn't remember what Number 408 was, but it was probably pretty close to what Danny Hupfer had promised. Even Mai Thi looked at me with... Read more »
I saw the most frightening, most depressing sight I had ever seen - a row of stores with Stars of David and the word 'Jude' painted on them, and inside, behind half-empty counters, people in a daze, cringing like they didn't know what hit them and didn't know where the next blow would come from. Hitler had been in power only six months, and his boycott was already in full effect. I hadn't been so wholly conscious of being a Jew since my bar mitzvah, and it was the first time since I'd had the measles that I was too... Read more »
Allowing yourself to stop reading a book - at page 25, 50, or even, less frequently, a few chapters from the end - is a rite of passage in a reader's life, the literary equivalent of a bar mitzvah or a communion, the moment at which you look at yourself and announce: Today I am an adult. I can make my own decisions.