Monday, April 21, 2008

In Another Country Just 2 1/2 Hours Away

*I know this post is long overdue. But between chronicling my amazingly ugly days and destroying my son's childhood fantasies, I haven't had time.

Last week my mother and I went to Chicago where we celebrated my nephew Mendel's Upshernish and OY! What a time! It was full of nakhes and mitsve and mishigas! (translation for all you goyim out there) It was full of joy and good deeds and craziness!

I'll save you all the Google search. An Upshernish is when an orthodox Jewish boy reaches the age of 3, his hair is cut for the first time. This symbolizes the start of his formal Jewish education and the change from no longer being a baby but now a boy. In celebration of this great event, a big party is held where everyone gets a chance to cut a piece of the boy's hair.

This was Mendel's hair, three years in the making.

As many said "G-d must have been mistaken when he gave a boy this hair." Mendel's hair was truly amazing! Many of us were mourning the cutting of such beautiful locks.

(I don't know how he got the cut on his forehead. Neither does his mother. Hey, he's #5 out of 7, with the oldest child being 9. Give the woman a break.)

It was truly amazing to me that we were in downtown Chicago. Just blocks from Lake Michigan and Michigan Ave. You would have thought we were in Eastern Europe with all the men in their long beards, black hats and suits.

The celebration even continued the next morning as Mendel, with his cute new haircut, began his Jewish education, starting with the Hebrew alphabet.

It was a very joyous time and Mendel did great! We were all somewhat worried that he might freak out and not want to take part in any of this. But he surprised us all as he took to all this attention like peanut butter takes to Matzoh. (just a little nod to Passover...) Mendel was always a quiet shy child. It's almost like he was waiting for this time to come, to break out of his shell. I have a new found respect for little Mendel.

My sister and her family live in such a different culture, much of it I don't even pretend to understand. But one thing that I do understand is this is my family. My sister and brother-in-law have been blessed with 7 beautiful children and a community where they feel very supported and happy. So for that I am grateful. I will continue to support them all and be there for all my cutie nieces and nephews and their wonderful events to come.


the mama bird diaries said...

What a nice event!

and I liked learning about the ceremony!

Anonymous said...

i would have cried cutting that beautiful hair of his!