For my boys’ britot, I stood way back in the back. I could not bring myself to stand close to the action. I didn’t change their diapers for the week after the brit. I left that to my very capable husband. I figured, and rightfully so, I had done my job gestating and delivering those boys, I could step back for a bit – especially when I was feeling overwhelmed and a bit grossed out.
But, interestingly, that wasn’t what brought my stress level up. I leave that to my daughter. I have one daughter. She is 10. She was born 5 weeks early (time I tell myself naively I would have used to plan her Simchat Bat) so we were somewhat unprepared.
As I sat in the hospital, I tried to find ritual that was meaningful, creative and significant. I failed. When I got home, I spent hours researching what was out there – readings, midrashim, poetry. Nothing really struck the right note for me. The night before her Simchat Bat, my husband and I stayed up until three in the morning cutting and pasting different sources (both Jewish and not) that resonated with us. We scattered them on the tables, we read them out loud. We served bagels and cake. My friends joke that when I spoke at my daughter’s Simchat Bat it was like I was giving a lecture on creating meaningful ritual.
A brit is simple. There is a checklist: the mohel, the bagels, the friends. A Simchat Bat is a minefield. There is a need to create tradition in the world of Jewish women, and there is a need to create meaningful ritual.
I have two years until my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. Any suggestions?
Help me out: how did you celebrate your daughter’s birth?