Sunday, February 05, 2006

One of These Things is Not Like The Others...

One of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?


Did you guess which thing was not like the others?
Did you guess which thing just doesn't belong?
If you guessed this one ** 2001 ** is not like the others,
Then you're absolutely...right!

[Words and Music by Joe Raposo and Jon Stone ]

Figure it out yet?? Why is 2001 not like the other years? Clue: This has nothing to do with Pesach!!

In 1978, 1984, 1989, 1995, & 2006, my birthday fell on a Friday. And I remember each and every one of them.

Weird, I know. In fact, even though I have strong memories of my 7th birthday falling on a Friday, I checked it this morning because I thought it unlikely I could actually recall such a strange fact. Unlikely, perhaps -- but not impossible.

In many synagogues, people who are celebrating a birthday in a given month are invited to the bimah for a special blessing at the Family Service. My guess is that receiving a blessing on my actual birthday made such an impression that it's stayed with me all these years. I don't remember what I got as a present or even what we did to celebrate my birthday other than a special Shabbos dinner and going to shul.

Another one of those tip-offs?

1984 was my 13th birthday and I lead the service the following morning as a Bat Mitzvah. When I came to the Shabbos table on my actual birthday, a beautiful pair of silver candlesticks were at my place. Until then, my sister and I had shared a pair of brass candlesticks -- but now, like Jewish women throughout time, I would have my own pair. The same pair that would follow me from my parents' home to a home of my own.

1989 was my 18th birthday and what more is there to say? It was my senior year in high school, I had already been accepted into the college of my choice, had a boyfriend (PC!!!), a significant solo in Handel's Samson, and the lead the school musical. Life was good!

1995 was celebrated in Jerusalem. It was my first year in Rabbinical School and I led services in the HUC chapel in honour of my special day. It was a year of struggles and growth and discovery.

And, of course, this year was on a Friday. It was special as Friday birthdays always are. PC arranged doughnuts in the shape of '35' and captured Beernut serenading me with a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" on my brand-new video camera. [Do we call it a digital camera since it is digital?] This was most significant as I am the official family photographer (still and video/digital) and appear in NO pictures or film! Poppyseed was the Shabbat Star (akin to Star of the Week) in school, MrsGiraffe watched Poppyseed while I took a long pre-Shabbos shluffy and then we went to shul for dinner and services. As expected, we were gone before the opening song! These kids just can't make it for the 7:00pm service yet. So I missed my blessing.

Or did I?


PepGiraffe said...

Though it is a little sad that you missed being on the bimah.
Whatever happened to those brass candlesticks. (Candle stumps?) Does MrsGiraffe still have them? Those were good.
Your life sounds so exciting when you write about it like this. Did it feel that way at the time?
This is the first time that I wasn't able to guess the thing that was not like the other. I couldn't even guess "Year made into a movie" because so was 1984.

Rivster said...

It was a little sad that I missed being on the bimah. I even told my precious children that I was disappointed...and then remembered that my expectation was a little high for them. After all, we are usually getting ready for bed around the time services start. So it wasn't completely their fault...


I'm not sure if MrsGiraffe has them or if I have them somewhere. I'll have to take a look. They were good!


Yeah, it did sometimes feel exciting. Like my 13th birthday. It was so awesome. Do you remember how on our birthdays the birthday kid could choose where to go for dinner? Well, we went out to dinner on Thursday night since my bday was on Shabbos. We went to -- oh wow -- I can't remember the name of the place. It was Brookhurst and Adams...on the SE corner (I think that corner is SE)...nothing ever stayed there very long. Sawdust on the floor. Like Fuddruckers, but not Fuddruckers. Then we went to the record store (Sam Goody's, I believe) to pick out prizes for the games during the reception. LP singles -- Duran Duran, Thompson Twins, and the like. My hair was chopped off the next day - wait, that is a bad memory now that I think of it. And the hairdresser (won't mention any names) scolded me for crying. "It's just hair, for goodness sake!" So now, instead of being a gawky, eyeglass-wearing preteen, I was a gawky, eyeglass-wearing preteen with a very unattractive hair cut...the day before my Bat Mitzvah. Dinner was delicious...the candlesticks were all shiny and sparkly as they can only be when they are brand-new. I wore the red dress that I'd worn a few weeks earlier for Steve S's B/ was my second favourite dress. My favourite dress was the new one I wore for the Saturday service. It was a magical time and I was keenly aware of it at the time. I couldn't make time stand still to enjoy it enough. And as I sat on the staircase overlooking the unwrapped presents in the living room on Sunday morning, the only Sunday I recall having permission to miss Religious School, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of sadness. It was over...and now I had to write about 200 thank you notes by Purim!

RobSPetri said...

I actually believe that writing Thank You notes after my Bar Mitzvah killed me a little.