Last weekend I went to a bat mitzvah in my old hometown, Simsbury, Connecticut, at my old synagogue, the Farmington Valley Jewish Congregation. It was one of the strangest experiences I can remember: driving down streets where I still remember every curve and traffic light (while noticing the new construction), the way the trees get taller and the houses look smaller and everyone I'd know back then looks older. I imagine I do, too.
Some things hadn't changed. My old rabbi is still using the exact same language about the Torah ("the mystics said it was black fire written on white fire,") and cracking the same jokes about how the FVJC is the best congregation in all of Simsbury (it's also, of course, the only congregation in Simsbury). The cantor still goes into full-tilt performance mode for at least one song per service. There's an organ in the sanctuary now, which is new, and strange, but the old plaques and paintings are still in the lobby, including one in honor of the rabbi's long-defunct first marriage.
Weird all around.
The bat mitzvah girl did a fabulous job, and her family was very gracious while I took my notes and asked my questions, and it's all grist for the mill.
In other news, I'm watching with interest the unfolding debate over the future of book reviews. In the interests of not alienating the three reviewers who still give chick lit a little space every now and again, I won't have much to say about the future of book reviews, other than that I hope that the three people who still review chick lit won't stop.
I'm looking forward to Jennifer Belle's new book, but cannot believe that Jennifer Belle doesn't have a website (in the era of the incredible vanishing book review, doesn't every writer need one?)
Next week, I'm going to Disneyworld. The week after that, I'm going to the Kansas City Book Festival. Then back to Simsbury for my twentieth high school reunion.
The mind reels.