My next-door neighbor's oldest had her first, a baby boy, last Monday. Traditionally, there is an open house the Shabbat before the bris (there is always a Shabbat before the bris, given that there is at least 8 days) to welcome him. Little girls get kiddushes that Shabbat. Anyway, this particular one was especially joyful because he was born four hours after his mother's grandfather's sheloshim. That means that her grandfather died thirty days before. So a baby boy born right then is a gift. (If the deceased had been a woman, a baby girl would have a gift.) Her mother and aunt couldn't be happier. As it happens, both families live, practically as one, in the house next door, and they're lovely people. And it was just *nice* to go there for a celebration on Friday night given that the last time we'd visited had been shiva calls. We didn't stay long - we exchanged mazel tovs and had a bite to eat and I got to see the baby (very small and sleeping) and then we went home to make room for more people.
And the bris is on Monday morning, so the shimchos continue.
Every year, our friend Michael (this time with the help of our friend Lynne) organizes a siyyum ha-mishna. He assigns tractates or parts of tractates of mishna (mishna=codification of Jewish law), to be completed by a certain date. And then we get together on that date - a Shabbat afternoon - for a ritual third meal between afternoon and evening services - to celebrate the completion of all those tractates, equaling 2/3 of the entire Mishnah. There are speeches - two from congregants, one male and one female, and a longer one from the rabbi and we all express our appreciation of Michael's hard work. And this year, Michael made sure we could attend by scheduling it this past Shabbat instead of last week.
A siyyum is the celebration of the completion of a set of Torah study, and it's required, and quite joyful.
Yay, English! This one was fun. The husband of a friend of mine, part of our Shabbos afternoon women's parahah shiur (bible discussion group), decided practically on the spur of the moment to purchase a sefer torah for their synagogue. I got the email about it on Thursday, in fact, for the party today.
The sefer torah was paraded from their house to their synagogue, held under a canopy and with a music truck leading the way, with the men singing. I walked with the ladies of the shiur, of course. And, to all of our surprise, it started bang on time. That NEVER happens. We walked across 17th Street to Ave N and up Ave N to 19th St, and across 19th to Ave M, where the shul was. And we picked up people along the way, as well as stares. And the other sifrei torah from the synagogue came out to meet the new one and we all went inside.
And we started dancing with our friend, treating her like a kallah, a bride (although no chairs.) It was just wonderful. After all the other torahs were put away, they read the last few verses in the new one and it was put away, and then we grabbed a table and listened to the rabbi's speech, and then it was brunch.
And it was such a nice brunch, too - bagels, cream cheese, salads and smoked fish on the table, plus a buffet- french toast, pancakes, homefries, scrambled eggs and baked ziti, plus cakes and fruits, and later ice cream. Can you imagine if she'd had time to *plan*? Also, it was amusing to have separate tables for men and women, but everyone crowded together at the buffet anyway.
So many joyful things on one weekend, plus perfect weather? It's just good.