Wednesday, November 16, 2011

TBE Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary: Sydney Gubner on Hayye Sarah

Those of you who know me know that I have a passion for fashion and interior design. I always liked to shop, but about two or three years ago, I really began to get into it. I got my first sketch pad and started to get some ideas and before you know it, I had sketched several outfits.

It’s so perfect that the portion for my bat mitzvah introduces one of the most important accessories invented in the history of fashion: The veil.

Rebecca was about to meet Isaac for the first time, after she had been chosen by Abraham’s servant to become Isaac’s wife. She was on a camel and isaac saw her from a distance. When Rebecca saw Isaac, she put on a veil. She when he met her close up, her could not even see her face. But he loved her and took her to be his wife.

The Torah is teaching us that love runs much deeper than what you can see on the surface. That’s what happened for Isaac and Rebecca, and for hundreds of generations since then, brides have been wearing veils at Jewish weddings.

Not just Jewish ones, of course. One of my favorite TV shows is “Say Yes to the Dress,” where brides come into a bridal shop to find their dream dress. I love looking at all of the different designs, from ball gowns to mermaid bottoms to the sweetheart necklines. Usually when the bride is not sure about a dress, the salesperson will bring out the veil and a little jewelry, and that is when she says “yes.” The veil is the most important accessory and often “makes” the dress.

The veil adds a sense of mystery, but on the other hand, since it is removed during the ceremony, it shows that the couple should ways be learning more about each other and never take anything for granted.

But most of all, in a wedding, the veil adds an element of surprise.

I think surprise makes for strong statements in fashion. When I design clothes or living spaces, I always aim for surprise.

For instance, the rabbi asked me what I would do if I were given the job of redesigning this sanctuary in my own way. Now don’t get me wrong, I like the sanctuary how it is right now, because I am the 4th generation here at this temple.

But I also know that things have to change.

So, with that in mind…..If I were to redesign the sanctuary, the walls would be hot pink. That would keep everybody awake!

Instead of the benches, I would replace them with long white leather couches, and a pink curtain around the Torahs.

Below the bema there would be flashing lights, and a runway down the middle! Also you can’t forget the sparkles everywhere- there HAVE to sparkles! The effect is that you don’t know what you are walking into. You’re expecting to come into a sanctuary, like dozens of sanctuaries you’ve seen before. But instead, it’s like walking into
Fashion Week in Paris.

And for Jews, we all know that doing good never goes out of style. It’s always fashionable to learn the lessons of the Torah and to help others. And that’s what it means to become a bat mitzvah.

For my mitzvah project, I’m helping to fight kids being hungry in America by supporting an organization called “Share our Strength: No Kid Hungry.”

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