It’s the time of year when the batmitzvah invitations start arriving. We have received four, propped up on the mantelpiece looking pretty in an array of matching black, white and fuschia. I love a batmitzvah when a “daughter of commandment” is now responsible for her decisions and actions in life . It’s a beautiful ceremony marking the moment when a girl becomes a woman, now able to evaluate choices and decisions morally, physically spiritually and intellectually that will imprint her place on the world.
I’m currently rehearsing a new play for the Hampstead Theatre about a 40-year-old woman who has never grown up. My character, Lou, has never seen the need to commit to anything or anyone, never had a guiding moral compass that allows her to make good choices. Her life is in chaos.
I can’t help but think that she could take a leaf out of Paula Abdul’s book. Ms Abdul is of course the 90’s American singer/dancer who resurrected her career by becoming part of Simon Cowell’s stable of world famous judges on the X- Factor stage, and at the age of 51 is travelling to Israel to have her batmitzvah at the Western Wall.
I love it that at the age of 51 Paula has thought, yes! I am finally a woman whose price is far above rubies.
As soon as I found out, I wanted to write to Paula and give her a few tips from my own batmitzvah experience, you know, woman to woman. I wanted to tell her that when she is standing on the bimah with the other 12 girls she mustn’t stand in between the two daintiest participants, lest she end up in the official photo looking like the Incredible Hulk.
That a Lady Di cut-and-blowdry on a frizzy Jewfro is not the best hairdo, particularly if it rains. That wearing a sensible blue skirt and a pussycat bow puffed-sleeved shirt will make her look like a Ukrainian child-minder.
I personally found that a smattering of mascara and slick of lip-gloss was all that was needed, but Paula might learn from me and add a bit of blusher to take the edge off the look of fear at standing in front of a crowd of peers, family members and congregation.
When It comes to her tea-party, held at her parents’ house afterwards, I hope Paula takes note of my mistake and changes out of the pussycat bow frilled shirt, as the stifling heat of the room will turn said shirt into an instrument of strangulation and her awaited speech will come out as a hoarse intonation.
However, I see that someone got to Paula ahead of me on the advice front. She has nine suites booked at the King David in Jerusalem, including the bridal suite, complete with make-up artist and hairdresser on call 24/7. For a few days before her “call-up” she will be relaxing at a spa in the Galilee.
We all wish Paula well and with the news that Simon Cowell is taking Israeli dancing lessons for his upcoming wedding, it’s only a matter of time before Ant and Dec will be reading the sedra at a synagogue near you.