The Circle of Life (on HBO)

This past Sunday I attended a funeral and a Bat Mitzvah celebration. Sounds like nothing new or different for a rabbi. But I was able to “be at” these two life-cycle events without ever leaving the comfort of my home… or the comfort of my couch for that matter.

The Funeral

I didn’t start watching The Sopranos from the beginning. I was late to get on the bandwagon. However, when I saw the preview for a new TV show on HBO called Six Feet Under I had a feeling I should start watching from the first episode. I was not disappointed. It’s a great show with great acting and a subject matter (death and bereavement) not often taken on by other shows.

Nate Fisher’s funeral Sunday night on the third to last episode brought me to tears. And for someone who has never watched a single soap opera or gotten attached to a TV series, that is saying something. It was beautiful to watch the characters prepare for the funeral, take care of his body, and come to terms with the shock of his demise. For a rabbi, this series has given me deep insight into how funeral homes handle intake, offer comfort to the mourners, and go through difficult times in their own lives.

For one hour a week I’ve enjoyed becoming part of this family and allowing myself to feel as though I lost a friend. Now that’s TV… or maybe it’s not since it’s HBO.

The Bat Mitzvah

Right after watching Six Feet Under and wiping away the tears streaming down my face, new tears emerged. This time they were tears of laughter at the Bat Mitzvah of Ari The Bat Mitzvah Girl (Entourage)Gold’s daughter (see photo) on HBO’s hit show Entourage. The Bat Mitzvah had it all with the daughter practicing her bat mitzvah Torah reading and her father noticing that her voice was actually getting worse, the 6-foot challah carried in by the waitstaff that the grandpa was to say the motzi over (Vince wound up cutting it instead), Ari’s beautiful speech to his daughter, the candle-lighting ceremony that never happened (the candles were on a menorah instead of a cake), and Vince, Eric, Drama and Turtle missing the Bat Mitzvah service (Friday night) and only attending the party because they thought that Temple was only for Jews. Another great episode for Entourage.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller