June 25, 2016
To me, becoming a Bat Mitzvah was the start of a journey that will continue forever. Although now I am officially a Bat Mitzvah, I will continue to consider my family history and values in my daily life. Not only will I consider them but I will also create my family’s history and my own personal values as I continue to grow older. Most importantly, I will make sure to continue to be insightful and thoughtful while completing any work, both academic and non academic.
The preparation for my Bat Mitzvah was a process marked by awareness. I interviewed family members, from the oldest person in my family (my great aunt Bella who lives in Lyon, France, and is in her nineties, who told me that in her view the meaning of life is true love) to the youngest one who responded “I don’t know” when I asked what is the meaning of life. I also found objects that belonged to my great grandparents, and received a very special present from Bella for my Bat Mitzvah: a beautiful ring that used to belong to her older sister, my great grandmother, Fanny.
As I learned about my family history and values, I was able to appreciate what being Jewish has meant to different family members, from the Hassidic relatives who live in Jerusalem and Brooklyn, to those who follow a secular approach to Judaism.
This process helped me be more aware of my heritage and family history, the sad moments lived as a result of the Holocaust and the losses we have had as well as the many joyful moments that followed. My Bat Mitzvah preparation process provided a space for me to think about my own Jewish identity, and is also a source of guidance I can always go back to.
One of the most challenging parts that came with preparing for my Bat Mitzvah, that I encountered later on in the process, was time management. At times it was very difficult to juggle both schoolwork and Bat Mitzvah work. However, I am glad that I was able to make time for both because it is satisfying to see the final outcome of all my hard work in the form of my Bat Mitzvah service.
One of the most rewarding parts of the Bat Mitzvah process is not only the work, but also the new thinking and knowledge that I now have from completing it. A lot of the reflective and insightful thinking that I had to do for school, is somewhat similar to my Bat Mitzvah thinking, although about very different topics. I also believe that my Bat Mitzvah work made my schoolwork more insightful.
I would like to thank all my friends and family for being here today and everyday. Your constant support and company makes every moment more enjoyable, therefore making my Bat Mitzvah preparation so much more meaningful.
I would like to thank all my family who supported me throughout this journey, and also all my friends who helped with my community service projects. I loved spending time with all of you.
Next I would like to thank my mentor, Rachel, whose everlasting support made today possible. She was always there to make sure I felt comfortable and proud of my work. I would also like to thank her daughter, Georgia, for speaking with me and giving me tips about the Bat Mitzvah service and celebration. I would like to thank Rabbi Peter and Isabel Kaplan for their help on my various Bat Mitzvah papers, and for their continued help throughout the process. A big thank you to Aram for the wonderful music he played today. This endeavor would have definitely not been possible without any of you.
Once again, thank you to everyone for being here today, and I look forward to continuing my journey as a Bat Mitzvah.