Maya Mondlak Reuveni
October 3, 2015
First off, I’d like to thank everyone here for coming today. It makes me very happy to see all of the people who mean so much to me, who have come to support me on such an important day. I started this paper when everything else was almost done and thought to myself…Hmm… What does my Bat Mitzvah mean to me?
When I was younger, and I went to family or family friend’s Bar or Bat Mitzvahs, I didn’t really think about why it was important to have one. I didn’t think much about it, and I just knew that I would have one some day, without having to convince myself. Although my family and I aren’t religious Jews, we do think our Jewish culture is important, and therefore having a Bat Mitzvah was something that meant a lot to me.
I won’t lie. When Rabbi Peter first met with my parents and me to talk about how the Bat Mitzvah process works, I immediately thought to myself: “No way is this going to happen. People actually finish all these papers?” And then, I had my first meeting with my mentor, Amy and I realized, “Okay, no backing out now.” The first thing that had to be done was to interview family members. “Okay… easy enough, maybe this won’t be that hard.”
Boy, was I wrong!
This was a very long and hard process that seemed to never end. Once I was done with one paper, guess what, it was time for the next! Although sometimes, it took me a very long time to just get started because I am an expert in the procrastination field, but I kept going. And stopping… but then kept going again! I showed myself that I can really do something great if I am determined. I think that knowing this about myself will really help me in the future with anything that’s hard for me, and that’s something really great that anyone can get out of this Bar/Bat Mitzvah process.
As difficult as this process was, I also found it extremely rewarding because this way of having a Bat Mitzvah is very unique. I’m glad that I got the opportunity to learn about my family and their values because I never would have done it in my own time.
At times, I thought that this Bat Mitzvah process would last forever. There was so much stuff to do in so little time. On top of school, I had dance once a week, voice once a week, my tutor twice a week, and homework every day. Then on weekends I had more homework, lots of Bar and Bat Mitzvahs to attend, KidSchool every other Sunday, which left just barely any time for myself. So, I apologize to anyone who asked if we could hang out, and ever felt that I was using “I’m sorry, I have to work on Bat Mitzvah stuff” as an excuse.
This past summer was very full. My plan was to go to sleep away camp one month (my fourth year) and then do the three week theatre program at the JCC (also my fourth year). Before I left for sleep away camp my top priority was to finish the written part of my Main Project. It was hard to get started because I didn’t get into the groove right away and it took a lot of nagging from my parents, and frequent texts from Amy, but I did finish on schedule. Then I happily went off to Shire Village where I had my best camp experience yet.
However, when I got back from sleep away camp, and went right into the theatre camp, we hit a little bump in the road. In the beginning of the second week of the program, I developed a cough which turned into pneumonia. I was really sick for about two weeks, which was bad because I could’ve been writing this paper then, and gotten a lot of work done. Plus I didn’t get to act in the play!
As hard as this process was, I would not have changed any of it. I am proud of myself for having accomplished so much. But I couldn’t have done it without certain people. First, I’d like to give a big thank you to my parents for pushing me through this difficult process, and helping me stay on track. Next, I’d like to thank my mentor, Amy, for fitting me into your schedule, encouraging me to share my ideas, and always staying patient with me, even when I only wrote a paragraph when it was supposed to be a whole paper. I would also like to thank Rabbi Peter and Isabel Kaplan for helping both me and my family so much during this process, for always responding with such helpful feedback about my papers, and with such enthusiasm. I would also like to thank Anne and Mika for sharing their talent, and giving us such beautiful music. They definitely deserve a big round of applause. Lastly, I would like to thank all of my amazing friends for supporting me. I love you all so much. And once again, thank you all for being here.