What My Bat Mitzvah Means to Me: Olivia Alcabes (2012)

By November 17, 2012 November 15th, 2018 Bnei Mitzvah, What It Means to Me

Olivia Alcabes
November 17, 2012

To me, becoming a Bat-Mitzvah hasn’t been about religion. Becoming a Bat-Mitzvah means that I am becoming my own person, with my own thoughts and my own actions and my own words. I am no longer just doing what other people tell me to do. I am taking into account everyone’s suggestions, but in the end my choices are finally mine to make.

When I first started writing my Bat-Mitzvah papers, I was following what other people told me to do. It was great, too, my mentor Kevin, Rabbi Peter and Isabel helped me a lot. Still, it wasn’t really my own yet. Then, last summer, things suddenly clicked. Rabbi Peter helped me figure out what I was going to do. Instead of being stuck on something more general, such as poetry, he helped me figure out how I could incorporate my biggest value, creative writing. I could write science/historical fiction; believe me I was excited, creative writing in my Bat-Mitzvah, that involved me meeting my ancestors.

From there things took off. I’d already signed up for a writing camp at the beginning of the summer, and during the two weeks I was there I wrote and wrote and wrote, emailing my mom to send me more facts about when so-and-so was born and who so-and-so married. Also, I got to be in an environment with all of my writer friends helping me make this the best it could be. Still, throughout all of this, I was the one who was in control. I was running the show. I was the one who really could make things happen.

It was during the few weeks that I did my major project when I think I really became a Bat-Mitzvah. I learned what it meant to take suggestions but still do what I wanted. I understood what it meant to have a lot of responsibilities, but I also tried to have fun with it. What I really learned was who I am and what I stand for.

Throughout this process of two years, I’ve changed incredibly, and I’ve learned more than I thought I would. Now, when someone asks me where my family’s from, I can tell them exactly where and when. Now I can say I’ve had experience writing historical fiction. Now I understand and respect my grandparents even more than before. When I started I thought that all I would do is write papers. Now, I know that it wasn’t about writing papers. It was about shaping who I will become as an adult.
Really, all of this happened because of a few certain people. Thank you, Isabel, Peter, and Kevin, for editing my papers and giving me great inspiration throughout. Thanks mom, dad, and Daniel for helping me begin and making me stick to my work. Thanks Aram, for providing the music for my service. I want to thank all my relatives who helped me learn more about my family history. Without you, this would never have been possible.