Wednesday, December 10, 2014

B'nai Mitzvah: It is never too late; Ask these women!

Torah Sisters
Last Shabbat 3 women became B'not Mitzvah at Lakeside Congregation.  They had studied together for a year and lead a beautiful t'filah including chanting Torah and each giving a D'var Torah. Janet Friedman, Denise Goldberg and Blair Waddick all brought their different life experiences and Jewish traditions to our service.

I can tell you that they worked hard for over a year to get to last week.  They were a support for one another and got to work and study with Rabbi Serotta, Cantor Davis and myself.  They learning to read Hebrew, chant Torah, talk about their Judaism and write a D'var Torah.

I am the proud teacher of Kitah aleph not only for students in our Hebrew school but also Kitah Aleph for adults.  It is not easy for adults to learn to read and then sing in a new language.  All three adult students had gone through the B'nai Mitzvah process with their children and had seen first hand the joy and the tears that a simcha can bring to a family.  When they first began their process I don't think they realized how transformative this experience would be from reading Torah to addressing their congregation/community.
At the top of our Ark we have the words: Torah, T'filah, Tzedakah and Kehillah.  Our adult B'not Mitzah embodied all 4 words of these value laden words.  They chanted Torah with grace and poise and lead us in T'filah by leading prayers and reading their d'vrei Torah.  Their Tzedakah component included tzedakah center  pieces of pasta, tomato sauce, and other food to donate to a food pantry at their extended Kiddush lunch. They also donated much needed table cloths to the congregation which will be used many times over in the future.  Their Kehillah was evident in our sanctuary which was filled to brimming with parts of their shared community and our Lakeside family.
Denise's hand made Tallit with pictures of her family

I addressed the 3 B'not Mitzvah on the bimah as I do every week at Lakeside and was able to tell them I was proud of them as role models and as active participants in many different areas of our congregation.  Janet has 2 children going through our Religious and Hebrew school program and often volunteers in the school office, Denise has been a teacher in our Religious school for over 20 years and her children are involved in our program as well.  Blair joined Lakeside when her daughter was grown but she and her husband come to services, adult education programs and classes.  We could not have asked for a better class.

I will need a new class though and I started looking for the next Adult B'nai Mitzvah class last week when  announce from the bimah we will start one soon.  Please if you have any interest in learning to read Hebrew, chant from Torah and find a new place in the Lakeside family just let me know.  We haven't set a start date for the new class but we are always looking for new members.