Bat mitzva – the first ever

I would like to wish Johanna and family a hearty mazal tov on the event of her Bat Mitzvah.

Johanna or Chanele as her zeide so charmingly says it, or being that she is no longer a child, perhaps Chana neni, had spent half a year preparing for the occasion. Studying texts that would allow her to know what Judaism is about and analysing the significance of being Jewish in the Modern world.

Finally after a gruelling half year course with Rebbetzin Devorah Leah Hurwitz, learning to read ancient texts backwards, trekking  through major Biblical events, festivals, laws and customs; she was able to truly celebrate her Bat Mitzvah with genuine Simchah.

“Simchah” the Hebrew word for joy, should not be confused with fun. Joy and fun may seem synonymous but they are very different in deed. Fun momentary and flighty, it comes and goes, and is quickly forgotten. The experience is neither deep nor particularly meaningful. Joy on the other hand is an experience that touches the core being of the individual and is of lasting significance.

It is not for naught that her Bat Mitzvah occurred on a week dedicated to the building of the Mishkan. The message is clear; now that she is a Bat (daughter) of Mitzvah (the Divine imperative), she has the merit and the wonderful opportunity   to be a mishkan – a home for the Divine in the world.

The Mishkan’s message is not merely the notion that there is the possibility for the Infinite to dwell among the finite, rather it is a message that we have the ability to partake in this process and partner with G-d in achieving this lofty goal. Chanela’s entrance into Bat Mitzvah is thus a promotion – becoming a senior partner in this Divine drama.

On this note, I wish her family a lot of true Nachas and that their precious Chanele will be a true Jewish Menorah for the entire Jewish People.

Her Bat Mitzvah was in most likelihood the first ever Bat Mitzvah being celebrated in our Synagogue and as such I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of myself, my family and our whole community, in wishing her a hearty Mazal Tov and a big Yashar Koach for celebrating this momentous occasion with us.

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