In a wonderful tale spun by the makers of Irish mythology, the leprechaun hides a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I don’t know how many fortune seekers set off on the rainbow path to find the treasure, but I do know that their journey must have been an interesting one. As Batmom, the surprising superhero, I have taken the liberty to briefly “borrow” the rainbow path from Irish folklore. I need it for one year and I promise to return it when I’m done.
You see, as mother of the bat mitzvah girl, I have been thinking about the meaning of Bat Mitzvah. I know that it’s a landmark which symbolizes the girl’s newfound privilege of playing a full role in Jewish life. But what is a girl supposed to actually “do” to be Bat Mitzvah? Is there a ritual that she needs to undergo? Is there a message that she needs to “get”? I came to the conclusion that the Bat Mitzvah is relatively un-proscribed – there are no set ceremonies or rituals, and it therefore open to personal creativity. At the same time, in the broad array of Jewish life, there are a myriad of messages that a Bat Mitzvah girl can and should receive as she is integrated into the community. To mention just a few: Torah, family, tradition, Chesed, commitment to community, continuity and Tikkun Olam. So Batdad, Batgirl and I decided to create our own Bat Mitzvah ritual which will involve finding some of these messages wherever they may be. This is the journey that we will be taking this year, and like the rainbow path image, it has multiple paths all leading to the same destination – a Bat Mitzvah ceremony of our own design.
Batgirl and I have compiled a list of people and places that may offer a Bat Mitzvah message. Over the next year we will gradually visit teachers, grandparents, role models, leaders and friends with the aim of asking them what they think is the Bat Mitzvah message. Since we are privileged to live in Israel, we will also visit places like the Kotel, Har Herzl and Kever Rachel, and we will be going further afield to places like Caesaria to revisit Hannah Senesh to find out what she has to tell us. We are even planning on going as far as my hometown Cape Town (Batgirl has chosen this in lieu of a Bat Mitzvah party) perhaps we will find a Bat Mitzvah message on the slopes of Table Mountain! Actions speak louder than words – and so over the next year, we will be participating in activities like packing food boxes for the needy or serving meals at a soup kitchen and at these stations too we’ll be thinking about what we must take home as Jewish adults.
Yes, we have a long and exciting year ahead of us, but readers – don’t worry, you won’t be kept in the dark. Through this blog, you can join Batmom (yes that’s me), Batgirl and the rest of us in the Batfamily as we journey towards the Bat Mitzvah pot of Gold. And if you stick with us, there will be a wonderful surprise in store when we finally get there!
What do you think is the most important Bat Mitzvah message? Who or what would you like to take your Bat Mitzvah daughter to meet? I’d love to hear!
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