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July 10, 2011
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July 21, 2011

Batmom Blog:The pot of gold, the rainbow path, and the Bat Mitzvah!

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.


Batmom stealing the rainbow path

Shhh...that's me stealing the rainbow path

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.

The rainbow path

The rainbow path towards to pot of gold

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.

Is there a Bat Mitzvah message on the slopes of Table Mountain

Is there a Bat Mitzvah message on the slopes of Table Mountain?

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!

(And please feel free to like, share or re-tweet, maybe you can help this blog will get to people who will benefit from it.)


  1. Gila says:

    Amazing Tal! Pity, was looking forward to a party though! Stam!
    Looking forward to sharing this journey with you!
    P.S. Take her to the Midrasha!

  2. Shani says:

    Tali, impressed and excited for you. Sounds like a super busy, fun and meaningful year is planned for you guys.
    Looking forward to hearing about it, each step of the way. Safe and successful travels!!

  3. Ilana DeBare says:

    Your question about “who would you like to take your Bat Mitzvah girl to meet” reminds me of an ice-breaking activity I used to do each year with the board and faculty of the Julia Morgan School for Girls, the all-girl middle school I helped start.

    This was at the annual reception for board and staff at the start of each school year. Mostly we just socialized. But at one point, we’d gather in a circle and everyone would answer a question. One question I liked to ask was, “If you could bring any woman — living or dead, real or fictional — to meet the girls, who would it be?”

    We got all sorts of answers, ranging from Susan B. Anthony and Rosa Parks to Hermione Granger or someone’s grandmother.

    At some point during the year, your daughter could make up a list of ideal “guests” — not just the ones she will really invite, but women like Hannah Senesh who will be with her in spirit because they have moved or inspired her in some way. She could even dedicate a table at the kiddush lunch (if you have one) to each woman or group of women.

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