I started the BATmom blog almost a year ago and this year has been filled with learning, traveling and celebrating.  Our celebrations culminated in very special family Shabbat, a Jerusalem Scavenger Hunt with BATgirl’s friends, and a very small and intimate celebration with our family and friends who know and have a connection with BATgirl.

At this evening BATdad and I presented to BATgirl the Bat Mitzvah Box (beautifully decorated by the BATsisters).  The Bat Mitzvah Box contains 12 gifts for her 12 years. With no further ado – here are the contents of the BATbox (in Bat Mitzvah Parent speech format)!

BATmitzvah box

BATbox with stencil, food erasors, bubbles and paints

  1. The Rubics cube –   BATgirl, we put this Rubics Cube in the Bat Mitzvah box, because you love learning new things, exploring new ideas and finding out how things work. Your teachers always tell us that you have the best general knowledge, and you are way ahead of your friends in your knowledge of Torah, Israel and even science subjects. We hope that you continue to be curious, to ask questions and to learn throughout your life, and we hope that we can always be there to answer your questions and forward you as you strive for knowledge, understanding and solutions!
  2. Place markers.  We bought this for you because you have been nagging us for them! You want them for your new siddur.  You’re absolutely right – you should have place markers to mark important tefilot, and also you should make yourself place markers to remember important days, important people, and important events.  In other words – know what and who is important in your life and look after it/them – nurture it/them. Examples of important things can be chagim or birthdays, your family, friends or teachers, your hobbies and talents even your memories.  Recognize the important things in your life and make sure that you make space for them.
  3. Food erasers – of course you are not a fussy eater – that is if you have rice, pasta or cous cous!  When it comes to the rest of the menu, it is a bit harder to convince you to eat. For that reason we put some food rubbers in the Bat Mitzvah box – we want to encourage you to be adventurous – try something new.  This can be with food, and this can be with experiences.  We have seen this year how you have become much more open to trying new things and we are very proud of your efforts – keep it up!
  4. Paints – I remember one time I came with you to a lesson with your art teacher.  You were painting something, and you really wanted pink. But not any pink, a very specific pink.  You mixed red and white to get the color, and at first you put too much white, and then you put too much red. You kept on adding and mixing and mixing and adding until you finally found the exact pink you wanted.  I was so proud of how you knew what you wanted and you didn’t compromise until you got it!  That is a very good quality and I know it will take you far in life – in fact I can’t wait to see where it will take you in life, I am already kvelling with pride at your future achievements!  BATgirl, we put some paints in the Bat Mitzvah box, and we hope that you continue to mix colors with confidence and creativity, and that you continue to strive to achieve all of your visions.

    Israel flower and bracelet

    Israel flower – May she grow and blossom Bracelet – with varying beads

  5. Israel flower –  In the Bat Mitzvah box you will see an Israel flower –  a flower with an Israeli flag.  You, BATgirl, are our Israel flower – our Sabra!  We hope that you continue to grow and blossom here in Israel!
  6. Bracelet – The reason why I chose this bracelet is because the beads are all different patterns, shapes and sizes.  You know, the difference between all the beads is what makes the bracelet beautiful – and this is the same with our family.  Each of us  – Abba, Ima, You, BATsister1, BATsister2 and even BATboy is a different person with different strengths and weaknesses, different likes and dislikes, different personalities – it is when we bring all of our differences together that we can be a team-  working together at our best.  I hope that this bracelet in your Bat Mitzvah box will remind you of how important it is that each one of us is different, and how we are most beautiful when we bring all our personal qualities together.

    Tree card

    From a large family tree

  7. Tree card – Since you started your Bat Mitzvah roots project we have talked a lot about our family tree. Last Friday we joked that in fact your name isn’t just BATgirl Tarlow – it is BATgirl Rothenstern Kahanowitz Leon Kaplinski Shinbaum Rurka Yankelowitz Tarlow.  We spoke about your grandparents and great grandparents and the contribution that they made to their communities.  Don’t worry –we didn’t insist that all those names would be printed on your new Machzor, however we put this tree in the Bat Mitzvah box, because we would like you to remember that you are part of a much greater family tree. The family tree doesn’t stop at your great grandfathers who were community leaders, partisans, doctors, soldiers and volunteers, and it doesn’t stop at your great grandmothers who were home makers, nurturers, talented and creative women. Your family tree goes all the way back to the Shvatim and the Avot.  You are a descendent of Cohanim from Shevet Levi and maybe the tribe of Yehudah – you are part of a great family and a great nation, so walk with pride and dignity!
  8. Cards – Chazal say that we are called Yehudim because we have the ability to say Toda – to acknowledge in front of Hashem and others He has done something for us that we couldn’t have done ourselves.  You will find in here a little box with 10 cards. We recommend that you think about who you want to thank, and what you want to thank them for – and write them a note to express your appreciation.
  9. Stencil – BATgirl, from your grandparents you received Machzorim, from school you received a beautiful siddur – we have nothing left to give but this stencil.  We hope that you give the siddur and machzor good use, but we also hope that you can find your own way to send your hopes, thoughts and prayers to Hashem – here are some letters – you can make the words!

    Croc key ring

    The blue croc keyring has found a home

  10. Blue Croc keyring – we think you will like this – it looks like your favorite blue croc!  We got this comfy shoe, because you have come a long way in your 12 years, and the shoe represents the path that you have come on. This year started off as quite a difficult one for you, but you pulled though with new strengths – we are very very proud of you!  BATgirl, being a Bat Mitzvah girl means you are now an adult with adult responsibilities – this is a new path for you to go on, and we want you to know that we are with you all of the way!
  11. Bubbles – Yes – these are bubbles!  Bubbles are fun!  We have expressed lots of hopes for you, and given much advice to you – at the end of the day we hope that you have fun and enjoy!  In your life as a Torah Jew you should have simcha in fulfilling the mitzvot and building a relationship with Hashem, and in your personal life you should have lots of great adventures and fun memories!
  12. Blank paper – Finally – this looks like a blank piece of paper, but actually BATgirl – it is your flag!  Last week we designed another flag for you. Many of the important people in your life colored this flag and sent us the photo’s – we’ll see them all in a few minutes.  This flag is for you – it is blank and we hope that in the years to come, as you continue to grow, as your talents and strengths continue to develop you will design your own flag. BATgirl – we look forward to watching you Wave your Flag – mazal tov!

And now, click below to watch the amazing journey of BATgirl growing up and see her friends and loved one’s Waving her Flag!