Whether you are an adult who never had an opportunity to celebrate your Bar- or Bat-Mitzvah, for whatever reason, or a parent, guardian, grandmother, beloved relative of a younger person seeking to find a teacher for them to learn more about their Jewish heritage and mark their religious coming-of-age in ways that are true to their personalities, interests and strengths, welcome!
I am passionate about creating meaningful learning experiences that will enable the child in your life – or you yourself – to come to claim Torah (wisdom) and Tefillah (prayer) as your or their own. I tell each of my B’nei-Mitzvah students, that our job together is to discover the Torah that only they can teach – and I mean it! Over the years, I have learned such wonderful Torah-infused lessons from my students, as they come to reflect more about what claiming their Jewish heritage might mean for them and struggle to connect their lives to the texts of our tradition. I am so excited to help make this Bar- or Bat-mitzvah journey a meaningful one!
Let me tell you why I feel so strongly about this:
When I was 12, I stood next to the Rabbi of the humongous synagogue in Stockholm, Sweden (it’s called the Large Synagogue, actually!), bravely chanting the Haftarah (the additional reading for Shabbat) while trying to keep my legs from knocking against each other they were shaking so badly. Today, I have mixed emotions when I think back on the day of my Bat-Mitzvah. I was very proud to be allowed to stand up in front of the congregation at all – only the second girl to do so in the synagogue’s history. And I was also angry that as a girl I was not allowed to do most of what was traditional for a Bar-Mitzvah boy to do. As a budding feminist, I was claiming my right to be a part of a large public Jewish ceremony – but as an introvert, I wanted to be off on the sidelines, allowed to connect to God in my own, quiet way, in a more intimate setting.
As the mother of two introverted daughters, in turn, I have sought to encourage Bat-Mitzvah experiences for each of them that honor who they are, while inviting them to celebrate in a communal setting which feels safe and manageable. Above all else, I wanted the experience to be deeply meaningful and set them on the path of learning which would lead to a deeper involvement with Judaism and offer them age-appropriate spiritual tools to seek out their own God-connection. So far so good!