I would like to dedicate My Bat Mitzvah Speech in the loving memory of my great grand grandmother Esther Zipporah bas Miriam.
Also a Z’chus for a Refuah Shelema for my Bubby from Tennesee who could not be here this evening, Malka Rochel bas Esther Zipporah. May she recover and have complete healing soon.
This week’s Torah portion details the High Priests work on Yom Kippur the special ceremony performed once a year to re-bind the community together with each other and with HaShem. The Korbans are offered exclusively by direct descendants of Aaron, the brother of Miriam.
One reason for this requirement was to remind us of his family’s role in the Exodus. His sister Miriam played a key role binding the community together by ensuring Moshe’s (Moses) safety in the basket floating in the Nile river, and getting his mother Yocheved to give him sustenance and care as his nurse when Moshe was discovered by The Pharaoh’s daughter Batya. Not to mention during the Exodus out of Mitzrayim (Egypt), she lead the women in song and dance at the sea. If not for her, the Jewish people would still be enslaved in Egypt.
When Pharaoh decreed that all first-born Jewish males should die, the men decided to refrain from having more children. The women realized that G-d would indeed redeem them and bring them out of Egypt, so they went to reason with their husbands in order to bring more Jewish children into the world. Their faith and foresight were said to have merited the redemption from Egypt of the entire Jewish people.
After Moshe Rabbeinu received the Torah from God at Mount Sinai, he offered it first to the Jewish women, for he knew that if they accepted it, it would become part of the Jewish people for all time. This is the reason a Jew is Jewish through their mother.
And, when Jewish spies were sent in to the Land of Israel and came back with reports of great dangers, it was the men who refused to enter. Forty years later, only the women of that generation merited entering the land.
The role these great women played was best described by Shlomo HaMelech as the “Eishet Chayil.” The Eishet Chayil plays a key role in binding her family together and binding her family with the community.
She supports her husband who sits with the elders. She ensures her family’s well-being and parnassa, by buying land and planting roots. She is a leading merchant, sharing her skills and talents with the community, She also leads in the community in caring for others by giving to the poor and taking the needy under her care.
If not for Eshet Chayil, where would we all be? There would be no home, no family… no Jewish people. On Friday night, she sits as the queen of her table, while all those around her sing her praises. And rightly so.
It is the Eishet Chayil, the Woman of Valor, who sets the tone of love, spirituality, and personal growth for all those around her. To know her is to appreciate her strength and talents. I agree because I am being raised in a loving Jewish home by such a Jewish woman, a real Eishet Chayil, whom I love and know as my Mother, my Emah.
The Jewish woman of today is the one entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining the three mitzvot central to the Jewish home: Kashrus, Shabbos, and Mikvah.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe says “every action which is connected with the strengthening of Yiddishkeit in general, and with the special Mitzva Campaigns -notably those most pertinent to Jewish women is candle-lighting, kashrus and Taharas Hamishpocho – in particular, is especially significant…. The only cause of the sad events in the past, the Destruction and Exile, was the neglect of Torah and Mitzvos. Therefore, through rectifying and removing the cause, the effect will also be removed. This is why every activity towards Yiddishkeit is so vital; especially the efforts to provide the right influence and proper Chinuch (education) for Jewish daughters”.
This is the year of Hakhel and the Rebbe said, “It is also obvious how strongly the Mitzvah of Hakhel emphasizes the Torah-education of our children….these also must be assembled to let them hear and learn what Torah is, what a Mitzvah is, in a manner of learning that would imbue them with fear of G d, and, most importantly, that they should “observe and do all the words of this Torah,” the Torah from Sinai that shall never be changed — all of the above with such impact, “as if they heard it from G d Himself.”
For my Bat Mitzvah Project, I am raising money to support the 2016 launch of the special Jewish Girls Unite (JGU) Shining Stars Creative Online Clubs in Art & Music. JGU creative clubs will cultivate the artistic talents in Jewish girls, like me, so we can shine our inner light. JGU creative clubs will unite girls of all backgrounds through the universal language of the arts and combine art with inspirations and song.
I have learned a lot and shared a lot already. I love art and music, and I am looking forward to sharing with other Jewish girls my talents in these areas as well. We create Jewish art imbued with lessons that will inspire the global community of Jewish girls. These new creative clubs will allow Jewish girls who also have a strong desire for art and music to connect and share their creative hearts together. JGU has already helped me become a stronger Jewish girl, and I know these new clubs will unite us with our faith and each other even closer. I have directly experienced how JGU is filling its mission for Jewish girls, and I know these new clubs will help bring even more Jewish girls together. You see I live in a rural town in Oregon and there are no other Jewish girl’s where I live. So my mother found JGU and imagine the excitement I felt. I have a very limited amount of money to give myself, but I’ve learned through my classes that anyone can do something to make impact if they are really inspired. I’m so excited to be able to join these clubs and share and learn art and music from other Jewish girls and guest speakers and teachers. I hope that you will consider helping me with this project.
Today I stand here so very grateful to all the Jewish women who are here, who could not make it here, and those who have passed to honor their memories. All the Jewish women in my life no matter how small or big of a role they have played. All are inspiration to me and are my strength. Today I want to honor and remember them with a candle lighting ceremony in just a few short moments.
First, I would like to express a big thank you all the people who made this day possible.
My Emah and my Abba, my brothers Issak and Levy.
Thank you to Mr and Mrs. Joseph, and Tikva Towner and their children Moshe, Yaacova and Shifra for helping us get this big room together.
Also to Sophie and her son Gabriel Minhas who came to celebrate and who also helped get the decorations together and up so fast.
Also my Safta, who helped us put the decorations together, and has given me so many blessings in honor of this event.
Thank you to Nechama Labor and Susan Axelrod for being such great teachers during my Bat Mitzvah and Beyond classes at JGU . Thank you to the Mrs. Chaya Margolin current principal at “Jewish Online School”. Thank you to Sima Silverstein former Director and Principal of “Jewish Online School” who was a great principal in my early years and to all my Morahs in the past and present who have helped shaped me who I am today through the teachings of the Rebbe to ignite my yiddishkeit and shine my inner light.
A Super Big thank you to Chabad of Salem Shluchim Rabbi Avrohom Perlstein and Mrs. Fruma Perlstein for making this day perfect by providing all the kosher food and words of wisdom and blessings. May Hashem grant that you should continue and expand Chassidus with much Hatzlocho.
Thank you to all of those who have already donated to JGU in my honor. And to those who will be donating after tonight.
Emah, Thank you so much for giving so much, giving me the best education at home, and seeking out the best Jewish schools, teaching me to be the best Bat Mitzvah I can be and teaching me what that truly means by providing a warm and loving Jewish home environment so I can grow and strive to be.
Thank you for giving me strength and encouragement to overcome my fears so that I can succeed. Giving me wisdom nuggets of why we do Mitzvos (good deeds) not because G-d says so but simply because I’m Jewish and that we must be a light to the nations.
Thank you for always being there to talk to and share my thoughts and dreams and my heart. May we always be there for one another.