Friday, May 17, 2013

Meeting with the Cantor

We're officially a go! We met with the Cantor - who, by the way, has organized this entire process to a beautiful extent - on Wednesday night. My daughter now has a binder with her portion in a small paperback book. It gives her the context of the portion, as well as the portion. All the prayers and blessings are on a disc. The timeline is laid out, along with practice sheets... It is awesome.

The Cantor also has a chart on her door, so the kids can chart their progress as they approach the big day. Each service they attend gets a check. As they learn each prayer and blessing to the satisfaction of the Hebrew tutor, they check that off.

At our temple, each child has a Hebrew tutor and a Midrashim/a. Both volunteer their time to work with a child. Parents can volunteer to work with kids, too. The Midrashim/a works on the D'var Torah - the speech and comments the child makes on their portion.

My daughter is excited to begin. She's also getting nervous - a good sign since I don't want to be the only one who is nervous! Her first meeting with the Midrashim is in a few weeks. She begins her Hebrew study shortly after. She's in good shape. She knows most of the prayers and blessings already. After a crazy Bar/Bat Mitzvah year she's been to so many ceremonies that she's certainly familiar with the service!

Next up is deciding upon a Bat Mitzvah project. I'm not sure what she has in mind. I'm curious to find out. Meanwhile, it's time to get working on the things that are up to me!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

One Simple Wish

My daughter has been trying to think of a cause for her mitzvah project. We've been talking about it for a while now. I ran across one that I think will pique her interest. Then again, I'm her mom so what do I really know?

Here's the scoop:

  1. There's an organization called One Simple Wish.
  2. The mission is to grant the wish of a child in foster care.
  3. It's not about giving stuff, it's about letting them know someone cares.
  4. You can establish a page for your event - say Bat Mitzvah ...
  5. People can go to the page to grant a wish.
  6. Here's how to do it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ready ....

For some reason, even though this is our third time through the B'nai Mitzvah process at our temple, we cannot begin my daughter's preparation until we meet with the cantor. Unfortunately, the cantor is away for the time being - not by her choice, I hasten to add.

We can easily wait another entire month if need be. I think I'm feeling anxious because both of my sons had readings from Tetzaveh. Their ceremonies were six years apart, but it still feels like the time for panic to set in. I suppose I'll have a residual level of anxiety at this time of year for decades to come ...

My daughter's portion is Viyeitzei. For those who, like me, are not readily familiar with the portions in the Torah, it's the one with Jacob and the ladder. I'll be happy when I start to hear her chanting her portion and know she's thinking about her comments.

It's odd to me that I'm more anxious about her starting her preparation than I am about her finishing. With my oldest, it was just the opposite. Now I've seen, twice, that it all comes together in time - sometimes easily and sometimes not so. Either way, I've picked up a few mommy tricks to facilitate the process.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Preparation Begins in Earnest

It's time to begin true preparation for the Bat Mitzvah. Just heard from the Hebrew tutor - the woman who will help my daughter with her Torah portion, trope, and prayers. She'll begin with the Midrashim, too - the man who is going to guide her through her interpretation of the text and her speech writing. 

My daughter is nervous but ready. I'm not quite as ready. I know how much this process is going to change her. I'm excited to watch it, but also ready to hold on to her just this way for a bit longer.

The exploration into what makes a Tallit continues. My daughter has decided it might be fun to help. I'm sure once I start bringing home fabric swatches, she'll have an opinion. I'm looking forward to doing this with her.

I'll be updating more regularly now that we are off and running.

Monday, August 6, 2012

One Mom On Board

Yes! Today I got an email from a mom who is up for the challenge. Her daughter's Bat Mitzvah is this November, so we'll need to get to work soon.

This is going to be good!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Three Is So Not a Crowd

I decided to ask the other Bat Mitzvah moms to join me in making tallit for our daughters. So far I have one definite no and one maybe. I'm hoping a couple of the moms say yes; it will be less daunting to be part of a crowd on this. I think.

Meanwhile, I've continued my tallit-making research. I consulted the most knowledgable person I know - in terms of Judaism - and asked her for the Cliff Notes/Plain English scoop on the topic of mixing fabrics. She gave me a terrific answer before pointing out that I'm not exactly going with tradition in the first place here since I'm making a tallit for a girl.

Good point. And I'm stunned to say that had honestly never occurred to me because I got the idea in the first place from a friend who is a Conservative Jew and is having a tallit made for her daughter. Hearing that, I immediately knew I wanted to make my daughter's tallit. I also knew I wanted the knots in the tzitzit to be tied by the women who are important in her life.

When anything is so clear to me from the start, I generally do what it takes to honor it. In this instance, the worst case will be that I purchase a tallit for her at the last minute.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

And So It Begins


Religious school opening day is nearly here. The Holy Days will follow quickly after. All of that's nothing new. What is new is that my youngest child and only daughter is making her Bat Mitzvah a year from November. The countdown to her Bat Mitzvah begins with the start of religious school this year.

I was completely clueless for the Bar Mitzvah of my first child. Why? I grew up Catholic and only converted after about six years of raising Jewish kids. I'd been to two other Bar Mitzvahs before his, so during the process of preparing for his, I learned a lot. I was moved to find it ultimately all so meaningful.

For my next son's Bar Mitzvah, I was far more comfortable. I knew what to expect and how to help him stay calm and prepare for his important moment. I also knew how moving it would be and that all his hard work would leave him proud and confident.

And now I'm on the last one. This time I'm feeling ready enough to be looking forward to it all. I'm even ready to try my hand at making a tallit. Have I ever made a tallit? No. But then again, I'd never raised a Jewish child and I now have three.

Why make her tallit? I want it to be as special as she is. I want her to wear it and know how amazing she is.

So join me as I prepare to celebrate this significant religious event in my daughter's life. If you're new to the whole Bat/Bar Mitzvah thing, feel free to ask questions. If I don't know the answer, I'll find someone who does!