To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the first Bat Mitzvah on Shabbat, March 18, Rabbi Merow asked those who became Bat Mitzvah to share a single special memory. Folks in the sanctuary described wonderful sentiments. Here are some that our ‘virtual’ congregation shared:

Sherry Meyer:

For my bat mitzvah in 1977, one element that was special was being able to lead the congregation. I remember looking out at the community and loving the diversity of people assembled, young / old and relatives. It was just a Friday night with Haftarah. But it was a festive experience with tent with lots of food outside beyond what most Friday night’s had. I think it was a first. If I wanted something special at night, this was my only option for fun night. Nighttime seemed very magical with community.

Robin Wallack:

Friday night with haftarah. Party, photographer, friends, etc, but before the service! PS-Gave my “speech” in Hebrew! And this was a Conservative synagogue in West Orange.

Eleni Litt:

Chanted Haftorah on Friday night in 1965 …. I think I was the 1st girl/woman to do that. Plus I gave a d’var on Isaiah in Hebrew….his was outside Philadelphia (Havertown, PA) And at age 40 (1992) I had a celebration of my Bat Mitzvah and I (finally) read the first Aliyah from the Torah itself.

Helaine Isaacs:

I became a bat mitzvah the year before my oldest son became a bar mitzvah. It was wonderful to know we were studying at the same time and I was grateful to show him it was important for me as well as for him to go through this process.

Edna Bryn-Noiman:

Growing up in Israel, having a traditional Bat Mitzvah was unheard of. If your family could afford it , you had a nice party or  a class  celebratory trip. In my case, no Bat Mitzvah and no party since I remember as a winter kid that my mom baked her fantastic cakes and then got a severe flu and these are my memories from 12 years old…Although I didn’t have a Bat Mitzvah, my mom Suzi and my mother in law Miriam came from Israel to Adi and Liron’s B’not Mitzvah at TJC. They were so proud, excited and impressed that they raved about both B’not Mitzvah to all our family members and their own friends in Israel!

Denise Cheskis:

I became an adult bat mitzvah between when my 1st and 2nd born children became bnei mitzvah. I was learning as my children were learning and I wanted to show them that we are always learning, even as adults (especially as adults). I also wanted to show my children how important our Jewish religion is to our future: as a Jewish woman, as a Jewish mother, as the matriarch of a Jewish family … for the future of the Jewish people. I continue learning about Judaism and continue teaching my children, and now my grandson. May we all continue learning, teaching, and living Jewish lives!

Bobbi Freedman:

My Bat (Bas) Mitzvah was in 1963.  We belonged to an Orthodox Synagogue, in Vineland, NJ at the time.  I was 12 and girls were not permitted to have a Haftorah, so I led Friday night services, as practice for my Bat Mitzvah.  No other girls in my Hebrew School class chose to have a Bat Mitzvah.  Following my Bat Mitzvah, I asked the Cantor (who was also our teacher) if I did OK.  He said yes, and also told me that the Rabbi (who wrote my speech) actually blessed me as a BOY!  I thought that was pretty funny! Looking back, I am so glad to have had my Bat Mitzvah.  In 1959 my older sister, along with three of her friends, were the first ones to have a Bat Mitzvah at our Synagogue. By the time each of our two daughters became a Bat Mitzvah, they participated fully in the service.  I am thankful and proud that progress led to that moment for them.  (My husband’s Bar Mitzvah was also at The Jewish Center like our children.  Our son was born on his birthday, so coincidentally, they shared the same Torah portion and Haftorah Shemini).