Nervous shivers rose over my body as I walked up the few light grey steps towards the Torah. As I took a seat and crossed my legs, I saw hundreds of people looking at my sister and me. Friends and family I had known all of my life gathered to celebrate my entry into Jewish adulthood. My prayers were memorized, I knew my Torah portion perfectly, and I was ready and excited to read from the Torah for the first time. The walk from my seat to the center of the bimah felt like an hour, so many thoughts rushing through my head, worried if I would mess up and how people would react to my terrible singing voice. These thoughts wandered over me as I felt so supported by my younger sister just a few steps behind me. I began singing, fast and anxiously. My prayer was only about a minute, but it went by so fast. By the time my first prayer was done, I was so relieved that I did not mess up and was excited to continue my challenge. Soon enough it was time for me to do my Torah portion. Seven months of practice had all prepared me for these five minutes of reading from the Torah. My job was to teach my congregation the value of leadership - how the role of guiding a generation passes down to the younger leaders when the time is right. My parents and grandparents offer strong support and they have helped me to become the Jewish adult I had always aspired to be. I knew that when I descended the steps of the bimah, the challenge would be complete and my goal would be accomplished. I walked off the bimah and all my friends and family were so proud of my sister and me. We were showered with
“Mazel Tovs” from all of our friends and family. We were told “you did so well” and “I’m so proud of you” hugs and kisses followed. I went home with a strong feeling of pride and I was so elated and relieved that I had completed the work I had set out to do with such polish. The support and love I felt from my best friends and family made this milestone more memorable.
The day following my service, I woke up early with the positive feelings lingering from the night before. The overwhelming pride I had from knowing I succeeded the night before remained a rush. At six o’clock the following night all my friends and my sister’s friends came bursting through the doors of our house to start the celebration. As soon as all the guests had arrived my three best friends went forward and gave a speech about our crazy friendship. Keeping with tradition, my family and i were lifted into chairs for the chanting of the Horah.
I will always remember the feeling I had as I looked over at my sister and down on the people I knew and loved most as they lifted me high in the air as a way of saying,
“you did it” and “you did it well”!