Bat Mitzvah

March 4, 2010
By Anonymous

The number of Bat and Bar Mitzvahs in the United States every year is a large one. It would be difficult to figure out exactly how many, because each temple has its own system. But, my point is that countless thirteen-year olds are brought up to the front of the temple and take part in a ceremony. Each one of those kids takes home something different from the experience. Bar and Bat Mitzvahs are a way of growing up in the Jewish community, becoming a man or a woman. But, what I gained from mine wasn’t the feeling of becoming a woman. Personally, I feel like becoming a woman is a process that comes much later in life, when I will eventually experience the feeling of being truly independent. My Bat Mitzvah didn’t turn me into a woman, but it did help me grow up.

The morning of December 1st, I woke up much earlier than I had planned. I was supposed to sleep in so I would feel relaxed, but I ended up feeling tense and sleep-deprived. It was the day of my Bat Mitzvah, and I was definitely not ready. I had tried not to stress myself out for this day, with tactics that really ended up not working. In the process of studying, I had not used all of my energy, as other kids had. This resulted in my teacher being rather annoyed with me and announcing that I would not be able to sing my Torah portion because I was too far behind. At that time I had been happy, for I am not the most talented singer. But now I was scared that everyone would wonder why I wasn’t singing, like the my Bat Mitzvah partner.

While driving to the temple, I was filled with nervous excitement. Finally, the day that I had spent six months preparing for was here. The entire ceremony went by in a blur; I can’t really remember what happened. But, when it was over I breathed a large sigh of relief. All had went well, and seeing as the majority of the audience didn’t know Hebrew, no one could tell that I had made mistakes.

Then came the parties. I had gone to my friends’ celebrations, but had never been the host. I received too many “Mozel Tov!”s and pats on the back to count. I sat down to take a bit of a rest, when suddenly I noticed people coming towards my chair, and lifting me up. It was a bit of a rush, being shoved upwards in a chair. But my friends aren’t the strongest, so I was flying with the constant fear of being dropped. That night was the adult party, the way for my parents to celebrate the months of shuttling me to and from temple, and listening to my rants on why “Bat Mitzvahs are the worst thing ever”.

Finally the day was over. It seemed like everything had happened so long ago. My friend who I hadn’t seen for a year was sleeping over, and we gossiped until we were worn out. I was exhausted by then, and ended up sleeping in until one o’clock in the afternoon. But, it was a well deserved sleep-in, because I had worked like I had never had before.

The day after my Bat Mitzvah I was so happy it was over, but knew it was very worthwhile. Now I can complain to those little 7th graders about how horrible the whole process was, but I know that they will also eventually be happy with what they accomplished. Growing up is a process that takes years, but I grew up quite a bit in those six months. There are the more obvious examples of that, such as my study habits have become so much better. And there are less obvious examples, such as now I feel I can accomplish so much more, I value my Jewish community, and I care about how much my family supported me through the whole process.

I went from being just a little girl, to a girl who had a greater idea about what she appreciated and valued. I felt older and more confident, and I could tell that people noticed. My mom commented many times about how much I was growing up, and I became a girl that they respected me, instead of being viewed as just a little kid. I also gained a new understanding of my religion. I realized how much the people meant to me. While I don’t agree with all of the ideals of Judaism, I found a community with many supportive people. I think I grew and changed from the whole experience, and that now I am a better person.

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