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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Bat Mitzvah Blog

Our youngest daughter, Sashenka, made it through.  Her Bat Mitzvah (coming-of-age ceremony) in our Messianic congregation went swimmingly.  She read in Hebrew, she gave a small sermon, people cried and “Awwwed” over her life’s story and God’s intervention.

Yes, Mama shed a tear or two, as well.

As she was heading for the after-service reception, a man from Ukraine walked up and declared blessings over her in Hebrew.  It was just one of those nights.  Her little friends ran around with cell phones taking photos right and left during the party and generally eating too many felafel balls and cheesecake.

A good time was had by all.

The girls wore their blue suits, slightly different, slightly similar.  One had a flared skirt and the other had more of a mermaid skirt.  Everyone’s hair turned out pretty well, considering our lack of skill in the hair department.  They wanted a bit of a flip on the end.  My own hair, snapped from behind, struck me as very odd and only served to reinforce that I had recently gotten a very strange haircut—appearing to be all one layer– though technically it was “layered”?!– with  a few sprigs hanging down here or there, right, left, and back.  (If this life doesn’t work out, maybe I could get a gig as a country music singer….)

During her reading from the Torah scrolls, which were read in Hebrew with a silver pointer to follow the text from right to left without actually touching the scroll with the hand, Sashenka requested that her father and I stand by her side.  She came to one part, when reading “I will bring your daughters from afar” and transposed it to “I will make rivers in the desert”… or something like that.  I think I’ve blocked it from my mind.  I saw her start to give a little gasp, when she realized that she was reciting, rather than actually reading, and recognized her mistake.  I caught my own breath, wondering if I should make her start all over at the beginning.

Just kidding.

We had a “special speaker” surprise Sashenka, departing from the usual order of service for a family moment of our own. Her oldest brother, Petya, had a few words to say about his sister and had the crowd chuckling at the humor and teary over the tenderness.  It was truly wise counsel from an older brother, as the 16-year-old told the 12-year-old how to live her life and how he was happy that she was his sister.  She basked in the glow of it all.

I had exciting and scary moments of my own.  When taking a few family photos before the service, I felt myself begin to fall backwards, stepping off the platform into thin air, three steps down.  (For those who care, I was wearing mid-height heels, not any platform-like teeter-totters, knowing I’d be standing for quite a bit.  This may have been a very smart move.) Miraculously, I fell, but did not fall down, if that makes sense.  I felt something sproinging in my back from the jarring impact, and a kind friend who arrived early told me about Dr. So-and-So, a chiropractor, who should be arriving shortly.  But I was fine.

Just before the service, we gave the girls small star necklaces from Israel, never mind if we’ll be there soon, it was the thought that counted on this auspicious occasion of reading the Scripture in public for the first time.  The boys received kippot (small headcoverings for prayer) with the walls of Jerusalem depicted around the edges.  There was no such tradition that everyone had to have gifts, but in our family, it seemed to echo the sentiment that, when one member had an accomplishment, we all celebrated.

Mazel tov (congratulations), Sashenka!

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8 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Winnie says:

    Sounds like a wonderful family event with precious memories. Did you videotape it?

    Mazel tov – or just plain ole’ Con—grad—u–la-tions with my thick Arkansas accent.

  2. avatar hoonew says:

    Oh my God. She’s adorable. You all are adorable. And fabulous hair. Congrats to Sashenka and everyone.

  3. avatar AP says:

    Congrats to everyone! These are the moments that keep you going and make it all worth it. What a beautiful daughter, and family, you have.

  4. avatar Sybil says:

    Wishing all the good life has to offer to darling Sashenka at becoming a Bat Mitzvah. I am hoping you have completed your journey to Israel at this turbulent time and are home.

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