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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Bat Mitzvah’

Bat Mitzvah Girl Used Gift Money to Renovate Crisis Center

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

The Emergency Crisis Center of Neve Michael in central Israel now has a beautifully renovated facility and state-of-the-art kitchen, thanks to Charlotte Sack, 12, from Manhattan, who loves to cook and decided to donate her bat mitzvah gifts to renovate the facility for the children at the Center who can benefit from cooking therapy.

Charlotte recognizes how fortunate she is in life and wanted to use her bat mitzvah as an opportunity to give back. Together with UJA-Federation of New York’s “Give a Mitzvah-Do a Mitzvah” program, Charlotte decided to give to a place she admires and to bring something that gives her joy to the children at the Neve Michael Emergency Crisis Center.

The Center serves and provides refuge for 250 children from all over Israel, who have suffered abuse of all kinds. Since the year 2000, more than 650 children have benefited from the Crisis Center kitchen. Two volunteers come to cook and bake with the children on a regular basis. This cooking therapy focuses on socializing, learning to cook together, learning about food, and learning about the health benefits that food provides.

The natural wear and tear in the kitchen over the last 13 years is visible. Charlotte’s gift will provide a clean and modern space, where the children can undergo therapy through cooking and baking. The money will be used to purchase two industrial dishwashers, an oven, an industrial refrigerator, and a freezer.

Charlotte’s parents, Jonathan and Caroline Sack, and her siblings, Rebecca, 9, Beatrice, 2, and Elizabeth, 14, traveled to Israel to visit the center and to meet the children who will be helped by Charlotte’s generosity. Elizabeth also participated in the Give a Mitzvah–Do a Mitzvah program two years ago, at the time of her bat mitzvah, and had a handicapped-equipped sailboat built for Israel’s Paralympic team in the 2012 Olympics in London.

“I learned about children who are growing up in a very different environment than I am and I knew I wanted to help,” said Charlotte. “Since I love cooking, I thought it would be great to give other children the opportunity to cook with nice equipment and learn a new skill that I enjoy so much.”

“UJA-Federation of New York’s Give a Mitzvah–Do a Mitzvah program allows bar and bat mitzvah aged students to take their first step into the world of philanthropy as they begin their young adult journey in the Jewish community. We work individually with each participant to tailor a project based on their passions, hobbies, and interests,” said Brittany Wayne of UJA-Federation of New York. “Charlotte’s project relates to her interests and her generosity will greatly benefit the children at Neve Michael. Her project is a great example of becoming involved in philanthropy at a young age and helps to strengthen the relationship between the Jewish community in New York and in Israel.”

A special dedication ceremony took place Tuesday at the Crisis Center in Neve Michael. Charlotte Sack and her family joined the kids there to officially open the new kitchen. Speakers at the ceremony included Ilan Halperin, representative of UJA-Federation of New York in Israel.

Prison Bound Madoff’s Brother at Granddaughter’s Bat Mitzvah

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Peter Madoff, brother of notorious Ponzi-scheming Bernie, partied with friends and family at his granddaughter’s bat mitzvah on Sunday, the NY Post reported.

Today, writes the Post, the Madoffs will continue their celebration at 404 NYC, a sleek event space on 10th Avenue. The cost of the event is estimated at between $75 and $100 thoysand.

Peter Madoff, 67, received a 10-year sentence on Dec. 20, but the judge delayed Madoff’s incarceration until Feb. 6, based on pleas from family and clergy to let the proud grandfather attend the event.

Before little Rebecca Skoller read from the Torah at the Central Synagogue in Midtown Manhattan, Peter Madoff said a brief prayer in Hebrew and kissed the Torah.

Little Rebecca told the assembled congregation that “the suffering of others should not be forgotten.”

After the ceremony—live-streamed online—Madoff, the 100 guests, and security, went downstairs to the Pavilion Room, catered salmon, tuna and bagels.

You know, if the whole thing was streamed, grandpa could be watching it from the prison library. Too late now.

The Post approached a few of Madoff’s victims for their reaction.

“I would much prefer that Peter Madoff be locked up and the only way he can attend the bat mitzvah is through pictures sent to him in prison,” said Michael DeVita, 62, who lost his retirement assets to the Madoff scam.

“I don’t think he should have any rights,” said Shelly Ludlow from Long Island, whose mother lost everything in the Ponzi scheme. “She has nothing, and here he can go and party — that’s injustice.”

Peter Madoff, the chief compliance officer at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, worked for his brother for 40 years and took in $40 million just from 1998 to 2008.

He pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and falsifying documents.

He told the court that he was “deeply ashamed and sorry,” but argued that he was also among his brother’s $20 billion fraud.

US District Judge Laura Swain said his plea of ignorance was “frankly, not believable.”

Little Rebecca begged the judge to let her “Papa” attend her “13th-birthday rite.”

Wait a minute – 13th birthday? Must be a Reform thing. Equal opportunity B-Mitzvah.

“Papa and I have always looked forward to sharing the experience of my bat mitzvah. I would give anything just to have him see me reading from the Torah even if it was only for a second,” the girl wrote.

Central Synagogue Rabbi Peter Rubinstein also wrote the judge.

“I suspect that the unfolding tragedy of Peter’s circumstances . . . were hatched early on in his dependence on his older brother as the closest father figure he had,” Rubinstein wrote.

There you go – a fine teaching of moral responsibility: my brother made me do it.

As part of his plea deal, Peter Madoff forfeited his assets, and his wife Marion must now endure life in a $3,300-a-month apartment in Battery Park City.

Madoff will now report to the upstate NY Otisville medium-security federal prison. Forbes rated it as one of the most comfortable prisons in America.

Hadassah Foundation Awards 13 Bat Mitzvah-Year Mini-Grants

Monday, August 27th, 2012

The Hadassah Foundation announced 13 mini-grants for organizations serving Jewish young people in 11 states.

The grants are in honor of Hadassah’s 13 years of grant making and will fund new or expanded programming that promotes the physical, spiritual and emotional well-being of Jewish girls and young women.

Recipients of the $500 mini-grants include organizations from all major Jewish denominations, synagogues, day schools, Hillels, a community-based organization doing outreach to people in their 20s, an after-school high school program and a local board of Jewish education.

“We are delighted that this mini-grant program will enable so many youth-serving organizations in the Jewish community to create feminist-oriented programming,” Donna Gerson, Hadassah Foundation chair, said in a statement. “This program enables us to reach many new communities that normally wouldn’t be touched by the Hadassah Foundation.”

The following organizations have received Bat Mitzvah Year Mini-Grants: Shearim Torah High School for Girls, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Bureau of Jewish Education, San Francisco; Temple Kol Tikvah, Woodland Hills, Calif.; Hillel Foundation at Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind.; Congregation Agudath Achim, Taunton, Mass.; Temple Beth El, Traverse City, Mich.; Next Dor STL, St. Louis; Congregation Agudath Israel, Caldwell, N.J.; Solomon Schechter School of Queens, N.Y; Chapel Hill Kehillah Synagogue, Chapel Hill, N.C.; Hillel at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio; B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, Ohio Northern Region, Beachwood, Ohio; and The Jewish Community High School of Gratz College, Melrose Park, Pa.

Sheldon Cooper’s Girlfriend Speaks at National Museum of American Jewish History about her Bat Mitzvah

Monday, March 26th, 2012

The lovely Mayim Bialik, who used to play Blossom on the 1990s TV sitcom by the same name, then played the young Bette Midler in the movie Beaches, and nowadays has become the heartthrob of millions of geeks as neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory – spoke last Sunday at a National Museum of American Jewish History event marking the 90th anniversary of the Bat Mitzvah.

Apparently, the Bat Mitzvah, a synthetic celebration of some vague notion of adulthood in 12-year-old girls, represents—so says the Philadelphia Inquirer—a new and profound idea, “that girls would be treated the same as boys.” This equality was achieved, it turns out, by matching, gift for gift, haftorah for haftorah, overblown bash for overblown bash (you get where I’m getting) that other totally synthetic celebration of equally vague notions of adulthood, the Bar Mitzvah.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Mayim, who confessed to nursing her own little boy, Fred, through age 3 (“I believe in child-led weaning”). I just think she may not be the best advocate for rituals of adulthood…

The awkward girlfriend of the most popular Asperger syndrome patient Sheldon Cooper, told a house packed with 200 approving Jews at the museum’s Dell Theater that she was the first woman in her family to celebrate a bat mitzvah.

“Nearly 25 years later, the intensity of the religious covenant she undertook that day has only deepened,” reports the Inquirer.

It began on somewhat shallower grounds: in Hebrew, her name means “water,” and so water became the theme of her bat mitzvah: “The color scheme of her party was ocean blue. Live goldfish stared from glass bowls on tables. And for the guests, submarine sandwiches.”

How can you argue with this much adulthood rite stuff?

But, just to be fair, Ms. Bialik makes a pretty terrific grownup: In 2007 she earned a doctorate in neuroscience from UCLA, specializing in obsessive-compulsive disorder in adolescents with Prader-Willi syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes lax muscle tone, cognitive disabilities, and a chronic feeling of hunger that can lead to life-threatening obesity.

And she just published a new book, Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way.

And, like I said, I absolutely love her. But the Bat Mitzvah and Bar Mitzvah thing? Never understood either.

Sharing With My Extended Family

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

From time-to-time, I share my personal semachos with my extended family, you, my dear readers of The Jewish Press. So it is my zechus (privilege) to publish, in this column, an article that my daughter, Slovie Jungreis Wolff (Hineni lecturer and author of Raising a Child With Soul) wrote for Aish.com, on the occasion of the Bat Mitzvah of her daughter Aliza.

Dear Aliza,

Twelve years ago there was still much sadness in my heart. I missed my Abba, your Zaydie, on whose shoulders you had never been carried. And then, the night that Passover was over, great joy returned. Your sweet soul brought life into this world.

I remember saying the Shema to you that very first moment I held you. Your tiny little hand curled round my one finger. Holding you brought me peace. I was comforted. We asked your bubba for a name. Bubba, your beloved grandmother, is the “keeper of the names.” After surviving Bergen-Belsen as a little girl and losing her zaydie and bubby along with so many cousins, aunts, uncles and life as she knew it, Bubba refused to relinquish their names. Until today, your bubba holds onto their sacred memory and tenaciously remembers each and every name.

Bubba likes to tell the story how, when I was first born, the nurse entered the room and asked for my name to record on hospital records.

“Slova Channah,” Bubba said.

“I’ll come back when you’re feeling better, dear,” was the nurse’s immediate reply.

I have always carried the name of my great-grandmother, Rebbetzin Slova Chana, proudly. Knowing that my name is unusual and certainly not typically American never daunted me. As a little girl my name seemed to whisper to me and remind me of whom I am. And as I grew, I have come to understand that I am the bearer of my bubba’s torch. Her light must shine through me despite the blackness of her death.

She lived her life giving of herself to others, immersed in holiness until her final moments when she perished in the flames of those unbearable times. She left this world with the Shema on her lips. And then years later, the same Shema was on mine as I held you for the first time.

So when you were born, of course, we came to Bubba and asked for your name.

“Your Abba, Zaydie, had a most beautiful sister,” she told us. “She was known to be kind and wise, always with a bright smile and great love for life. She was taken away by the Nazi Gestapo… never married, seen or heard from again. Abba Zayda missed his sister so. Her name was Fraidel, which means joyful. It is a perfect name for our sweet baby. Let’s add the name Aliza,” Bubba advised. “Aliza is the Hebrew version of the Yiddish, Fraidel. With G-d’s help, this baby will always bring us joy.” So the name Aliza Fraidel became your noble legacy.

I tell you all this, my precious Aliza, because now it is your turn to bear the torch. Turning 12 is the age of understanding for you, my sweet child. As you come to embrace the mitzvot with new understanding, it is important that you know from whence you’ve come. It is only when you know where you have come from that you can know where you are going.

We live in such difficult times. I know how hard it is to grow up in today’s world. So many challenges, so many fears. I know that at times your world will seem overwhelming, even frightening. My precious Aliza Fraidel, never forget from whence you’ve come. Never forget your name.

Take this legacy with you, wherever you may go. Remember too, that the root of the word neshamah (soul) is shem (name). If you would like a window onto your soul, grasp onto your name and never allow its presence to leave you. You have been called after a most righteous woman who died al Kiddush Hashem, sanctifying the name of G-d. Her holiness will accompany you throughout your life. You will always be reminded of your noble mission, just as I have been, as your name gently whispers to you and reminds you of your roots.

At your Bat Mitzvah, we asked Bubba to say a few words so that she might give you her blessing. The girls in your class were sitting in front and Bubba took a moment to look at them before she began to speak.

“I know that it seems strange to you that I am crying,” Bubba said, “but you see, when I look at all these beautiful girls sitting together as one, I am overwhelmed. When I was a little girl, there were no Bat Mitzvahs. There were no girls laughing, singing and dancing together. We did not even know if there would ever be more Jewish little girls. We could not imagine that we would survive. And here you are! A new generation ready to stand up and live a life of Torah and mitzvot. Girls who, with G-d’s help, will one day build your own Jewish homes and bring new light into our world. Who would have believed this?”

And so, I want to thank G-d for allowing me the privilege to rebuild. We came from the ashes and now look! G-d has, in His great kindness, blessed me with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. All loyal to His Torah, all walking in the path of our people.”

Bubba asked you to come up so that she might bless you. As you stood before her, Bubba placed her hands on your head and through her tears gave you her blessing.

As your mother, it seems daunting for me to put my blessings for you into words. Words are so limiting and my hopes and prayers are boundless. I have so much to say, so many supplications rest within my heart.

You know, Aliza, that since you were a baby, we had a tradition together. I would sing you the Shema, and you would fall asleep contentedly in my arms. As you have grown, you still fall asleep with a prayer on your lips but you have added your own traditions. Each night, you conclude your bedtime prayers with a private plea to G-d. You ask G-d to bring refuah sh’leimah, a full recovery and healing to those who are ill. And then I hear you say the names of so many… mothers, fathers, children, babies, all in need of G-d’s healing balm. You do not even know many of these people, but you have heard their Hebrew names being given for Psalms.

I pray that you forever feel compassion for others. I pray that you walk in the ways of our mothers, Sarah, Rebeccah, Rachel and Leah. I pray that you forever remember your name, your legacy for life and your holy roots. And as you grow into a bat Yisrael, a daughter of Israel, may G-d bless you with all His blessings, watch over you, and guide you so that you may be a source of true nachat to our family, our people and our G-d.

I love you forever.

After Yeshiva Mercaz HaRav Kook: Understanding The Horribly Human Face Of Arab Terror

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

Pain can sometimes be sanitized by language, but it can never be truly anesthetized. For the Arab terrorists, violence against the innocent is always a jubilant abstraction; a “purifying” ritual, even after their crimson tide has been loosed. For the victims, suffering is inevitably a deeply personal violation; stark, undimmed and always inexpressible.

History is abundantly clear on this point. Most recently, we mourn victims of the March 6, 2008 Palestinian terror attack on the Mercaz HaRav Kook Yeshiva. Significantly, for the Palestinians, both for the active murderers and for the literally tens or even hundreds of thousands of cheering sympathizers, there is really nothing new under the sun. For this savagely twisted Arab community, deliberate and barbarous assaults upon the innocent have always been its raison d’etre, its very reason for being.

“I murder, therefore I am.” This cadaverous phrase might just as well be the proud credo of Palestinian terror violence, from its defiled early beginnings all the way up to Mercaz HaRav. Consider that on January 17, 2002, a Palestinian terrorist entered a banquet hall in Hadera, Israel, opening fire (as in Mercaz HaRav) in every direction with an assault rifle. There to celebrate a Bat Mitzvah, six guests were killed, and 30 were injured. The Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades, an operational element of “moderate” Fatah, claimed responsibility. In Tulkarem, hundreds marched gleefully through the streets soon after the attack. Shooting wildly into the air, these “freedom fighters” sought to collectively confirm their just-completed “victory” against old women and young children.

In Hadera, six persons were killed and 30 injured in what the terrorists had termed a “military action” (the Mercaz HaRav attack was also termed a “military action” by all Palestinian communities). But what does terrorism really mean in such circumstances? What is the distinctly human face of terror in these assaults?

Here is the way in which the Hadera attack was described to me directly by Dr. Moshe Rosenblatt, a personal friend and a skilled Israeli surgeon who worked tirelessly on that earlier terror-filled day to save innocent lives:

“Dear Lou. The terrorist attack took place at the other end of my street, some 800 meters from my building. I’ve been many times in this wedding hall, so I could easily have been one of the people there. I would be dead now, and/or my wife and children. Fortunately, this time at least, it didn’t happen.

“Despite the fact that I’m the director of a surgical outpatient clinic, on these events I always go to Hadera’s hospital to help my colleagues. That’s what I did today. I ran to the operating room where I entered into an almost heroic operation to save the life of a middle-aged woman. One of the terrorist bullets had ruptured her liver, stomach, bowels and major vessels. We couldn’t stop the bleeding. So we opened her chest to cross-clamp the aorta, while undertaking direct heart massage. All in vain. She died of massive hemorrhage, blood and feces strewn everywhere.

“I then changed my surgical clothes and entered another operating room to begin, with my colleagues, another operation. This time the patient was a young guy with an abdomen full of shrapnel. We had to resect the lower part of his ruptured large bowel, but − at the end of the operation − he was still bleeding profusely through his wounded hip. I left the room while the orthopedic surgeons began to operate on his right hip. I believe he will also die. He is bleeding too much, likely because of a disastrous medical problem called DIC (Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation), which depletes all of the coagulation factors − leaving the patient bleeding everywhere. The anesthetists and intensive care teams will try to overcome the problem; I’m praying for this young man.

“Many other patients were treated by other surgeons. My surgical dress was full of blood. I took a shower and here I am, at 4:00 in the morning, writing to you, my friend. I just can’t sleep now. Although very tired, I’m too excited because after all these years of seeing blood and death on my hands, I never quite get used to it.”

“…I never quite get used to it.”

Yet, this is what Israelis are asked to endure (sometimes daily) yesterday for the ill-fated Oslo “Peace Process,” today for the so-called “Road Map.” It is still an altogether lurid and inexcusable cartography. For Israel, it is still land for nothing. For Israel, the territorial concessions will always be unrequited. For the West in general, and for the United States in particular, Israel remains the miner’s canary, a presumably instrumental sacrifice to satisfy resolute and (literally) bloodthirsty enemies. Naturally, this is not “normally” the sort of allegation that one cares to make out loud.

Dr. Moshe Rosenblatt’s unvarnished account of a single physician’s day in the aftermath of Palestinian terror wears a distinctly human face. In our shadowy world of otherwise comforting euphemisms and endurable abstractions, it is a frightful but palpable description. Only in such a boldly straightforward account may we actually understand the true meaning of “terror victim”, whether at a Bat Mitzvah in Hadera or in a Jerusalem Yeshiva.

The terrorist, too, has a discernibly human face. Much as we may wish to deny it, he or she is also human, all-too-human in fact. More often than we acknowledge, this other human face reveals the sheer voluptuousness of terrorist violence, a longed-for ecstasy that often bears no relation to any strategic or tactical advantage. This last point warrants especially careful attention, as it is plain that repeated Palestinian murders of defenseless Israelis actually undermine the stated Palestinian goal of self-determination and statehood.

Terrorism is a codified crime under international law. From the jurisprudential standpoint, anyone who deliberately targets noncombatants, and who does so with clear intent of maximizing pain and suffering, is a terrorist. Period. There is NO legal validity to the popular cliché, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” This uninformed remark, usually uttered in the contrived accents of a pretended sophistication, is always an empty witticism.

The distinctly human face of terror can be detected in both the victim and the perpetrator. The Jerusalem and Hadera attacks in Israel uncovered a very basic but still unrecognized truth about both faces: 1. Terror victims have no nationality. We are all potential victims of lawless insurgencies, and the anguished human face of terror is common to us all. 2. Terror perpetrators often terrorize for the sheer human exhilaration of bringing pain to others. Terrorists always claim to act on behalf of very precise and tangible social, political or religious objectives, but their deeper human motives would suggest very different goals.

Perhaps, once it is better understood, the human face of terror can become the starting point for more genuinely effective strategies of counter-terrorism. Heaven knows they are desperately needed before Palestinian murderers start to turn to chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons.

Copyright © The Jewish Press, April 4, 2008. All rights reserved.

LOUIS RENÉ BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971) and is the author of many books and articles on terrorism and counterterrorism. He is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.

First Bat Mitzvah Held At Rachel’s Tomb Complex

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

Nearly 100 people from Israel and the U.S. gathered at Kever Rachel (Rachel’s Tomb) on the outskirts of Bethlehem earlier this month for what is being described as the first ever Bat Mitzvah celebration held in the kever and the recently acquired adjacent building. The celebration was organized by the Rachel Imeinu Foundation (www.rachelimeinu.org), which aims to strengthen the Jewish presence in and around the complex housing the tomb, revered as the traditional burial site of the Biblical Matriarch Rachel.

Festive music and dancing greeted Tamar Klein, 12, as she marked her passage into adulthood. While she gave a short drashah, her proud parents, Penina and David Klein of Cedarhurst, New York, and other invited guests, looked on.

The Bat Mitzvah festivities took place in the building known as Beit Bnei Rachel, which lies immediately adjacent to the structure housing the tomb, both of which are enclosed within a loop in the separation wall constructed by Israel.

Tamar and her parents signed up with the Rachel Imeinu Foundation’s Bat Mitzvah program months ago, and planned it in coordination with the president of the Rachel Imeinu Foundation, Chaim Silberstein. The preparation for the big event took place under the guidance of the Israeli Bat Mitzvah coordinator, Tsipi Egert, both by phone and email, enabling the family to arrange the event, from the comfort of its own home, down to the smallest detail.

 
Tamar Klein and guests celebrate her Bat Mitzvah at Rachel’s Tomb.
 

The Bat Mitzvah girl was sent worksheets, relating to Rachel Imeinu, which she learned with her mother on a weekly basis. Other components of the Bat Mitzvah program included a chesed project, a unique scrapbook, treasure hunt, volunteering for Israeli soldiers, and arts and crafts connected to Kever Rachel. Catering was supplied by the Beit Orot Yeshiva, also a part owner of the complex.

“This is an historic event,” said Silberstein. “It is the first time that a full-fledged Bat Mitzvah celebration, including catering, music, photographers and dancing, took place in the center adjoining the tomb.”

“Our goal is to establish a World Bat Mitzvah Center in the building that will provide young Jewish women with a special venue to celebrate their Bat Mitzvahs, just as young Jewish men mark their Bar Mitzvahs at the Western Wall.”

The site, designated to be the Rachel Imeinu Educational Campus, consists of one acre of land and a 9,000 square-foot building. It was purchased from its Arab owners several years ago by a consortium of Jews, who felt very strongly about securing Kever Rachel, the success of which revolved around bringing a permanent Jewish presence to the area.

By expanding the site of the Tomb (which is surrounded on three sides by a Muslim cemetery) and building educational and ultimately residential facilities, it is hoped that Rachel’s Tomb will not befall the fate of Rachel’s son Yosef’s Tomb in Shechem, which was deserted by the IDF in late 2000 and destroyed by Muslims soon thereafter.

The IDF had occupied Beit Bnei Rachel for four years until the security barrier/separation wall was constructed surrounding Kever Rachel and the new property. After the wall was completed in August 2006, the IDF handed over security responsibility to the Israeli Border Police who agreed to return the building to its owners. This process has been going on for the past year, with the Police determining security measures in the compound, making visiting the area safer than ever.

The process has been very challenging both during the acquisition itself (whose details are confidential) and post acquisition, due to the bureaucratic, security and political obstacles concerning Judaism’s third holiest site.
 
 
Recent aerial of Kever Rachel, the security fence and Beit Bnei Rachel.
 

For example, just weeks ago, Malky Grunwald, granddaughter of one of the major donors toward the acquisition, Evelyn Haies of Brooklyn, planned to have her Bat Mitzvah in the building her grandmother helped purchase. The very day before the planned simcha, the new chief of Jerusalem police, Aaron Franko decided to place a restriction on access to the building as he wanted to “learn the situation” before implementing his predecessor’s permit.

Nevertheless, the Bat Mitzvah celebration still continued in the kever itself with the proud grandmother surrounded by her family and friends. Malky had celebrated her first birthday at Kever Rachel, so it was very appropriate to have her Bat Mitzvah there too.

Now that the complex is accessible by regular buses (since August 1, the IDF dropped the bullet- proof requirement, although private vehicles are still not allowed into the complex) the number of visitors is on the rise, so much so that Egged is sending in double-buses, which are full on almost every trip. The added security, coupled with the completion of the Rachel Imeinu Educational Center (which will include the World Bat Mitzvah Center, a museum, visitors center and learning institutions), will encourage even greater numbers of Jewish girls and women (and of course, men), to visit  Kever Rachel. The building is expected to undergo a full makeover to a beautiful and modern educational and simcha facility.

This is expected to attract a wide spectrum of Jewish visitors, including those who do not normally have Kever Rachel included in their touring itinerary. Through experiencing a meaningful Bat Mitzvah, or visiting the center and museum, they will strengthen their ties to their country and heritage.

The Rachel Imeinu Foundation is accepting reservations for Bat Mitzvahs, even though the new building has not been completed. “Because of the high demand from both Israel and the Diaspora, we will still have events in the building as long as construction constraints permit. If not, we have alternate venues available for the festive meal, while the ceremony is still held at the kever. Tamar Klein’s Bat Mitzvah was a great step toward adulthood for her, and a large leap toward the blossoming and expansion of Rachel’s Tomb for Am Yisrael,” Silberstein said.

“This,” he added, “is the first of what I hope will be many more meaningful and joyous celebrations at the compound.”

For more information, to take a tour to Kever Rachel, or to arrange for a Bat Mitzvah celebration at Rachel’s Tomb, log on to www.rachelimeinu.org or contact chaim@rachelimeinu.org.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/travel/first-bat-mitzvah-held-at-rachels-tomb-complex/2007/09/19/

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