Preparation for the Bat Mitzvah ceremony and reading from the Torah
Last year a part of the Progressive Appeal a group of women from ARZA and the UPJ formed the Progressive Jewish Women’s group to raise money for a specific program in Israel. The program we chose was the IMPJ Bat Mitzvah program for girls who otherwise may not have the opportunity. Yesterday we received a report from Tamara on the success of the program. Part of that report is now included.
“We created the Egalitarian Bat Mitzvah Course in order to help Bat Mitzvah-aged girls in Israel express their Jewish identity in an authentic, inspiring, and empowering way. In addition to accompanying participants in their personal exploration of Jewish coming of age, the program encourages girls to prepare for the very special Aliyah l’Torah — the reading of a section from the Torah from the Bimah in front of friends and family.”
Your funds, which numbered a generous total of AUS$ 20,178, supported an engaging and enlightening mother-and-daughter workshop, which consisted of 10 sessions covering the following topics:
- Coming-of-age milestones in Judaism and other cultures
- Developing a personal Jewish identity
- Jewish education and thought
- Jewish values
- Young leadership through social justice
- Jewish sources and texts using a modern lens
- Preparation for the Bat Mitzvah ceremony and reading from the Torah
In addition to the lively group classes and workshops, participants and their families met privately with a Rabbi to discuss and plan their ceremony and finalize their Torah readings. The girls culminated their experience with a celebratory Aliyah l’Torah ceremony in a reform congregation or the egalitarian section of the Kotel.
We are proud to report that this year, with your generous contribution, we reached 242 Bat Mitzvah girls with our inclusive, pluralistic programming. Lali, who attended the workshop with her mother found the entire experience “inspirational”. She said, “The Rabbi and the Kehillah prepared me carefully and in a wonderful way. It is important for me to say thanks that I was able to celebrate this important event with my family and friends.” Parents were also grateful for the program.
Helen Shardey OAM
ARZA Australia President
UPJ Vice President