When I was brought on board at the Lev LaLev Fund in May 2011, I was asked if I could run the bat mitzvah project program. I thought, sure, how hard could it be? I was once a bat mitzvah girl too after all. Yet, a year later, as I was writing about the 15th anniversary of my own bat mitzvah in my e-newsletter to the bat mitzvah girls, I finally realized just how much had changed in that short amount of time.
Back in 1997 all I was worried about was my speech and outfit. My parents took care of the food, venue, invitations, decorations, music, etc. I was lucky to be the oldest in my class, so I didn’t feel like I had to “keep up with the Steins” after attending my schoolmates’ grand bar and bat mitzvahs. The one thing missing from all of our “coming of age” ceremonies, however, was a mitzvah project.
Today mitzvah kids, or more often their parents, have to worry about finding a chesed project. I think this is a wonderful way to bring the bar/bat mitzvah back to the true celebration of a pre-teen, who takes upon themselves the responsibility of the mitzvot, including the important: tzedekah, chesed, and tikun olam.
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