Welcome everyone! I want to thank you all for coming today especially those who came from out of town. My grandma Bev and grandpa Morry came in from Pittsburgh. Grandma Bev is special to me because she likes to listen to me tell her all about everything that is going on in my life such as school, friends and activities. It makes me happy that I have her to talk with. Grandpa Morry is great because he can fix anything. Whenever he comes to visit I always have a list of things for him to do such as hanging pictures, putting up shelves, and helping me with school projects. Recently he helped me with two science projects which by the way I got A +’s on. Grandma Shirley came in from Florida. I always look forward to celebrating Passover with her because she teaches me how to prepare the special holiday foods such as matzo ball soup and the banana cake, which I love to eat. I will be able to share these recipes with my children and grandchildren someday. I am glad that she was able to come despite the recent passing of my grandpa Joel. I am sad that he was not able to be here because I know that he was really looking forward to sharing this day with me. My Aunt Lisa, Uncle Barry, and cousins Tyler, Chelsea, and Todd also came in from Pittsburgh. Aunt Lisa and Uncle Barry are fun because they take my cousins and me to fun places when I visit. Tyler, Chelsea, and Todd are awesome cousins. Even though we live in different states, we are extremely close. Todd is so cute and he makes me feel good when he draws pictures for me. Chelsea is very thoughtful. She always offers to lend a helping hand. Tyler is not only my cousin but he is my best friend too. We talk to each other on the phone about everything, and then get in trouble for talking too long. I’m so glad that we have each other. Aunt Lynn, Uncle Jim, and cousins Amy and Sean traveled all the way from Texas to be here with me. Although we don’t see each other much, when we do get together we have a blast. Aunt Lynn will take Amy and me to the craft store so that we can make cool things. Sean and I have fun playing video games together. Uncle Jim and Amy are always trying to get me eat spicy food. Sometimes they succeed and then I end up regretting it. I am grateful that you are all here to share in this important day in my life and I love you all very much.
Today is a very special day for me. Bat-Mitzvah means daughter of mitzvah. A mitzvah is a good deed. This is important to me because when you become a bat-mitzvah it means that you are considered an adult in the Jewish religion and are responsible for your actions. Now that I am a bat-mitzvah I will spend more time helping other people. I have started to do this by doing my mitzvah project. My mitzvah project was to raise money for the make-a-wish foundation and to participate in the kids’ triathlon. Make-A-Wish is a nonprofit organization that uses all the money it gets to give wishes to children with life threatening diseases. The wishes range from meeting a famous person, to going on a special vacation, to getting something that they’ve always wanted. With the help of many family members and friends, and an ice tea stand, I was able to raise over 800 dollars for make-a-wish. Next year I will try to help a different organization.
I have worked very hard to get to today. I’ve been going to Hebrew school since fourth grade, spending 5 hours a week learning things such as how to read and write Hebrew, Jewish history, prayers, and Jewish holidays. I also learned about Tzedaka, which could be translated to charity in English but it’s not really charity. Tzedaka in the broad sense is giving to the less fortunate which you are obligated to do because it’s the right thing to do. The difference with charity is that you choose to do it and you don’t have to. About a year ago I began my Bat-Mitzvah studies, which consisted of learning my haftorah. I had a hard time with this at first because I needed to learn the trophs, which are symbols that tell you how to chant it. Once the Rabbi worked with me I understood better and it became easier. I had to practice all time and meet with the Rabbi once a week or so. The Rabbi encouraged me to start coming to Saturday morning services to do a prayer called Ashrei in front of the congregation. This helped me to gain confidence in front of people.
Being Jewish is very important to me. The torah, which is the story of the Jewish people and our laws, and the 10 commandments have taught me how to live a good life. In the torah there are many mitzvot. A lot of them are things that I can do to improve not only my own life, but also everyone else’s around me. For example: one of the mitzvot teaches us to not be wasteful. By recycling, and conserving water and electricity I am helping to take care of the earth and to make it a better place. This is just one of many mitzvot that I will try to do throughout my life.
I would like to take this time to thank the people that are most important to me, my family. My brother Eric is a fun energetic boy. He has so much energy that I call him the energizer bunny. Even though he annoys me sometimes I love him. We play video games and sports together. When I baby-sit him he gets very happy and starts making all kinds of plans about what he wants to do with me. He is very athletic and plays many sports so well. I think that he amazing. My sister Haley is the sweetest person I know. She is always trying to help me with everything. Sometimes it’s annoying because she gets bossy, but I know that she’s just trying to help. She is very caring and likes to take care of me when I’m sick by continuously checking up on me and getting anything that I need. I appreciate and love her very much.
My Dad is very smart, and I have learned a lot from him. He puts a lot of thought into his decisions and he has taught me to look at every point of view when making choices. I like to spend time with him playing games such as sudoku, scrabble, trivial pursuit, and risk. Even though he always wins it teaches me strategies so that I can beat all my friends. I want him to know that he is special and that I love him so very much. My mom is the greatest mom. She teaches me many things. She has taught me to be a nice and respectful person by demonstrating these traits her self. She always tells me to try my hardest and to be the best that I can be. As long as I do this she will be proud of me. My mom teaches to be organized, on time, and to not procrastinate. Sometimes I get lazy and she nags me, but then I realize that she is right and I get back on track. She is wonderful and I love her so much. My whole family tells me how good I’m doing and how proud they are of me. They are so important to me because they take care of me and support me with whatever I choose to do. I love them so much. I also love my dog, Koko. She is a Siberian husky that we got a little over a year ago and is so cute and cuddly. She helped me by sitting and listening to me practice my haftorah without criticizing me.
I also want to thank Rabbi Weisblum for all the time that he has spent with me this past year. I’ve really enjoyed talking with him and appreciate all the advice that he has given me. I look forward to being in his Sunday school class this fall as I continue my Jewish education.
In closing, I want to thank you all again for coming today. It means a lot to me that you are all here to celebrate my special day. I hope that you all enjoy yourselves