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B’not Mitzvah celebration to take place Sept. 9 at K.I.

Members of Kehilath Israel Synagogue Adult B’not Mitzvah class, taught by Rabbi Jeffrey Shron (far right) include Maureen Minoofar (from left), Debbie Adamous, Sherry Davidson, Laura Daniels, Marian Kaplan, Cheryl Intrater and Carolyn Braverman. Not picture are Adriana Rosales and Joyce Zeldin. Photo by Scott Fishman

On the Shabbat morning of Sept. 9, nine women from Kehilath Israel Synagogue will celebrate together when one of their dreams becomes reality. Months of learning together, with Rabbi Jeffrey Shron as their teacher, will culminate in a joint B’not Mitzvah ceremony at K.I.

Each of the women had a different reason for wanting to take part in this endeavor. In the end, the sum was greater than its parts.

Participant Laura Daniels said, “The idea of a B’not Mitzvah was appealing on a few levels, including continued Jewish education and the challenge of learning to chant.”

She added that the experience turned into so much more than what she thought it would be.

“What was originally thought to be a small group of women has turned into a wonderful circle of friends, each making time to feed their spiritual needs, their own intellectual challenges, with the circle getting stronger as we cheer each other on, talk about issues, relate personal experiences and of course, we laugh a lot. We are getting the opportunity to expand and express a part of ourselves that normally doesn’t get to see the light of day. It has really been fantastic,” Daniels said.

Rabbi Shron says that having a Bat Mitzvah as an adult offers opportunities that are different than having one at the usual age of 12 or 13. He says that according to “Pirkei Avot,” “Ethics of our Fathers,” children at age 5 are taught Tanach, at age 10 the oral Torah, and at age 12 and 13 they have gained enough knowledge and maturity to take on mitzvot for themselves. But, these women also have the added advantage; they have maturity.

In preparation for the B’not Mitzvah, the women learned about three great Jewish leaders — Moshe, Miriam and Devorah, studying their unique leadership styles. In addition, they studied topics specific to Jewish women as well as a wide variety of other Jewish subjects. One example was the significance of Hebrew names and how one’s name often corresponds to one’s character. Some of the women in the class were named at birth; however, some of the women chose their Hebrew names as adults.

Joyce Zeldin has taken many adult Jewish classes through the Melton Adult Learning program.

“I learned much more as an adult than I had learned as a child and enjoyed it so much. Not having had a Bat Mitzvah, this opportunity seems to ‘crown’ my Judaic education with a meaningful ceremony. It is a lovely experience with other lovely ladies,” Zeldin said.

Debbie Adamous said she was interested in the class as soon as she heard it was being offered. She found learning about women prophetesses to be very intriguing and as an adult, she has loved learning about the many responsibilities held by Jewish women.

“We are a great bunch of ladies with a very enthusiastic instructor. I will be very sad when the class is over,” Adamous said. 

While Marian Kaplan was confirmed at the end of 10th grade, becoming a Bat Mitzvah when she was a teen was not an option.

“Rabbi Shron and I had discussed the possibility of an adult Bat Mitzvah class at K.I. over the past few years. When he and Hedy informed us about their decision to make Aliyah, I asked him if there was still enough time to become a Bat Mitzvah. He said yes! Rabbi Shron publicized the information about our class, and now there are nine of us who are studying weekly with him.”

“Studying for a Bat Mitzvah is something I have always wanted to do, especially now that my grandchildren are reaching Bar and Bat Mitzvah age,” Kaplan continued. In fact, her granddaughter just became a Bat Mitzvah earlier this month.

The community is invited to join the B’not Mitzvah celebration beginning at 9 a.m. at K.I. A Kiddush luncheon follows services.