One of the most important days in my life, aside from my birthday and marriage, was my bat mitzvah, June 1997. The other most impressionable moment in my life was my sister’s bat mitzvahs. Yes, not one, but two.
You see, when you grow up in Anchorage, ALASKA, it’s a long, LONG, way from the family on the east coast. So naturally, Debbie had two bat mitzvah’s. One in Jersey so our beloved Grandma Lilli could be present and the other was in our synagogue in Anchorage. I remember them. I love going back and re-watching the videos that we have of them. Oh how I adore your fabulous outfits, shy smiles, and confident voice chanting prayers and singing.
You were my first Hebrew teacher you know! We bonded through singing Debbie Friedman together. I keenly recall the moments when we’d receive a new cassette tape in the mail from you, when you are away at college. Good old mix tape days! Those were where it was at! 🙂
On my bat mitzvah you were there. We planned to sing,”Turn, Turn, Turn,” our mother’s love for folks songs instilled in us through and through. Not only did we sing a lovely duet, but we signed it as well. Because, naturally, that’s what you do when you know two languages, why not incorporate them both? AND one of our close synagogue friend’s was deaf. It was so meaningful to me and our community. Beyond words, in my opinion to share that with you encompasses so many things about our relationship: love, music, courage, and communication.
Andy and I were re-watching my bat mitzvah tape, around this time last year. It seems only fitting now to reflect back upon it a year later. You were so proud coming up to read alongside me with the torah. I can’t wait for the day that Declan will have his bar mitzvah. It’ll come sooner than we realize. Your sweet baby boy is growing up.
So I leave you with this prayer today as this second half of the radiation rounds continue.
Mi Shebeirach avoteinu v’imoteinu,
Avraham Yitzchak v’Yaakov,
Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel v’Lei-ah,
hu y’vareich et [name] ben/bat [parents]
lich’vod HaMakom, lich’vod haTorah.
Bis’char zeh HaKadosh Baruch Hu
mikol tzarah v’tzukah umikol nega umachalah,
v’yishlach b’rachah v’hatzlachah
v’chol maaseh yadav/yadeha,
im kol Yisrael. V’nomar: Amen.
Here is a link to our favorite singer of songs by Debbie Friedman. http://youtu.be/pHKo3CjuzpY
You share her name, her strength, and her beauty for loving life. I love you endlessly sister! xoxo.