Margot Cavalier: Join the Adult B Mitzvah Program

I was a member of the last adult b'nai mitzvah class offered at Rodef Shalom. A group of five of us started the program in the fall of 2005, led by Rabbi Sharyn Henry. None of us could read Hebrew well. Some of us knew the aleph-bet and could read a little; others had to learn the aleph-bet.

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Each of my classmates was remarkable in his or her own way. One of my classmates started with virtually no aleph-bet skills. She taught herself the aleph-bet by going home and taking out her spice and herb jars and making labels for them using Hebrew letters instead of English letters. Now, when she takes the yad in her hand and reads from the Torah during High Holy Day services, I feel so much joy.

We discovered that each of us had a different aptitude for learning Hebrew. But Rabbi Henry worked with us and brought us along, providing the encouragement and instilling the confidence many of us needed. By preparing as a group, we ended up with a great appreciation of each other's efforts and we took great pride when we stood on the bima together in December, 2006.

Rabbi Henry had originally planned a two-year program and had scheduled our b'nai mitzvah service for the spring of 2007. At the beginning of our second year, one of my classmates became pregnant, and her due date was in the spring of 2007. By that point, we had become such a tight group that we decided to move the service up to December 2006 so we'd finish together. And we did!

Under the guidance of Rabbi Henry, we led the Chanukah Shabbat service in December 2006. Each of us read from the Torah and delivered a d'var Torah. Some of us even chanted our Torah portions. And then we, as a group, sponsored a celebratory Oneg featuring latkes. The sense of accomplishment and wholeness I felt on that day is something I will never forget.

Did you celebrate becoming a bar or bat mitzvah when you turned 13? If you didn't, you now have an opportunity to become a bar or bat mitzvah! Beginning Tuesday, Oct. 22, Rabbi Henry will lead a one-year Adult B Mitzvah program.

The class will meet on Tuesday evenings from 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. The goal of the program is for the class to lead the Erev Simchat Torah service in 2020 and for each member to read Torah. The only prerequisite is Alef-Bet Boot Camp, which starts on Sunday, Sept. 8, or a basic knowledge of the alef-bet.

Rabbi Henry created a memorably rich and rewarding program for us. It was one of the best, and most meaningful, experiences of my life.

Please give serious consideration to signing up for this program. It's a unique opportunity to grow in ways you would have never dreamed of. Click here to join!

If Not Now, When?

-Margot Cavalier, Vice President, Board of Trustees, Rodef Shalom Congregation

Rodef Shalom