Bat Mitzvah Program

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This program provides a great opportunity for girls to prepare for and to celebrate their Bat Mitzvah in an encouraging and positive environment.

Throughout the course of the year they discuss many complex issues pertaining to Jewish womanhood.

On one of the weekends, a Shabbaton is held, where the girls experience a Shabbath from beginning to end.

A wonderful ceremony is held at the conclusion of the course.

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Mrs Heloise Waislitz beautiful speech at the Bat Mitzvah Ceremony for her daughter, Millie, at Chabad Malvern on 25th November, 2012:

Rabbi Yurkowicz, Rabbi Cooper, our wonderful Benot Mitzvah, "our wonderful daughter of Mitzvah", Ladies and Gentlemen.

It's a great honour to be asked to speak on behalf of the Benot Mitzvah, especially the mums.

And I am so pleased to share my own special moment with my daughter Millie, while also sharing it with all her friends and their families.

Many of us, and here I'd like to speak for the mums and the dads, have already celebrated our daughters "batmi’s" with parties and with speeches.

Lots of speeches.

We've our told our daughters publicly, as well as privately, how we treasure them, we love them, and how proud we are of their achievements.

But today is a different celebration.

As we've seen and heard, it's about another dimension. It's about the dimension of our Jewish identity. About why being Jewish matters to all of us.
But why does it matter especially to us as Jewish women: daughter and mother? And why does it matter to our families, who have passed on the Jewish tradition to us?

We sometimes forget that the tradition of the Bat Mitzvah, of a special rite of passage for Jewish girls, not jus boys, is relatively new.

It's just 90 years old.

But the Jewish tradition behind it, and which we've heard so beautifully expressed today, dates back thousands of years.

And millions upon millions of families have kept this alive.

SO i hope you agree. we do have something wonderful to celebrate.

Now, Ladies and Gentleman, I'd like to say something to Menucha.

Menucha, thank you for your kind words of introduction. But I'd like to thank you for something far more important.

Thank you Menucha, for what you, and your incredible fellow teachers Chanchkie and Chaya'le, have done for our children, for our daughters. You have guided them to the age of Mitzvah. And you have done so with love and heart. You have given them so many gifts that will last a lifetime.

Pride in their Jewishness, an understanding of their heritage and tradition, an awareness that the spiritual life actually matters, and a respect for the basic values of goodness and decency.

And you have enabled every Jewish Mum and Dad here, and quite a few grandparents, to enjoy a huge serving of "naches".

Now I hope I don't have to explain what the word "naches" means to this audience, because I don't think I can. There's reall no equivalent word in English for it. Pride? Joy? Admiration? Sheer pleasure?

Yes, we feel all of the above, but what makes "naches" special, is that it's not about us. It's about them.

It's about what we feel about our children, about their accomplishments and about their growth and development. It's about our dreams, hopes and aspirations for them in the future.

So what are our dreams for our daughters, the daughters of Mitzvah? Each of us, of course, will have our own special dreams. About their personal happiness, their education, the partners they will choose, and the families they will build. Yes, we can't help thinking about that. After all, We are Jewish mothers.

But I think we all share some other dreams. We look ahead, and we dream about these young Jewish women, confident in their femininity, committed in their Jewishness, and dedicated to contribute to the Jewish community, and to the wider Australian society.

So when we look at our daughters, and we share those dreams, "naches" is definitely the word.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our daughters come from a variety of Jewish homes and backgrounds. and many are not Orthodox, not all go to Jewish day schools, and some had very little Jewish education before their Bat Mitzvah classes.

Yet I think we can all agree on one thing: That over the past year these wonderful young Jewish women have entered a whole new world.

It's a wonderful world of learning and understanding what it means to be a Jewish woman. So what is Menucha's secret, and the secret of her fellow teachers?

Why does Chabad Malvern, a strictly Orthodox Shule, attract so many girls from non-Chabad and non-Orthodox backgrounds to its Bat Mitzvah class? And why have these classes grown so much in recent years?

I'm not sure I can fully answer my own questions. But I'd lke to suggest a least one reason. Everybody here - the Rabbi's, the wonderful teachers, the administrators, are all dedicated and committed to their particular view of Judaism.

But they don't judge other Jews. They welcome families and daughters from all backgrounds, and they do so with genuine warmth.

They are for real, and I think our girls pick up on that pretty quickly. As we the parents do too.

After all, being the real thing, becoming who you really are, and matters in today's often artificial world.

So for that, for being real, and for so many other gifts which our daughters of Mitzvah have received from Chabad Malvern, we thank you.

I would ask all of you to join me in expressing that gratitude.