My Bat Mitzvah - A Page From She Does Not Fear the Snow

After the Prayer Tower, we walked back to our guesthouse just outside the Jaffa Gate.  All the way, Terry speculated about the meaning of what she was now confidently calling the angels in her camera.

The pictures were intriguing.

It struck me that the colour and texture of my beautiful tallit prayer shawl and its matching kippah, or skull cap, was the exact same buttery gold silk as these pictures.

It was made especially for my adult Bat Mitzvah, in 2003. I marked my return to health, (following cancer and five years of sickness), by confirming my status as a ‘Daughter of the Commandment’ on my 51st birthday.

I wanted my prayer shawl to be feminine, bright and cheerful. So I rejected the customary blue stripe on white fabric styles echoed in the Israeli flag, in favour of  commissioning a U.S. fibre artist to create the tallit cloak she named Chag Aviv, or ‘Spring Festival’.

Flowers and gambolling lambs were painted above a mosaic fabric collage of reds, greens and browns, representing the fertile earth, across the bottom. Two of my tallit’s four tasselled corners were embroidered with spring flowers, a third with a dove of peace and the fourth with a fish. I wondered about this, knowing it to be a Christian symbol, but my designer said it represented God’s eye that never closes.

Friends and relatives, Jewish and non-Jewish, looked back at me as I stood on the synagogue dais, wearing my prayer shawl and skull cap. Some were members of my Rosh Chodesh, New Moon, Women’s Group. In the front row sat Jeremy and Alicia, who was heavily pregnant, — I was about to become a grandmother for the first time — my second son, Simon, now 23, and my daughter, Tania, 18. They would read liturgy and poetry I had picked, to make the service personal and meaningful.

I’d asked Seth to say a few words on my special day to celebrate my survival. In my dreams, he would stand up and tell the congregation that I meant something to him. ‘No,’ came his blunt answer.

Bewildered, I asked, ‘Why?’

‘It’s not my thing,’ was all the explanation I received.

My Bat Mitzvah formed part of the... read more :

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Created by Phred St Laurent May 27, 2010 at 11:35pm. Last updated by Phred St Laurent May 31, 2010.

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