I participated in three smachot in camp. We celebrated a Bar Mitzvah of a camper, a 19 year old staff member read Torah for the first time since his Bar Mitzvah and a member of our Mishlachat had a Bat Mitzvah for the first time at age 20!
When I was told that Adi Sharabi wanted to have a Bat Mitzvah in camp, I was thrilled to hear that after just six plus weeks of being here she was so moved by seeing and hearing women read Torah that she wanted to do the same. Adi is a member of our Mishlachat. She never saw a woman read Torah. She never saw a woman wearing a tallit. In honor of Adi’s Bat Mitzvah we purchased her first tallit. It was an emotional moment when I gave it to her before tefillot. She was overwhelmed that “camp” would do this.
During tefillot with Shorashim – the edah that she lives with – she was called up for the second aliyah and chanted the verses in beautiful teimani trope. She learned the trope – for the very first time – on-line! It was a great experience to share this rite of passage with her. We sang, danced and threw candies. When she was done Adi delivered an amazing Dvar Torah to which every camper listened attentively. Adi recalled that her grandfather died just before her camp interview with me and at that time I reassured her that camp would allow her to say Kaddish even if she were not obligated to do so.
I then shared with Adi and the edah that 40+ years ago I, as a Long Island boy, went to Israel for my Bar Mitzvah. The threads of Jewish life and the Jewish people are intertwined in interesting ways she said. I agreed that those threads are certainly intertwined in amazing ways – I went to Israel and she came to Wingdale. We are an interesting people and camp brings us together.
Rabbi Paul Resnick