Now that I think about it: When did I become a woman?!
A few mornings ago, a friend and I exchanged emails. In response to “What’s doing?” she wrote:
“D put on tefillin for first time this morning, pretty cool, the public stages of celebration for a boy and how proud and mature it makes them feel.
My friend was trying to figure out the analog for a girl - first time she fasts? When you critique her neckline?!”
Ugh. An infuriating question – and one that I hadn’t really given any thought to/about, which is odd for me because, as a mother of two young girls, I’m fairly thoughtful about those kinds of questions. Yet as I reflected on those awkward years in my own girlhood, no equivalent moment evoked great pride either for me or for those around me.
It seems as though everyone else in the Jewish community has their “Jewish maturation” moment – Reconstructionist, Reform and Conservative Jews have equal B’nai Mitzvah rites of passage for boys and girls alike. In the Orthodox community, as my friend pointed out, the real turning point for boys is the first time they lay their tefillin. But for Orthodox girls? Nada.
As many of you have already read, Devorah, in one of her previous posts, blogged about looking for the right service to celebrate the birth of her daughter (insert hyperlink http://www.challahcrumbs.com/Devorah_Blog.php?artId=277)and lamented about the lack of existing rituals celebrating the birth of Jewish girls. She got some great feedback from her readers. (Thanks, everyone!)
I’ll have to ponder how to make the transition into becoming a Bat Mitzvah more meaningful for my daughters. Right now, I’m not asking what kind of ritual you’ve created in your family or community (though of course, you can feel free to share!). Rather, my questions stem from the one posed in the aforementioned email exchange:
What felt like the first the public stage of celebration for you? Did you even feel like you had such a moment? Will your experiences (or lack thereof) help inform how you will make your daughter’s Bat Mitzvah experience more meaningful?
Daphne Price is a wearer of many hats (literally!). She lives in the Modern Orthodox world and works for Reform Jewish Movement. When she's not busy working, being a spouse and a mom of 2, she trains for races and spends time in the kitchen playing around with different recipes to make mealtime more exciting for her family. You can read some of her other blog posts on http://blogs.rj.org/rac/