2015 A Bat Mitzvah...at Last

2015 A Bat Mitzvah...at Last

Myrna Fogel fulfills a dream

Myrna Fogel for eNews"I always felt cheated," admits Myrna Fogel, expressing her regret about not having had a Bat Mitzvah at the age of 13. She was raised in an Orthodox community in the Bronx where Bat Mitzvah ceremonies for girls were not traditional. Eight years of Hebrew school left her well educated...but she would have been thrilled to mark completion of her early studies with a formal celebration. Now 80 and a resident of the Hebrew Home, Myrna has taken the opportunity extended to her to be called up to the Torah, participate fully in services, and enjoy celebrating her long-delayed rite of passage.

"When I first came here," stated Myrna in her Bat Mitzvah speech, "I was invited to services yet all I could think about were the services of my childhood, and I thought, 'I don't want any more of that!' So, I said no thanks. But then I began to learn that Conservative was not like Orthodox. Once I realized I could have an aliyah, the honor of being asked to recite the blessings over the Torah, I thought, 'That's wonderful. That really is wonderful.' Today, seeing women experience an aliyah alongside the men has changed my feelings about my religion."

Sabrina Sojourner, right, an intern in the Clinical Pastoral Education program at Charles E. Smith Life Communities, stepped forward to help Myrna perfect her Hebrew skillsSabrina Sojourner and incorporate both her strong ideas about Judaism and the defining friendships of her life into a heartfelt Bat Mitzvah speech. On March 21, 2015, when Myrna at last rose to read from the Torah at Shabbat services, Sabrina says that she was overwhelmed with pride and deeply honored to be part of Myna's jojyful achievement.

Rabbi James Michaels, the director of Pastoral Care on our campus, summed up his impression of the morning: "It was a splendid and moving occasion!"


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