The Journey to Becoming B’nei Mitzvah

August began with one of WHC’s favorite traditions — our Adult b’nei mitzvah service. This year, six individuals shared this right of passage during a virtual Zoom service with our clergy and their teacher, Gerdy Trachtman.

Prior to the big day, each shared a few words about their journey:

Laurie Cohen

I grew up when girls didn’t have a bat mitzvah. Now as an adult and after studying with my teacher, Gerdy Trachtman, I have gained a deeper understanding of Judaism and feel more invested, personally in going through with my Bat Mitzvah. I realized there was something missing out of my life. I wanted to expand my knowledge and learn about my religion and grow as a Jewish woman.

Tongai David Makoni

I’ve chosen to become a bar mitzvah at this time to deepen my relationship with Judaism and to honor the memory of my parents. What’s most meaningful about this process has been the learning. Studying under Gerdy for the past couple of years, beginning with conversational Hebrew to taking a deep dive into religious education, has been quite an experience. Finally, the friendships that have formed during this journey have been such a blessing.

Mary Salander

My children’s b’nei mitzvah at WHC and mother-in-law’s bat mitzvah at age 90 were all an inspiration for me to become a bat mitzvah. Studying with Gerdy Trachtman in her Back to Basics class over the past year and a half has been a treat. It made my journey more meaningful and fun. Over time, I discovered a deepening of my spiritual awareness and growth with a sincere desire to continue learning … for which I am most grateful.

Bobbi Schiff

A bat mitzvah was not an option when I was a child. As an adult, I realized how much I had missed by not studying the history of my People or learning to read Hebrew. My bat mitzvah is the fulfillment of a long-held dream, and I am very proud to be taking my place among the Jewish women who have also studied and achieved this goal. I dedicate it to my granddaughters, who were my ultimate inspiration.

Anita Solomon

As a reform Jew, I believe in the tradition of having a bat/ bar mitzvah 13 years past 70. After completing 30 years at Spring Grove Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Catonsville, I needed to redefine myself, not just as a psychologist, but as a Jew. In this search for meaning, I found spiritual renewal to be creative and productive by studying Jewish history, language, and culture with Gerdy Trachtman, wonderful rabbis and cantors, and sharing this with exceptionally gifted classmates.

Sarah Weinstein

My faith has always been an important source of strength for me, especially in the most challenging of times. Becoming a bat mitzvah is very personal, and beyond achieving an important and meaningful milestone in my life – it is also to pay tribute to my brothers Ian and Joshua, who are no longer with us. Finding my faith after loss helped me heal and has also helped me feel closer to them.