Bat Mitzvah Pics, Follow-up Part 1 of 3

Ima on the bima prior to the ceremony
My grandfather's talis, or prayer shawl. Traditionally only worn by men, I wonder if he would be proud to see his granddaughter wear it? Perhaps he is spinning in his grave right now. (Wherever did that phrase come from?)
This is his talis bag. It's likely the large bold yellow Star of David predates WWII and the atrocities of the Holocaust. At least, that's what I think.
My grandfather's talis is quite old and yellowing in spots. I plan to use some portions of it to make a new, custom talis. There are many beautiful talitot that can be purchased off the shelf or from artisans, but I was inspired by my classmate, Sandy, who had this beautiful talis made by a talented local artist, Rebecca Hamlin.
Sandy asked various relatives to send her pieces of cloth (or perhaps old garments) and Rebecca used there to create a work of art. Sandy will literally be covered in family memories each time she dons her talis (usually the high holidays and shabbat).

I love this detail- it's one of the corners, featuring a mongrammed handkerchief of someone dear.
Though plans fell through on the larger diaper drive/blogger event I had planned for May, I asked my bat mitzvah guests (just family and longtime family friends, please don't take offense if you weren't invited, with 11 honorees, the sanctuary was packed) to please bring diapers that I would donate to a local food pantry, as we have no diaper bank in our immediate area.

Though several folks were like, WTF?! diapers?, they came through.
Back at home:
In the end, none of the diapers made it to the food bank because I knew enough people who knew moms struggling to keep their babies in diapers, something government assistance programs do not provide for. Speaking of which, check out this great news from the mama who inspired me to collect over 1300 diapers for local babies.

My true mitzvah ("good deed") project was this:
Mom from Another Country, a blog I started with a group of moms at a local English Language Learners (ELL) Parent Center. Each week from January through May, we met, we talked and we blogged. It was a great success, especially considering that many of the women had never ever heard of a blog last January.

It was so exciting to be a part of the women's growth and see their writing, not to mention their tech skills, improve and their confidence blossom. Some of us continue to meet over the summer and my hope is that by September the the original contributors will help mentor new members onto the blog.

As if that wasn't enough, the Mom From Another Country bloggers took on an additional challenge: holding a food drive! Here is just one of many bins of food collected in the community.
So the saying is true, a mitzvah begets a mitzvah, or in this case, a bat mitzvah begets diapers, food and improved English Language skills in my community.

Seeing this all in one place is kind of a shocker. I'm really proud of myself.

{Smiles and relaxes for a moment before insecurities plague her once again.}

I once read that Jewish guilt and Catholic guilt are both based on the sense that we are never good enough, but that for Catholics, that feeling is related to the human race being tainted by original sin. For Jews, the feeling stems from the fact that we have so much potential to do good, to be good, that we feel guilty for never quite living up to that.

Regardless, having achieved my goal of reading from the Torah, and apparently accomplishing a few other things along the way, I've decided it's time to get serious about other goals. Or at least choosing other goals, like completing a 5K for the first time in my life (notice, I did not say run). My goal is to finish, not last. It's this weekend!

I'm sure there are bigger and better goals ahead...I'm just not sure what they are.
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