Ma’ayanot Seniors Celebrate Bat Mitzvah of Seniors from the Jewish Home
On Wednesday, May 17, Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls threw a bat mitzvah for the ages. The bnot mitzvah were two residents of the Jewish Home at Rockleigh, Ruth Weiss and Mitzi Krampf, who were celebrating their bat mitzvahs for the very first time. The big bash was initiated by Michal Rosenfeld, Yonina Segal, and Shira Rothwachs, three graduating seniors at Ma’ayanot who envisioned the celebration–from learning Torah with the women to party-planning details–as part of the school’s Senior Encounter (i.e., capstone) program.
To make this special event come to life, the students coordinated with Mrs. Sunni Herman, Executive Vice President of the Jewish Home at Rockleigh. “I love that the students initiated this program,” said Mrs. Hermann. “It’s much more than glitz and glam, music, and food. It’s so meaningful.” Beyond planning a party with a regal theme, ball gowns, makeup, hair dressing, music, and dancing, the students traveled to the Jewish Home on a regular basis to study Torah with the women and prepare them for their special day.
“They learned one-on-one,” said Mrs. Herman. “There’s a special bond and a beautiful spiritual component. This bat mitzvah shows that learning Torah has no age limit,” said Mrs. Herman. The girls also studied the mitzvah of challah with the women and baked challah together.
In each of the past few years, Ma’ayanot students have thrown bat mitzvah celebrations for local young women who otherwise would not have had an opportunity to enjoy such a celebration. The Ma’ayanot students have made the annual bat mitzvah a highlight of the school year. Additionally, it is a source of tremendous pride for the school-community.
On their special day, Mitzi and Ruth arrived at Ma’ayanot along with their friends from the Jewish Home as well as their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. They were greeted by the entire student body and faculty, who cheered as they escorted them to the “ballroom.” Mr. Jeff Neckonoff of Azamra DJ (www.azamradj.com) donated his time and talent to infuse the celebration with music, passion and excitement. “Let’s hear it for Ruth and Mitzi,” he called out as “siman tov” played over the speakers. “It’s simcha dance time!”
Mr. Meir Kruter of Kruter Photography (www.kruter.com) also donated his services to ensure that the celebration was captured in pictures. Mr. Kenny Yager of Five Star Caterers (www.fivestarcaterers.com) and Mr. Eliot Rosenfeld of Jerusalem Restaurant and Catering (www.jerusalempizzaelmoraave.com) provided party food and nosh. Dr. Amit and Mrs. Ellie Schwartz sponsored the event for an aliyat neshama for Ilana Michal Schwartz, z”l. Dr. Stuart and Hadassah Weinberger (parents of Allie, ’20) sponsored the decorations. Just as they did at their own bat mitzvahs not long ago, the girls signed posters for the two bnot mitzvah with messages like, “Mazel tov! You look beautiful!”
The Ma’ayanot seniors presented each woman with a bat mitzvah gift, an electric candelabra that they can use to light Shabbat candles in their rooms. Ma’ayanot’s principal, Mrs. Rivka Kahan, and Rabbi Simon Feld from the Jewish Home shared meaningful divrei Torah.
“Every Jewish girl should have a bat mitzvah,” said senior Shira Rothwachs. “We believe that it is never too late to celebrate.”
“It was shocking to us that so many ladies have not had a bat mitzvah,” said her classmate Yonina Segal. “We take for granted that we had one.”
“This year’s celebration is particularly poignant because of the intergenerational element,” added Rabbi Zev Prince, Director of Co-Curricular Programming and the seniors’ faculty advisor. “One of our core educational philosophies is that our students should develop the courage and tools to lead and innovate, while maintaining an appreciation of the heritage and rich tradition to which they belong. This bat mitzvah was an affirmation of both these values. These graduating seniors possess the vision and they are utilizing their talents to pay tribute to these exceptional Jewish women and role models.”
“This experience can only happen once in a lifetime,” said Mrs. Weiss. “I sincerely thank and appreciate all the hard work these young girls did to make my bat mitzvah so very special. Thank you for bestowing this honor on me.”
Mrs. Krampf added, “I had such a wonderful time. Everyone and everything was grand. I felt like a real princess. Thanks to all the students who made this experience possible for me.”
About the bnot mitzvah:
Ruth Weiss was born in McKeesport, PA, near Pittsburgh. In high school, Ruth ranked #1 out of 9,000 students. She graduated from Eastern College in New York and worked for many years as an executive private secretary for a chemist at a cosmetic company called Wesmore. Ruth has two sons and one daughter. She also has grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was married for 34 years and her husband passed away in 1988.
Mitzie Krampf was born in Brooklyn, NY. She has a daughter and a son. She used to work at Littman’s Jewelry. Mitzie enjoys Broadway shows, travel, cooking, music, and gardening. She also loves dancing, singing, crafts and pet therapy. Mitzie participated in the Jewish Home’s annual musical production.
PHOTOS by Kruter Photography