Like a kalla on her wedding day, the Bas Mitzva girl
stands at the threshold of a new stage in life. This occasion
naturally lends itself to personal reflection and prayer.
A Time for Prayer
Mrs. E. took each of her daughters to the Kosel and Kever
Rochel on the morning of their twelfth birthdays. She chose
the first location for its universal significance to the
Jewish people, and the latter to emphasize her daughter's
link in the chain forged by the Imahos, the role models of
tzniyus and middos for every daughter of
"I think it's important to teach children how significant
davening is, and not let occasions go by without using
them as opportunities to come close to Hashem," Mrs. E.
Together, she and her daughter say a perek Tehillim;
then each makes her own personal requests. "I suggest that my
daughter pray for Heavenly assistance and success in the
meaningful things in life, but I don't tell her what to say.
I tell her, `I would say this and that, but you can say
whatever is in your heart.' "
The shared experience strengthens the evolving mother-
daughter relationship. "By doing things together, a mother
can guide her daughter through the steps of building a Jewish
life," Mrs. E. observes. "We can use the opportunity of Bas
Mitzva to reframe our bond as partners in growth. With
Hashem's help, our daughers will keep coming back to us for
help, advice and nurturing."
Brochos from Noshim Tzidkoniyos
Little boys are taken to rabbonim for a ceremonial
snip of hair and a blessing on their third birthdays. Bar
Mitzva boys may be taken to the homes of elderly sages for
brochos. Can we give our daughter similar
chizuk from those who have achieved greatness in
Mrs. L. added an emotional touch to her daughter's Bas Mitzva
by taking her to meet Rebbetzin Brocha Kanievsky, wife of
Hagaon R' Chaim Kanievsky shlita, in Bnei Brak.
Rebbetzin Kanievsky, who counsels and comforts many people in
her home, received the pair with warmth and affection.
"She looks at everyone like she's the only one who came to
see her today," the Bas Mitzva girl recalls. "She kissed me
and gave me a brocha and then she said she had a
present for me."
Mother and daughter looked on in amazement as Rebbetzin
Kanievsky presented the Bas Mitzva girl with a booklet about
chessed written by one of her sons-in-law. She
inscribed in it a long, heartfelt blessing encouraging the
girl to become a "big tzadika" and a source of
nachas to her parents.
"Combined with the private family seuda we made at
home, it was a very modest but meaningful way to mark her Bas
Mitzva," Mrs. L. reflects. "The message was that it's her
special day, yet there's little fanfare. A Jewish woman has
to know that she's special, and must continue growing."
NOTHING PROSAIC ABOUT PASSAIC
Shoe Drive Puts its Best Foot Forward
by Sheindel Weinbach
This is a story that begins in Passaic, N.J. and ends in
Jerusalem, Israel. Being on the receiving end in my capacity
as coordinator of three used clothing centers, known
familiarily as `gemachs,' I can vouch for the warm and hearty
reception at this end.
Let's get back to the other end, which begins with Miriam
Weiss, an eleven-year-old girl studying in Yeshivas Beis
Hillel. She and her parents anticipate her upcoming Bas
Mitzva and want this to be a true initiation into Jewish
adulthood, with its accompanying obligation to do good deeds
with family orientation. Miriam has studied the laws of
tzedoka and wants to undertake a meaningful project.
When a local Jewish publication writes about podiatrists who
are collecting shoes for the needy, she and her parents
launch into high gear. This will be their `baby.' She wants
to be involved with collecting the shoes and making sure they
get to the needy of Eretz Yisroel.
Half of the problem is collecting the shoe donations, the
other half, distributing. Miriam designed the flyer for local
distribution and the shoes came marching in, to the school
and later, some 300 more, to the Weiss home. She connected
with Zichron Baila in Brooklyn, which ships off six-foot-long
containers full of shoes and clothing four times a year in
conjuction with Yad Eliezer, a comprehensive charity
organization that underwrites the shipping and partial
distribution of the clothing, collects and distributes food
baskets, blankets and makes weddings at subsidized prices.
The shoes duly arrive in Israel and find their way to the
proliferating open arms of clothing gemachim from Tsefat up
north down to Ofakim and Netivot down south, with dozens of
centers in between catering to the needs of Torah communities
From a hop to a skip to a jump of hundreds of pairs of shoes,
duly paired with plastic bands and boxed to be shipped off,
the project in Passaic was off the ground and on board
Meanwhile, Zisi Wachsberg, a Hillel parent, caught Miriam's
enthusiasm and began a drive last month for clothing, shoes
and toys to be distributed from the next shipment. Each donor
was asked to give $1 for shipping and customs costs. Yes,
customs must be paid at the Israeli end, even for used
AT THIS END: Over 100 boxes arrived, chock full of goodies,
all bearing the welcome "Shalom from Passaic", intended for
the needy religious-chareidi public. How thoughtful and sweet
and personal! The clothing was in excellent condition, the
shoes -- new or almost new, and the toys -- well this was Gan
Eden for the regular shoppers at the clothing gemachs,
struggling families, mothers many of who, themselves, were
deprived as they grew up.
One shoe story I like to share: about 7 years ago, Beged Yad
Leyad had the privilege of opening up a center in Neve
Yaakov, a consolidated community of hundreds of religious
families -- by and large, poor and large -- thanks to the
donation of a basement apartment. It opened a week before
Rosh Hashona with much of their stock incorporating Zichron
Baila shoes. One blissful mother purchased eight pairs of
different sized Shabbos shoes (@ about 40 cents a pair). I
can only infer that she had not bought any NEW shoes for her
children at this point!
Toys are one big luxury and put stars in the eyes of mothers
who grew up deprived, themselves, and want their children to
have more than they had, but can't afford new shoes or
clothing when their very food budget is being supplemented by
Yad Eliezer baskets.
So -- dear Passaic, Shalom from Jerusalem, and thanks, thanks
so much! And to you, dear Miriam, we are sure that you will
go on to become an Eishes Chayil, a woman steeped in good