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PostHeaderIcon Having a Bat Mitzvah at 90


Article Source: Online Shopping Store

The New York Times has an interesting article about Jewish women in their 90s who are finally getting their Bat Mitzvah. Many older women came of age in their religion with no notice or marking of the day. So now they want their day, and they’re studying hard to get there.


A bat mitzvah was rare in the United States until the 1950s and ’60s, said an associate rabbi at Menorah Park, Howard Kutner. Since then, many adult women have decided to make up for what they were denied as children, but most who do so are in their 50s and 60s, Rabbi Kutner said. A septuagenarian is rare and a nonagenarian nearly unheard of, he said, but only those in or near their 90s showed up when he offered bat mitzvah instruction to Menorah Park women of any age.



“Most people in their 90s, they just eat their three meals a day and are happy to be alive,” Rabbi Kutner said. “I think this shows that at any age you can set a challenge and meet it.”
A challenge, perhaps, but not all the women see it quite that way.
“My first thought was boy, what a hoot!” said Millie Danziger Fromet, 90.
A self-described “feminist all my life,” Evelyn Bonder, 90, said she “always thought girls should have the chance to participate” in something that Conservative, Orthodox and Reform congregations embraced in stages.



Ms. Agin said: “My daughter had a bat mitzvah. But it was on a Friday instead of a Saturday. It wasn’t held inside the synagogue, and she wasn’t allowed to read from the Torah.”
The women have met weekly with Rabbi Kutner to study Hebrew and the Torah in preparation for the service, which is scheduled for Sunday.
The rabbi had planned to hold the ceremony in January, but he bumped it back to give the women more time to prepare. “The joke went around the room: Let’s not do it after March,” he said. “Who knows if we’ll still be here!”



On a recent Monday, the women entered Menorah Park’s synagogue for a dress rehearsal. Three used walkers. Another carried a small oxygen tank. As they rose to speak, they left their medical gear by their seats. They approached the bimah unassisted, some limping, and steadied themselves at the lectern with both hands.

Better late than never, we say. We think it’s a wonderful thing.



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