Friday, May 18, 2007

When the Bat Mitzvah is so much more than a big party...

Kathi G is a woman I met about a year ago as I wandered the world wide web in search of polymer clay artists (this is Kathi's Dinko Bird channukiah). I came to appreciate Kathi's talents and humor. I learned that Kathi was a Jew by Choice (JBC) and was preparing for her Bat Mitzvah. The preparation time is nearly over, and Kathi will be called to the Torah on Saturday. When I started this blog, I told her I wanted to feature her and her work (both artistic and academic) on the blog. I had just a few questions for Kathi...
Why? Because it is part of my journey that I need to take. Iconverted to Judaism 4 years ago after a long path searching for a
spiritual life that fit my soul. I studying many different spiritual
paths and when I found Judaism it was like a perfect fit. After my
trip to the Mikvah, when I was sharing my experience, Rabbi said I was
born with a jewish soul, it just took the rest of me a bit of time to
catch up. So of course, being a JBC, I didn't have the chance for a
Bat Mitzvah at age 13.

Why now? Because it is the right time. I am not sure I can really
explain why it is the right time, or how I knew, but the class, the
timing, and the days all seemed to fall in place for me to be in this
last adult B'nai Mitzvah. I truly believe G'd had this time line all
set for me. And who am I to argue with that? It is also part of my
growth. I was nominated to take part in a leadership class for our
Temple, which I completed last year. One way to lead is by example.
How could I honestly speak of personal growth in my Jewish life
without the step of a Bat Mitzvah? I also sets a good example for the
kids in their own study towards their B'nai Mitzvah. Another What a wonderful way to do an in depth study of parts
of the Torah, then preparing a drash on ones Torah portion. It is
amazing the things I learned and read on the internet when
researching it. I am a perpetual student, I love learning so this is
another opportunity for me to grow in my mind.

My art? Hmmmm, most of my art lately has been making canes so I have
something to reduce when I get frustrated that my brain will not hang
on to a simple Hebrew word like v'nay. While I am practicing my Torah
portion my mind pops up with designs for things for the Judaica shop
at Temple. I now have a list of things to create after the 19th. As
for the other part of my art...the caning lets my mind think about the
next few days to come, my art has grown in style and perception and
design since I started this journey. I have learned on this
journey that just to create something beautiful is good. I don't have
to sell it, I can give it and get just as much reward.

Advice for other adults? Start learning/practicing your Hebrew on a
daily basis. If you are feeling overwhelmed with it then try what
works for me. I let my mind go in caning for an hour at a time and
then take a 10 minute break and go over a couple words, a line, or a
verse from my Torah portion. Once I started doing that I found it was
so much easier then sitting for an hour trying to stuff it in my head
without feeling frustrated. Another little tidbit....enjoy the
learning, enjoy the time with your Rabbi (or whoever is teaching the
class), enjoy the time with your classmates. This is a special time in
one's life be they almost 13 or 50 plus. And be positive about it.
Rabbi told me that any derivative of can't was not allowed in my
vocabulary. period. It is a joyous journey, a hard one, one in which
they will learn more then they thought they would and in the long one,
something they can take pride in completing.

Thank you so much for the questions. They made
me think, and after writing my answers down, clarified it even more
for me *WHY* I am doing this. They also calmed the butterflies that
have started in my gut.

Thanks for your time Kathi... I will be thinking of you tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

wow. Thanks Toby. I sure wasn't expecting to see my Dinko Birds this morning :)

What a journey. And there are still many mils and hidden valleys to discover :)

Anonymous said...

Way to go, Kathi! I'm so proud of you; what a model of perseverance you are. Shalom aleichem :) Fae