Rabbi Zimmerman’s Message: May 2016

On Friday night, May 13th, Angie Albert will be called up to the Bema to read from the Torah and lead the congregation in worship. Although the Bat Mitzvah will take place on a weekend when I am not in Lafayette, I have had the great pleasure of working closely with her as she prepares for this special Shabbat. She has much to share. I hope you will attend the service.

Bar or Bat Mitzvah, the moment when a young man or woman reads from the Torah, is a special event for a congregation. It marks the significant role a temple plays in helping parents to prepare their children to be educated adult Jews. For us at Temple Shalom, it also represents another generation in a link essential to our Jewish survival. For Angie’s parents, it represents a profound moment in which a girl takes a step forward as a young Jewish woman. For years, they have taught her, watched her grow and develop. On this Shabbat, Angie teaches them.

How appropriate that this moment of attaining the age of Bat Mitzvah, the time when Angie is called to become a Daughter of the Commandment, comes during the fifty day period of counting known as the Omer. The Omer is the seven-week passage of time between Passover and Shavuot, the journey to physical freedom and the giving of Torah at Mount Sinai, the moment of reaching spiritual freedom through the giving of commandments. Originally an agricultural holiday of first fruits of the harvest, Shavuot, and the counting of the Omer, become a time to prepare for the giving of the Torah.

As we reflect on the Torah and our own spiritual journeys, how appropriate to celebrate Angie’s becoming a Bat Mitzvah. How appropriate to reflect on our communal obligation to teach the next generation of Jews and celebrate her counting to Jewish adulthood.

I hope you will be present for this special moment.