Shalom! My name is Leila Eshaghpour-Silberman. I am a seventh grader at Presidio Middle School. When I am not reading, I enjoy spending time with my friends, playing soccer, piano, and saxophone, and learning character folk dance. This Shabbat I am thrilled to be called to the Torah to become a Bat Mitzvah.
This week’s parsha details the splitting of the Red Sea. Also, the Haftorah tells the story of Devorah and Yael, the only Jewish texts that give women the credit for a military victory. I think it is really important for young women to be acknowledged in history, and I am very proud to read both the songs of Miriam and Devorah, two powerful women, on the day of my Bat Mitzvah.
Preparing for this weekend has been an incredible process and it took the help of many people to get ready for this occasion. I want to thank my family for their support and I am especially grateful for my amazing Bat Mitzvah tutor—Dr. Noa Bar—for helping me learn my Torah portion, always believing in my ability to chant Hebrew, and agreeing to teach me Sephardi trope, as I am half Persian Jew and half Ashkenazi Jew. Thank you to Rabbi Ain for guiding me through this process and pushing me to reach my potential. And I am grateful to my extended family, friends, and the community of Congregation Beth Sholom for instilling my Jewish faith and Jewish identity. I have attended this synagogue since birth and went to preschool here. I look forward to celebrating this momentous life occasion with you all. Thank you for joining me and my family on this special day.