Rayna Novicoff's Bat Mitzvah on Saturday, January 12

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Hi. My name is Rayna Novicoff and I am a 7th grader at A.P. Giannini middle school in San Francisco. I play soccer and like to surf, swim, rock climb and spend time at the beach. I also love to hang out with my friends, my brother, Arlo, and my parents. 

I have basically grown up at Congregation Beth Sholom, from preschool to Shabbat School and now I’m days away from becoming a Bat Mitzvah. I’m excited! It has been an empowering experience and I couldn’t have made it to this day without my teachers, tutors, family, and the CBS community. 

Thank you to my tutor Marilyn Heiss for helping me learn everything in preparation for my Bat Mitzvah and to Rabbi Ain for working with me on my drash. Special thanks to Noa Bar for being a great teacher over the past few years and for stepping in to support me on my Bat Mitzvah day. (Marilyn, you will be missed!) 

This week’s torah portion, Parashat Bo, begins in the middle of the story of the ten plagues, when hail has covered the land. God has come to Egypt to do two things, first to free the Israelites from slavery and second to punish the Egyptians by gifting them 10 plagues to their people and to their land. Each plague gets harsher and harsher and they end with mass amounts of death and loss for each and every Egyptian family.

 After the 10th and final plague, the deaths of the first born, Pharaoh finally gives in and begs Moses and Aaron to take everything and everyone and leave. With unleavened bread on their backs and stolen gold and silver from the Egyptians, the Israelites leave with their entire community, including their flock. It had been 430 years of slavery…and now they are free!

I look forward to seeing you on Shabbat and sharing more thoughts about Parashat Bo. Thank you for joining me and my family on this special day.