Alexandra Gerstley's Bat Mitzvah

AlexGerstleyShalom! My name is Alexandra (Alex) Gerstley, and I am a 7th grader at Presidio Middle School.

My favorite things to do are hang out with my friends, bake, ride my bike, and try DIYs. My favorite subject at school is science, and I play the trombone in the Presidio Panther band. I also swim on a team, which is a lot of fun.

I am excited to read from the Torah for the first time, and to officially become a member of the Jewish community. I am so happy that I will be sharing this special occasion with all of you -- family, friends, and members of Congregation Beth Sholom. I am also looking forward to the second half of my bat mitzvah celebration, when we visit my family in Israel over the summer. This will be my first trip there, and I'm very excited to learn about the country.

My parsha is P'kudei, which is the re-cap of the building of the Mishkan, the portable synagogue of ancient times. In this parsha, we learn how the Mishkan was created, which materials were used, and why they had to be so specific. We also learn what purpose it served.

I'd like to thank Rabbi Glazer, who helped me understand my parsha and write my drash. I enjoyed our conversations about the Mishkan. I want to thank my tutor, Ruth Weisberg, for teaching me to read trope and for helping me prepare for this occasion. I also want to thank my mom, dad, sister, and dog for their love, support, and encouragement throughout the year.

I look forward to celebrating with you this Shabbat!

Adina Sweet's Bat Mitzvah

AdinaSweetThis Shabbat, we hope you'll join CBS as we celebrate Adina Sweet's bat mitzvah!

Adina's message for the community is below.

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Shalom. My name is Adina Sweet. I am a seventh grader at the Brandeis School of San Francisco. My favorite subjects are Social Studies and English. I like to hang out with my friends, play soccer and basketball, and dance.

My bat mitzvah is coming up soon, and I am very excited to share this special day with my family, friends, and members of the congregation. My bat mitzvah will be the day that I formally become a member of the Jewish community.

My parashat is Bo, the story of the last three plagues; locusts, darkness, and death of the first born. The portion also explains how to celebrate one of my favorite holidays, Passover. Parashat Bo is one of the most important portions in the Torah because of the story's moral as well as the great expectations it sets for Jews to fulfill G-d’s request to celebrate an amazing holiday.

Last summer, my family and I traveled to Israel where we saw the Kotel. I discovered the many different sides of Judaism and different expressions of my religion. I connected to the religion even more and had some very special moments during that trip.

I could not have gotten ready for my bat mitzvah without the help of Rabbi Glazer, who helped me write my drash and talked about Parashat Bo with me. My tutor, Ruth Weisberg, helped me learn trope and taught me the Torah service prayers. My parents showed me so much love and support, and with my sister's help, they really made this day possible. Also, my dog, Teddy, was always there when I needed him.

I hope to see you this Shabbat!