Joyful Bat Mitzvah Celebration
This morning, Caroline Rubin celebrated her becoming a Bat Mitzvah by participating in Shabbat morning services. Close to four hundred people filled the Mary Sachs Auditorium at the JCC and kvelled as Caroline led prayers, chanted the Haphtorah and shared a thoughtful dvar Torah on parshat Noah.
Caroline explored different Rabbinic explanations of what it was that made G-d so angry at the people who built the Tower of Babel. Quoting the midrash, Caroline explained that the people were so intent on building the tower that they valued the building project more than human life. If a worker fell and died while carrying a brick up the construction site, the people mourned the destroyed brick more than the dead man. They valued things more than people.
Caroline related this teaching to her feelings following the destruction of the sanctuary at Chisuk Emuna, where her sister and father had celebrated their bnai mitzvah and where Caroline was so much looking forward to celebrating her Bat Mitzvah. Upon hearing about the synagogue’s destruction, Caroline’s first reaction was to be upset that her Bat Mitzvah would not take place in the sanctuary she loved. Soon after, she came to realize that what mattered most was not where her becoming Bat Mitzvah was celebrated but the fact that she would share her celebration with family and friends. Caroline summarized the lesson she derived from the Torah portion: People not things are what matter most in life.
Caroline, the daughter of Stephen and Jenny, is a fourth generation member of the Chisuk Emuna family. Caroline’s great-grandfather, Aaron Rubin, was instrumental in the construction of the Chisuk Emuna building at Fifth and Division Streets. Caroline’s father and cousins Bert and Michael are involved in guiding the congregation through the challenges facing Chisuk Emuna in the wake of the fire. With the involvement and leadership of families like the Rubins, Chisuk Emuna has good reason to be confident about its future.
What a great simcha – a great celebration – for Caroline and her family and for the whole congregation. Mazel Tov!!!