Tuesday, October 20, 2009

TBE Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary: Hannah Freund on Rosh Hodesh Cheshvan

Happy Rosh Chodesh, You may not realize it but this holiday is very important, and I have come to learn about one of the most significant reasons:

If you have patience and confidence, things work out.

It all goes back to the story of the Golden Calf. The men were impatient for Moses to come back, because he was up on Mt. Sinai for forty days (you know how men are) – but the women were patient, and waited for him. In the end, they were rewarded by being given the holiday of Rosh Chodesh so that they could have a day of rest.

There have been many times that have tested my own patience. Like last year at camp when we put on the show Hairspray. Putting the musical on was very difficult, and a lot of cast members dropped out. No one thought that it would come together, but a few girls and I stayed in because we thought that it might work out. In the end it did, even though the director had to play one of the lead roles.

Back in ancient times, before there was a set calendar, the new month began only after people saw the moon reappear. It took patience for that, just like the people had to have patience when they were waiting for Moses.

But we’ve had to learn patience a lot throughout our history:

• It took patience for the children of Israel to wander in the wilderness for 40 years…

• And the Jewish people waited almost 2000 years to return to the land of Israel. Facing Jerusalem, Jews prayed to return to our home land, three times a day. Finally those dreams came true.

Here is how I have had to learn patience in my own life:

o Rehearsing and waiting to do a show like the Nutcracker takes a lot of patience, not to mention all the practice that went into becoming a bat mitzvah

o As my friends all know I spend lots of time at my ballet school. Learning new dance steps can take long time, but it feels great when you master them.

What I have noticed these days is that my friends and I are always rushing, texting, and multitasking. My teacher told the class a story about how his daughter was sitting in the front seat of the car, and she was texting her friend in the back seat of the car.

Heshvan is the only month without holidays – some call it Mar - (Bitter) Heshvan. But after all the holidays we’ve had, we could certainly use a break. And then, when Hanukkah comes - at the end of the next Jewish month - Kislev, we’ll be good and ready. I can wait – with a little patience, we’ll enjoy it even more when it comes.

Another example of where I needed to have patience was my Mitzvah Project. I ran bingo for the seniors at Sunrise Assisted Living. You really need patience for this activity. . . many residents have disabilities, so it’s important to speak slowly, speak loudly, and repeat your instructions frequently. . . and you have no idea how many times I said, “B14”.

Broadway shows, and movies are often about kids rushing to grow up too quickly. Well, I’m in no rush! But I also know that today, as a bat mitzvah I’m in some ways becoming an adult. And one thing that shows we’ve grown up is learning that, WHAT’S WORTH HAVING IS WORTH WAITING FOR.

This has been a year of learning and growing for me. At Temple Beth El, Bat Mitzvah students become involved with both a Mitzvah and a Tzedakah project. For my Mitzvah project, I spent my Sunday evenings at the Sunrise Assisted Living Center running bingo for the seniors. At Sunrise I met many elderly people who played bingo after dinner. Watching the elderly play bingo and have a good time, filled my heart with joy because I knew I was doing something to make other people happy. I know now that I was doing a Mitzvah – also know as good deed - and I would like to do more.

For my tzedakah project, I was on the Teen Tzedakah Foundation Council. The Council allocated funds raised by the teen tzedakah program. We researched many non profit organizations, and then selected a few to receive donations. From that research, I know that the non profit organizations we donated money to will help people in need.

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