Tuesday, November 12, 2013

TBE Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary: Bailee Esposito on Vayetze

Good morning and Shabbat Shalom to everyone.  Thank you for being here today.  Those of you who know me well, know that I aspire to be a costume designer.  I am already involved in designing costumes at Curtain Call and for my school plays.  I also work at “A Step Ahead,” a local dress store that specializes in sparkly party dresses, where I also got my dress for my party!

I suppose this passion comes from my Grandma Irma and Grandpa Ira who were, and are, extremely creative.  And my Great Grandmother Bessie, who loved fashion and was an early career woman working as a buyer for a clothing store in 1915.  She was also very creative and later knitted sweaters and blankets to send to the children of Israel through Hadassah.  She said they need them to keep warm.

I know how important clothes can be in expressing who you are and what statement you are trying to make.  For example, Princess Kate is known for her elegance, and Miley Cyrus, for being just the opposite.  The expression “Clothes make the man” is true for all people.

But with clothes, sometimes, instead of bringing out who you really are, they are used to deceive. 

Take my portion, for instance. Last week Ya’akov (Jacob) and his mother Rivka created a costume to deceive Yitzchak, his father.  The trick worked and he got the blessing, which should have been given to his undeserving brother Esav. 

But this week, the tables are turned on Ya’akov.  He thinks he is marrying Rachel, the love of his life, but instead it’s Leah who is behind the veil.  You would think that Ya’akov would know what the love of his life looks like, her mannerisms, even her fashion choices.  But he was fooled – and that’s the beauty and danger of costumes.

We can see how powerful costumes and clothing can be as expressions of who you are.  They send a message. Everyone has his or her own style.  The costumes become your trademark. They become you.

But they need to reinforce what is really there.  Costume should be a window to the truth and not deception.  You need to be true to yourself. The costume should never be wearing you.

In a couple of weeks, the second film of the Hunger Games trilogy, “Catching Fire” is going to open.  (Thank you Reid) Costumes play a huge role in this series.  The costume designer shows how in the districts, people dress similarly to how we do now.  But in the capital, they are all trying to be someone they aren’t…. they have strange, colorful outfits, weird hair and they even dye their skin. It’s the sign of a society that has lost its soul.

In many ways, The Capital in the Hunger Games is like Germany under the Nazis.  They dominate all the other districts, just as Germany did in Europe.  And they persecute people who aren’t like them.

Tonight is the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, ‘the Night of Broken Glass’.  Some say that this is the night when the Holocaust began – because the Germans were able to inflict lots of suffering on the Jews and no one tried to stop them.

For my mitzvah project, I have chosen to raise awareness of the amazing work of Hadassah.  Hadassah is a volunteer organization devoted to improving the quality of life for all the people of Israel and strengthening Jewish life in the United States.  Hadassah accomplishes this goal by providing services focused on medicine and health, children, education and the environment.  Following in my Great Grandmother Bessie’s footsteps of tzedukah, I have joined Hadassah and will be donating a portion of my Bat Mitzvah gifts towards the Youth Aliyah program.  Please consider making a donation in honor of my Bat Mitzvah and in memory of Bessie.  You too can help Hadassah today, to make a brighter tomorrow for so many.  

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