27 April 2013

I’m in D.C. today attending the Bat Mitzvah of one of my closest friend’s daughters. It’s my second Bat Mitzvah (her other daughter’s was my first). It was a beautiful ceremony and I’ve felt very touched and honored to attend such a significant rite of passage.

As my friend said at the service, her daughter may be the youngest in the family, but she’s the family’s oldest soul, and it feels that way. J totally acts her age, but she has a depth and an empathy that is rare for someone of any age, not just a budding teenager.

I couldn’t understand most of today’s service, but I loved letting the Hebrew wash over me and so admire how much's study and discipline it took for J to be able to read her Torah portion in Hebrew with no Romanization.

Luckily for most of us, many of the prayers in the service had been translated into English in the prayer book. While we didn’t read this one today, it stuck out to me as I flipped through the pages:  

“God disturbs us toward our destiny by hard events and by freedom’s now urgent voice, which explode and confirm who we are. We don’t like leaving, but God loves becoming.”

I think about how hard I fight against change that often seems foist upon me and totally out of my control—because it is—but if I think of it as part of becoming who I’m supposed to be, maybe it won’t be easier, but I can accept it with graciousness.  I grew up as a Presbyterian and I don’t remember using words like “disturb” and “urgent” and “explode” in our prayers, but I love the descriptiveness and forcefulness of this prayer. 

As part of her Bat Mitzvah, J does a service project. Hers is working with Together We Bake an Alexandria-Va.-based organization that offers workforce training and personal development to women in transition, many of whom have been in prison, through a micro-baking business. 

Run in conjunction with Friends of Guest House, TWB teaches women in need of a second chance about food production, baking instruction, food safety, packaging and delivery, and customer service, according to TWB’s website. The idea is to not only give them the skills to find employment in the food-service area, but the self-esteem to go with it that can translate into any industry they choose. I tested some of their chocolate-chip cookies and granola while I’ve been here and they were both delicious, especially the cookies.

I’m breaking my own rule to not give to any organization more than once this year; I already give to Together We Bake on my first Chooseday Tuesday in January However, it’s J’s chosen charity and it doesn’t make sense to try to find something different to adhere to an arbitrary rule that I enforced.

April 27: Together We Bake

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