This past weekend marked 38 years since I stood before family and friends as a Bat Mitzvah. It was an incredible experience to be just shy of 13-years-old and having to chant verses and prayers in a foreign language, make a speech, all the while hoping not to embarrass myself or my parents.
This past weekend I also had the distinct pleasure of serving as a mentor to Zoe, a young woman just shy of 13-years-old who stood before our congregation to become a Bat Mitzvah. She chanted the same verses and same prayers that I did all those years ago. She also made a speech and I know she hoped she wouldn’t embarrass herself or her parents. She did a wonderful job.
When our cantor asked if I would be a volunteer mentor, I was happy to step in and asked specifically to work with the person whose date would coincide with mine. As a mentor, I helped her with her prayers, talked to her about how to look out into the congregation, to take a deep breath and slow down when she gave her speech, and how to practice walking in heels.
Based on the Jewish calendar, this week’s Torah portion came from Genesis…you know the one, “in the beginning,” Adam and Eve, the Tree of Knowledge, the apple.
What Zoe talked about in her speech was about taking responsibility for your own actions. That even when we’re tempted by others, ultimately, it is our decision how we will act and we must accept the consequences of those actions.
Taking responsibility and doing that right thing isn’t always easy. But as Zoe talked about in her speech it is the acceptance of that responsibility that sets us on the right path. That we have to know that actions have consequences and we must do our best in all situations.
The thing about mentoring? Sometimes we learn a little something, too. Thanks, Zoe, for the reminder.