The renovations at PHC meant that Elizabeth’s bat mitzvah service was held on a Friday night at school rather than shule. Initially Elizabeth was disappointed by this, but upon reflection of her family’s connection and contribution to the history of Carmel School, she was proud to do her bat mitzvah there.

Elizabeth was apparently a bit nervous as she hadn’t done much public speaking in the past, but she found that she actually enjoyed having everyone listening to her.  And she had practised a lot – every single day that week and every other day the week before, so I wasn’t surprised to hear that the speech went down very well.  It was lovely to hear that Elizabeth’s dad also recorded a video of her practising the speech at school beforehand, so the relatives who weren’t able to attend were still able to admire her speech (they were sent a transcript, too) and enjoy the occasion.

I also enjoyed reading a transcript of Elizabeth’s thoughtful speech, the focus of which was the Parsha of Beshalach, the story of when the Israelites left Egypt for the desert and freedom.  From her study of the story, Elizabeth learnt (and taught me) about miracles, the importance of giving thanks and how important it is to have faith and courage. I particularly liked her resolution to “strive to make the most of every single day and ensure I contribute to making the world a better place”.

The celebration afterwards sounded amazing – with a Friday night family dinner at home, another dinner out on the Saturday night with immediate family and then a huge celebration on the Sunday night. The Sunday night celebration was for all family, friends and Elizabeth’s entire class, which included a DJ, canapes, and a separate kid’s zone with lots of activities.

Elizabeth is a busy young lady, with lots of hobbies including ballet, tap, lyrical dance and jazz dance as well as art (especially doodling).  Her favourite thing about Carmel School is the way that everyone knows each other and is so friendly.  It was hard for her to say which subjects she likes best because her teachers care so much about their subjects and she likes them all, but she finally decided on HASS and English.

Elizabeth finished her bat mitzvah speech talking about her ancestral family members and said “I will never forget where I have come from, will follow the examples they set for me, and will do my best to make them proud”. 

I am confident that she will live these ideals.