Romy’s Bat Mitzvah was at Chabad Shule. The simcha began at her house on a Shabbat diner – a friend from school attended and there was much excitement due to the arrival of Tal, her brother, from Israel. He has been travelling around the world and Romy hadn’t seen him for a year and a half, so his arrival was very special. Romy’s dad made Kiddish with grape juice and the family enjoyed lots of fabulous food including mini kebabs with her favourite monkey bread (she baked it herself) and chocolate mousse.

After Shabbat Romy’s school friend stayed for a sleepover and left in the morning before the family needed to do more shopping to prepare. They ordered balloons for decoration and had their nails done. The colour scheme was in Romy’s favourite colours of blue, white and gold.

Sunday was the big day – Romy and her mum arrived at Shule at 4pm, an hour before the event. Rabbi White had helped Romy with her D’var Torah, a four-page speech on the seven species. It felt as though the reading took a long time, and she remembers that grapes represent joy (because they are so sweet) and dates represent perfection. Romy was so nervous, she couldn’t tell me whether people had listened or not, but I’m confident that they did! This was followed by other speeches delivered by family and friends, who also enjoyed an inflatable photo booth and a silent disco.

Afterwards, the family played a Hebrew song about how time passes by, with her brother on guitar, dad on the shaker and Romy singing. Romy’s dad showed a clip about Romy’s life so far, for people to watch while they were eating.

Following her Bat Mitzvah, Romy feels more mature and responsible as a young Jewish woman. Even her brothers who hadn’t seen her in a while commented that she seems more grown up, now. Romy is looking forward to going to Israel later this year to see the rest of her family and have yet another celebration.

Romy’s favourite aspect of Carmel School is that she can learn about and celebrate her Jewish culture. She says that she particularly enjoys the excursions and camps and how the Year 6s do so much more in terms of celebrations and festivals at Carmel than they would at other schools.