Hannah's Bat Mitzvah
Jessica's Bat Mitzvah
October 22, 2005
SOS: Thank you, all of you, for being with us this evening. You are among our greatest treasures and we so appreciate your coming. We are particularly grateful that Hannah's grandparents, Lillian Singer and Bernard and Rena Olshansky were able to be here to make this celebration so meaningful and special. You've all been through so much these last few years, which makes your being here today such a miracle.
Before we address Hannah, we want to remember Gary's dad, Paul Singer and my mom, Nancy Olshansky. We are thinking of and missing both of them so much this weekend! They both loved Hannah and all of their family very much. So, Paul with your ear-to-ear grin and your big warm heart, and Mom with your stinging humor and intellect, we want to tell you that we love you and hope to honor your memory by:
Doing what you taught us to do,
Loving our kids the way you both loved us, and
Respecting our family, faith and community, following your example.
Now, Hannah. Exactly thirteen years ago when you were two months old, Daddy wrote a prayer for you that we read to you on the occasion of your Simchat Bat (naming ceremony) on Saturday, October 17, 1992. On that day, you were given your Hebrew name, Chava Michal. Chava is for Dad's grandfather Harry Singer who courageously came to this country all by himself from Russia when he was 17, just four years older than you are today. Michal is for my first cousin, Michael Serkess, whom I loved dearly and who died much too young. We would like to read that prayer for you, just in case you don't remember what we said:
GIS: TO OUR DAUGHTER, HANNAH MICHAL
We join today with the people most important to us - our family, our friends and spiritual partners - to celebrate your birth and affirm our love for you, your older sister Jessica, and each other. We commemorate the heritage of our people and family, from whom we hope you will draw love, compassion, patience, respect, integrity and wisdom to help you exceed the best of each of us.
This Simchat Bat, in the context of the High Holiday season, offers the opportunity to give thanks for our numerous blessings. We are deeply grateful that all of our parents, who we cherish more than we can say, are able to share in your being. We are confident that you will benefit from their warmth, wisdom, generosity and love, as we have.
We give thanks for siblings, whose presence here today is living testament to the close bond within and among our two families. You are blessed with six aunts and uncles who each, in their own special way, will certainly brighten and enlighten your life.
Your generation represents the biggest miracle of all. Your cousins, Rachel, Adina, Jason, Sam (and now Gideon, Clara and Melanie). Your big sister, Jessica. They, together with you, are the center of our life and the hope of our future. Looking in all those bright, beautiful eyes, we can't help but be optimistic.
Chava Michal, both your mother and I wish you a future limited only by your imagination. We will consider it our ultimate achievement if we are able to teach you the meaning of Mitzvah as our parents taught it to us; for you to make your mark on this world as best you can, with consideration of others and with the utmost integrity.
SOS: Hannah, our dreams for you haven't changed at all in 13 years, but looking at you now, and knowing you as we now do, we are watching those dreams come true. We are so proud, respectful and, frankly, in awe of who you've become and we love you more than we ever imagined was possible.