This I Believe

Caroline - Fair Haven, New Jersey
Entered on June 27, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in trying new things, even if it scares you. If you don’t change or try new things, your life would always be the same. Where would the excitement be? I know from many experiences that change is good. For instance, I tried an octopus with wasabi when I was in Florida, and if I didn’t try to swim, what would I do during the hot summers? Also, just last year, I had a challenge to face up to, and I tried to accomplish it. That was a big change.

Since kindergarten, I have practiced until last year when I accomplished what I have wanted to get over with for most of my life as a young Jewish girl. This step in the Jewish community was a huge one, and I was mostly ready for the challenge. With hours, and days of studying and shopping, I was 99.9% ready to present my hard work by Saturday, May 20, 2006. The only thing was I was worried about the other .1%. That one day I realized what was going to happen. Everyone was there to watch my sister, Hillary, and me make a difference in our lives, and the lives of others. We would take actions into our own hands, and most importantly, become a member of the Jewish community. The huge responsibility that I am talking about is a Bat Mitzvah, but for me, it’s a B’Not Mitzvah because I have a twin sister named Hillary. For a boy, it’s a Bar Mitzvah. For twin boys and boy/girl twins, it’s a B’Nai Mitzvah. But either way it means the same thing: Son or Daughter of a Commandment.

In the “office” of our Temple’s Rabbi, Sally J. Priesand, we were talking about what we were going to do today and what it means. We also talked about how nervous we were. I almost felt like I was going to be sick, but I also felt that Cantor had trained me well. The best part about talking to the Rabbi was that she listened. She helped us get a little bit less nervous by saying, “How about instead of going out onto the Bema (a stage but smaller), we go onto a plane and go to Disney World in Florida!” As much as we wanted to, we knew we couldn’t, but it made us laugh.

We opened the door, walked down the wooden hallway, and looked through the door at all of the family and friends that waited for our arrival. All of the nervousness had come back again. As I touched the handle, Hillary was right behind me. Behind her, Rabbi Priesand and behind her, Cantor Clissold. Before the door even opened a centimeter, everyone’s eyes stared and looked, waiting for us to come in so the service could end and so they could probably go to the party…finally.

Every step I took, I wondered if I was going to trip in my blue thin strapped heels. I made it up to the Bema, then I sat and I stared at my friends in the front row, waving at me and smiling as big as they can. On the other side of the aisle, I could see my many family members watching. My mom was already on the verge of tears. The next step was the giving of the Tallit. The Tallit is a prayer shawl which is used to hold the Tzitzit. The Tzitzit remind us of God’s commandments. Well, my sister and I had to walk up to the middle of the Bema and meet our Grandparents who would say a speech, put the shawl on our shoulders, and then they return to their seats in the congregation while we return to our seats. Although, I barely heard their speech because the nervousness was still sinking in.

After I sat down, I looked around at all of the people in the audience, while the Rabbi started to talk about what was happening. Next, I started to think. Why am I doing this…why is this so important…and why is everyone here to support me? And then I realized. Hey! They’re here to support me, not make fun of me if I mess up! And how will they know if I mess up…it’s HEBREW! So, after I answered my questions, I was 100% ready to present myself as an adult in the Jewish community. I walked up to the podium, I took a deep, but silent breath, and I started to recite my Parasha. Then, my Haftorah, and last, the ending hymn (or song). Before I could run of the stage and go to the party, one person that we picked from the “Sisterhood” and the “Brotherhood” came up and gave us a little gift. We got Shabbat candles, a Kiddush cup, and a certificate that qualifies Hillary and me to go to Israel sometime in the future.

Last, is the party. We drove 10 minutes, and then we arrived at the Country Club. I walked in to find a setting I will never forget. Pink tablecloths with Tiki umbrellas for shade. The theme was “Hawaii”. The dancing and music was great, but there were no inappropriate songs. Just the way I like it.

That journey has helped me believe that I am ready for any challenges. I believe change and happiness in what you have done and what you are doing now is great.