There were over a thousand eyes staring at me. As a result, I nervously approached the microphone up on the bima, and my hand slowly and carefully reached up to grab ahold of the yellow gold Jewish star necklace my mother had just clasped around my neck. Subsequently, I felt comfort and love as I held the necklace in my hand. In retrospect, my bat mitzvah, certainly was a memorable day for many reasons, one of which was the passing on of a cherished family heirloom. This necklace was originally purchased for my mother by my great grandparents. They found this necklace when they traveled to Israel in the summer of 1981. A year later, my mother received it on her bat mitzvah and wore it every day until she passed it on to me. After admiring it for many years, I was honored to receive the necklace from my mother on my bat mitzvah as well. However, unlike my mother, I rarely wear it and only on special occasions because of how precious it is to me. A symbol of my Jewish heritage, this heirloom is significant to me not only because it was passed down many generations but also because it originated from what we call in my religion, the Holy Land. Now when I notice eyes on my necklace, I never feel anxious, but rather pride.
– Sarah L.