Tallis, Kippah, and Prayerbook

Blue and white tallit and kippah
Blue and white tallit and kippah

When I was in 7th grade, I had a bat mitzvah. A bat mitzvah (or bar mitzvah for a boy) is a Jewish ceremony that marks a child’s entrance into adulthood in the Jewish community. On the big day, a bar or bat mitzvah leads the entire congregation in the Shabbat service. For most kids, preparing for a bat mitzvah takes months of practice & preparation. It marks the culmination of years of weekly Hebrew school & Jewish education. In addition to attending regular Hebrew school twice a week, I also worked with a tutor to practice prayers & learn how to chant Torah. The most exciting part was planning the day itself. I created my own program for the service & went with my parents to pick out the tallit & kippah I would wear on the big day. The prayer shawl & skullcap are visual reminders that a person is now considered an “adult” in the eyes of her faith. I was so excited to get my very own. On January 9, 1992, I took my place on the bimah, saying the Hebrew prayer as I swept my beautiful tallit around my shoulders & clipped on my kippah. I led the service with confidence & honor, happy to be supported by family & friends. Today, I live in a place where I have few Jewish friends & I am not an active member of a congregation. I do still keep my kippah, tallit, and prayerbook in a place of honor in my house. These objects represent a day I had worked so hard for & when I felt surrounded by love, pride, & the traditions of my ancestors, family & friends.

Place(s): Wisconsin, Chicago
Year: 1992

– NG.

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant