When Alina Brenner began to plan her daughter Dana’s bat mitzvah, she considered throwing a party at a synagogue near their home in the Tel Aviv suburb of Hod HaSharon.
Then Brenner had second thoughts.
“We wanted Dana to feel a connection to Judaism,” and having only a party felt like something was missing, she said, noting that her family is secular and unaffiliated but that being Jewish is important to them.
Then Brenner heard that the feminist prayer group Women of the Wall (WOW) organizes b’not mitzvah in the women’s section of the Western Wall.
“We wanted the bat mitzvah to be special, and coming to Jerusalem and having an aliyah to the Torah at the Kotel is very, very special,” Brenner said, using the Hebrew term for the Wall. […]
Susan Silverman, a Reform rabbi and longtime American-Israeli WOW activist, said her daughter Ashira’s WOW bat mitzvah earlier this year “held two worlds in one.”
When Ashira read from the Torah, “She was surrounded by a loving community, people of all ages, that guided her along with such joy. It made me so happy, with such a sense of belonging to the place, as if all the Jews who had stood there before were called to this place and time and buoyed us all. A moment I will not soon forget.”