Twice in a day!? ;-) I want to show you the most special event I’ve worked on to date. Not the fanciest, nor the one with the highest budget, but one that was put together entirely with a spirit of collaboration, love and kindness. And in my humble opinion it was stunningly beautiful in so many levels! This event was infused with the positive energy of people who know that when another person is in need, you roll up your sleeves and help in any way you can.
I hesitated showing this Bat Mitzvah on the blog because honestly as much as I worked very hard on it and was involved in most every detail, from preparing the Bat Mitzvah girl by giving her lessons on the meaning of her Bat Mitzvah, preparing her speech with her, to setting up tables, decor and cleaning up… I was only one of many, many, many individuals who gave a lot of their time and resources so that this beautiful girl could have a beautiful and meaningful Bat Mitzvah celebration.
See, the Bat Mitzvah girl’s mother, Naomi, is currently battling pancreatic cancer. She’s only forty two years old and is the mother of six children. (Here’s the fundraising link to make donations which are much needed to help cover the high medical expenses this family is undergoing at the moment.)
Soon after she was diagnosed, I was invited to a meeting with other members of the Jewish community, to divide up tasks and responsibilities that would be helpful to Naomi and her family during these challenging times. At that meeting, I found out that one of her daughters, Raizel, was becoming a Bat Mitzvah in four weeks.
I would be lying if I told you that right away I yelled out, “I’ll take care of it!” I didn’t. Probably because I needed a few minutes to battle my yetzer hara (selfish drive) and convince it that taking on this Bat Mitzvah was the right thing to do and that we were doing it. No time for two minute discussions with myself (We have these little discussions all the time by the way, but I can tell you all about my dear yetzer hara on another post. She’s quite the character.) As I was saying… before I knew it, someone else at that meeting jumped up from a chair (literally) and volunteered me. I was shocked, but knowing this was obviously coming from Above, I nodded in agreement and said, “Sure, I’ll take care of it.” (Insert sheepish voice, while thinking “what in the world am I getting myself into!?”)
I won’t bore you with the details of how many other projects I was involved in at the time this meeting took place – many of them with pressing deadlines. Thus, pulling together this Bat Mitzvah only happened exactly two weeks prior to it. Teaching the girl, gathering supplies, finding vendors interested in helping, rallying people to cook, set up, etc… all miraculously happened in two weeks. I can’t express my gratitude enough to all those who helped… from the incredible vendors who gave of their time to do this work as a donation to the family, to people who lent table cloths, decor and platters, all the men and ladies who shlepped tables and furniture, cooked, baked, shopped, set up, cleaned up, and much more… This indeed was a Bat Mitzvah that came to life through love and kindness.
I knew we needed some sort of backdrop to be the focal point of the party venue and serve as a photo backdrop for the girl and her friends and family.
I brainstormed going the DIY route but with limited time and budget, nothing I was thinking of creating was achieving the look that I knew the girl was dreaming of. The inspiration for the party was the template for the invitation that the girl had chosen, which is pretty gorgeous, actually. I loved love these feminine colors.
On Erev Shabbat, one week before the event, literally thirty minutes before lighting candles, after having spent hours at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby, I concluded I better call the professionals. I contacted Sarah Blome of Blome’s Paperie and asked her if she thought she could make something for us. On motzae Shabbos we discussed the details and when she heard the unusual circumstances, she said she would make it for the girl free of charge!
Ladies, she watercolored these flowers! This is totally hand made and she came with her mother to set these up on the day of the event.
They are just the sweetest team! This is kindness beyond kindness. I have to say it again, “G-d bless you Sarah!”
A friend and community member had table cloths to match the party’s color palette and gracefully lent them out for the event, saving us tons in rental or purchase of linens. These gorgeous centerpieces, also inspired by the invitation, were made and kindly donated by the talented team at Plants and Petals.
Isn’t this fruit beyond cool? Tzvi Rabinowitz from Berries & Bluebonnets. Seriously, talented. Let me know if you want her contact info.
Will you believe me when I tell you that a friend made this decadent and beautiful cheesecake? Believe me. Home Made.
Not only do we have kind ladies in our community, but we obviously have some serious talent. Take a look…
The Bat Mitzvah girl herself made this cake along with her sister!
Upon the Bat Mitzvah girl’s request, one of our community members turned the celebration into a “Berachot & Amen Party”.
Each girl had these beautiful flyers with the berachot (blessings) on food and as a group they learned the meaning and proper intention to be had when saying each beracha, while they also collectively did the berachot and responded Amen.
I hope you love the snapshots of this Bat Mitzvah and can appreciate the love and effort that went into every detail. All of us involved were on a high for days after having been part of such a beautiful event.
Aside from thanking all the women and men who shopped, baked, cooked and helped set up, I must make a special mention and thank the following vendors who immediately jumped at the opportunity to donate their time and exquisite work for this cause: Sarah Blome of Blome’s Paperie, Elisheva Golani, Rivki Makeup Artistry and Plants & Petals. May your kindness be paid many times over by G-d Almighty and may you always be in a position to give to others!
And before I part, I must share that if any of you is inclined to share your maaser or any other amount of tzedakah for this worthy cause, you can do so via this fundraising link that has been set up to help the family with the cost of medical treatment. Your donation is tax deductible. Obvioulsy the month of Elul is a most opportune time to give above and beyond. May Naomi Bat Sarah have a Refuah Sheleima, a complete and speedy recovery and may the family never know of any more hardships.
A Ketiva v’Chatima Tova!
Related: Coral and Mint Bat Mitzvah
Photography by Elisheva Golani Photography