When I was brought on board at the Lev LaLev Fund in May 2011, I was asked if I could run the bat mitzvah project program. I thought, sure, how hard could it be? I was once a bat mitzvah girl too after all. Yet, a year later, as I was writing about the 15th anniversary of my own bat mitzvah in my e-newsletter to the bat mitzvah girls, I finally realized just how much had changed in that short amount of time.
Abby Mohr lives a stone's throw away from Boston, but her take on education is global. Barely even in her teenage years, and she cares deeply about making sure girls all over the world can get an education. “I really like school,” she says. “Boys get to go to school all over the world, and girls should too.” Most teenagers probably do not realize just how lucky they are to be educated, but Abby is not one of them.
“But there’s so much to learn!” This is the traditional lament of every bat mitzvah girl I have tutored, and I’m sure it escaped my lips a few times when I was preparing for my own bat mitzvah as well. Between the prayers, the Torah portion, the Haftarah, the d’var Torah, and everything else a bat mitzvah entails, there is no doubt that in becoming a bat mitzvah there is quite a lot to learn. But I would like to offer an alternative framework: the bat mitzvah girl not as a learner, but as a teacher.