What does Israel have to do with my Bar Mitzvah?
We hear about Israel on the news, we may have even gone on birthright or visited as kids for our own Bnei Mitzvah. But what does Israel have to do with our kids’ Bnei Mitzvah? How do we make Israel a significant part of our students’ learning, Jewish identity, and Bnei Mitzvah experience?
I spent my most formative years living in Herzylia in Israel. I moved right after my Bat Mitzvah, which was one of the most powerful experiences of my life (perhaps that is why I started this program!) Israel has always been and still is a significant part of my Jewish identity. It is part of why I became a rabbi, why I decided to devote my life to helping others find joy in learning about Judaism and our culture. At Online Jewish Learning, I ensure that our students not only learn about Israel but feel the “bug” to want to go visit themselves and hopefully develop their own love for our homeland.
So how can we, as parents make Israel a significant part of your child’s Jewish experience? Aside from going to Israel, which we understand is not possible for everyone, you can talk about Israel-discuss the events in Israel, watch videos about what it is like to live in Israel. Talk to Israelis you know in your community. Some of the opportunities we offer here at Online Jewish Learning include doing a mitzvah project that is geared towards an organization in Israel. Students can also choose to do their Bar/Bat Mitzvah in Israel as well. Online Jewish Learning can help with planning the trip to ensure that it is the perfect experience for your family.
For so many Jewish people today Israel is just that country we support and love across the ocean. It is not something that they live and breathe and love. It is easy to forget how important Israel is to each of us and to all of us as a people. Am Yisrael Chai-may Israel continue to live and prosper so that our children and the generations to come have the opportunity to enjoy it.