Dear ,

I have to admit, there is something happening at the end of this month that is of great significance to me. It is the holiday of Shavout, which celebrates the Jews receiving the Torah on Mt. Sinai, and it is special to me because it was the topic of my Bat Mitzvah speech!

sheena 4.jpgThat’s right; this month marks the 15th anniversary of my own bat mitzvah! It’s amazing how in that short amount of time how much the bat mitzvah has changed. Where before hardly anyone did a mitzvah project, today it is commonplace, and what a beautiful change that is!

Since I did not do a mitzvah project for my bat mitzvah, I have taken it upon myself, in true beyond bat mitzvah fashion, to help others with their projects! So, are you going to help me fulfill my beyond bat mitzvah project?

Wishing you a wonderful month and a very Happy Shavout! (be sure to read the ‘This Month in Jewish history’ section to find out the special relationship Shavout has with Bat Mitzvah)

Sheena Levi
Director of Outreach

choco chip.jpgOn the holiday of Shavout (celebrated this year from May 26-28) it is tradition to eat dairy foods and decorate with fresh flowers to remind us of how the pure white and flowering Mt. Sinai looked when the Torah was given there. Consider hosting a special dairy goods bake sale and/or selling flowers before the holiday to raise funds for your Mitzvah project. Maybe you even know a bakery or florist who will donate their products, or some of their proceeds, to your project?

  • Lisa Stein, NJ on her Bat Mitzvah this month! Lisa is sponsoring the Bat Mitzvah of an Orphan girl in Israel.
  • Naomi and Noa, NY on their amazing joint mitzvah fashion show fundraiser to benefit Orphan girls in Israel.
  • Sarina Hilowitz, GA on her Bat Mitzvah this month! Sarina is sponsoring the Bat Mitzvah of an Orphan girl in Israel.
  • Naomi Fink, OH on her Bat Mitzvah this month! Naomi is donating funds raised from several projects to the Orphans in Israel.

I am so excited to share with you the inspiring work of the self-proclaimed “Mitzvah Club of San Diego.”  They recently held a bake sale and raised $400!

They still are $3,100 short, if you, your mitzvah club or someone you know is interested in helping them reach their $5,000 goal to purchase a TV and DVDs for the Orphanage, something the Home has never had, please contact me at

Now, without further ado, I present the amazing Mitzvah Profile of the Dance for Love Bake Sale to benefit Orphans in Israel!

IMG_0307.jpgName: Jenna Saloner of Dance for Love

Town: San Diego, California

Project Date: March 2012

Mitzvah Project: Bake Sale to raise funds to purchase a TV and DVDs for the Orphanage



Shavout: the Jewish Nation’s Bnai Mitvah

luchois.jpgThe Holiday of Shavout is such a perfect one for us Bat Mitzvah girls. Just as we celebrate accepting our responsibilities as Jews, our ancestors at Mt.Sinai joyfully took upon themselves the same commandments with the statement, “Naasah V’Nishama! - We shall do and we shall hear!”

In fact, the two occasions are so connected that the first Bat Mitzvah ceremonies ever were said to have been held on Shavout. Isaac Pardo was the Rabbi of Verona, Italy in the 19th century, and the earliest bat mitzvah was attributed to his synagogue there.

sheena 1.jpgIn Pardo’s synagogue, the Bat Mitzvah was a communal ceremony, held for all the girls who turned 12 during the course of the following year. According to Aliza Lavie, author of the new book: Women's Customs: A Journey of Jewish Customs, Rituals, Prayers and Stories, “The girls wore white and entered the men's section of the synagogue during the sheena 3.jpgprocession; accompanied by a choir ... The rabbi blessed them.” The Song of Deborah (Judges 5) was also sung to teach the girls about the strong female Jewish role-model, the only woman judge and prophetess, Devorah.

And the Bat Mitzvah custom spread from there. Indeed, in my own 1997 Bat Mitzvah speech about Shavout I connected to accepting the Torah because just as each year on Shavout Jews are taught to re-accept the Torah upon themselves, our Bat Mitzvah date is our own personal Shavout.

May we continue to go beyond bat mitzvah each year…even 15 years later.
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May Survival Tip: Picking Your Bat Mitzvah Speech Topic

What should you talk about? My Bat Mitzvah teacher recommended sharing my inspirations on the next upcoming holiday. Consider this if your Torah portion doesn’t inspire you; but do still try tying in the holiday, parsha and your mitzvah project. Building on these connections could truly make for a great speech!


 Lev LaLev Fund
14 Melnick Drive
Monsey, NY 10952

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Lev LaLev is a Jewish Charity aiding the disadvantaged children at the Rubin-Zeffren Children's Home in Netanya, Israel. Your donation is tax deductible and helps build quality Jewish lives for Jewish orphans and underprivileged youth in Israel.


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