I grew up at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles. At the time I did not connect to the prayers and language of Hebrew. I had always kept the desire of learning Hebrew and last Yom Kippur Services I made the commitment that I would become a Bat Mitzvah. I embarked on a year long journey and learned to read, chant and understand Hebrew both in Torah and in prayer. My Bat Mitzvah will be one step of a journey that has enhanced my connection to Judaism.
Some may wonder why they are receiving an invitation for my Bat Mitzvah. I was born to a family who spoke Hebrew, lived in an Israeli household with Jewish culture growing up and my profession is in Jewish education. The years I have spent in Jewish Education and my affiliation with Temple Ahavat Shalom only deepened my connection to Jewish life. Now I would like to myself affirm my own commitment to a Jewish life in the form of a Bat Mitzvah.
--Efrat Yakobi Gafni
Sarah Londer & Efrat Yakobi Gafni's Mitzvah Project
When Ben Yakobi and Jonathan Londer began kindergarten, some twenty years ago, our families became intertwined. Through Jewish holidays, birthday celebration and having a Bnai Mitzvah in Israel our families’ relationship grew stronger. It seemed natural, then, for both of us to embark on the journey of Bnot Mitzvah together.
Please join us as we celebrate our Bnot Mitzvah in a Shabbat dedicated to Tikkun Olam on October 6th, 2012 at 10:30 AM at Temple Ahavat Shalom.
A few months ago, Rabbi Gershom Sizomu from the Abuydayah community of Uganda was a guest at Temple Ahavat Shalom in Northridge. California. We were both taken by the brave path the Abuydayah community has taken in regard to their commitment to Jewish life. Though the community is small in number - approximately 1,500 members – its’ unique history and recent revitalization is remarkable. You can read more about them at bechollashon.org
The Jews of The Abuydayah community have a commitment to Judaism that many in the United States take for granted. The threats facing the Abuydayah community come from physical sources such as disease, hunger and violence. Their commitment is the one felt by individuals who perform the arduous task of building a community in an inhospitable land held together by faith and commitment to the Jewish dream.
We are dedicating this Shabbat to Tikun Olam and making this world a better place by asking our family and friends to donate to the Abuydayah community which has a commitment to Judaism. Many of Rabbi Gershom Sizomu ‘s congregation have faced the threat of malaria, the number 1 cause of death in Uganda. The spread of malaria is preventable and the solution is simple. Using insecticide-treated bed nets can reduce transmission as much as 90%. For $18 you can provide a net and training for one person. So $180 will help 10 people!
Additionally, the center of Jewish life in Uganda is the Moses Synagogue. Under the amazing leadership of Rabbi Sizomu the community has outgrown their synagogue. The new Stern Synagogue will not only serve a place for religious worship and holiday festivities, but also a center for Jewish life that provides Shabbat meals, Jewish leadership training, mosquito net distribution, family planning/child-care, and food storage.