Seventeen years ago I became a woman by the Jewish standards at least, because I had a Bat Mitzvah. For a budding Jew a Bar, Bat or for the really lucky ones B’nai Mitzvah is when you transition from a girl or boy into an adult in front of everyone you know, basically. It is no surprise that this takes place during the most awkward time in your life, when you’re 13 years old. I remember months leading up to the big day, my fear was not in speaking or chanting in front of my friends and family, but in the unknown. Getting my period. Would this be the day my period would decide to arrive? What is a period, even? Thankfully, it did not grace my presence that day, because what I did get was something much better.
17 years ago I looked like this.
I played with toys; I never really brushed my hair or cared about how I looked. I was in the Girl Scouts. I had no interest in jewelry or clothes. I had no boobs and didn’t really want them. I wore a Jockey tank top, not even a junior training bra under my hideous dress on my big day. I was in this for one thing only. The presents. Ridiculous dress? I’ll wear it. Read from the Torah? The holiest book for Jews? Yea fine. As long as I get presents after.
Sterling Silver Fork and Spoons Wind Chime:
I can appreciate this as an adult, but as a 13-year-old, this was odd. This seems like a prefect gift for Anne Of Green Gables or a woman who drinks tea and tends to her garden. Was I supposed to hang this in my room? I don’t think my splatter painted walls would appreciate that.
Okay, I’m still not entirely sure what this is. I think it’s a purse but the strap is just endless. I guess I could knot it or wrap it around but that’s a lot for a tomboy in a bad dress.It’s more like a work of art. I could never get rid of it.
Leather Bound Jewelry Box from Saks Fifth Avenue
I remember opening this up and acknowledging that it was a nice gift. I specifically remember thinking that this will be great for when I’m much older… like a grown woman, when I will have a ton of beautiful baubles and jewels to put in it. Well, I still have this in the original box in my closet, waiting for the day that I can put it to use. I still don’t feel woman enough, ya know what I mean? I don’t wear much jewelry. I think the nicest thing I own came from my Bat Mitzvah.
How cool is this?! Something I loved! Like most Jews, I spent much of my childhood taking trips into Manhattan to see a Broadway play. Well what a great way to get a closer look at the stage. I used these binoculars to zoom into the faces of all the kid Broadway stars, like Cosette and Mary Lennox. It’s less creepy when kids use binoculars.
Gold ‘K’ Ring
Okay, so this is the wild card gift. This was 1994, before nameplate necklaces and rings were ironic and just were. The thing is, I’ve seen these rings in those claw crane arcade games. Was I really receiving this as a gift on the holiest day of my life? Yes. This was my prize for all the chanting and singing. I had won the game.
After the Torah was put away and my womanhood began, these five gifts just sorta hung around. They grew up with me. They may not have been the slime or video games that I wanted but I knew that somehow these presents were preparing me for my life as a lady and I was definitely never going to get rid of them. Tucked away in my closet, they wait for the day that I am finally old enough to put them to use.