On Wednesday March 30th, 65 students of the WIZO Nachalat Yehuda Youth Village celebrated their bar & bat mitzvah ceremonies in the presence of the Chairperson of World WIZO Prof. Rivka Lazovsky, friends, family and classmates, all gathered at the youth village. The touching ceremony was actually "the culmination of a year of events symbolizing the transition from childhood to adulthood, and the accepting of responsibility," explained Pnina Gefen, Director of WIZO Nachalat Yehuda. In addition to last week's ceremony, which was symbolic and festive, a religious Jewish ceremony for the children was held at a synagogue in Rehovot and as part of the preparations for the bar/bat mitzvah celebrations, each of the children was asked to prepare and present a project researching and explaining their cultural and family heritage - especially interesting since a large percentage of the student population at WIZO Nachalat Yehuda is of Ethiopian descent.
At the ceremony, Prof. Lazovsky remarked, "I would like to congratulate the bar & bat mitzvah boys and girls and their families, not only on my own behalf but on behalf of all of the WIZO federations. We, in Israel and around the world, are proud of you and your achievements." She continued to address the kids, "On this festive day I wish you a life full of miracles and self-fulfillment. I hope that you'll dream big and go far because the entire world is open before you. I hope that you will realize your dreams and that someday you will be happy people who know how to give of yourselves to your families and to society." Prof. Lazovsky ended by acknowledging the role of WIZO youth village teachers, directors and counselors, saying, "I would like to congratulate and thank all the staff members who had a hand in this moment of pride. Your work at the youth village is not work, it is a sacred mission."