This past week end we were in Chicago for the Bat Mitzvah of Emily Farrell. We are not related but I could not love her or her siblings or her Mother more. I think of her Mother, Liz, as my daughter. Therefore, Emily and her sisters are my granddaughters whether they want to be or not. I think they don't mind. After all, who doesn't need more love in their lives.
She was so amazing. The Temple is a conservative temple with an orthodox leaning. The men and women sit together, however, women are not allowed on the Bema (the altar) during the Sabbath. Emily's Bat Mitzvah had to be after sundown on Saturday. As such, she was able to pick what she wanted to read since the Torah is not read after sundown.
Emily chose to read the story of Esther. This is the story of a strong woman who puts her life on the line for the Jewish People. The story of Esther is not in the Torah. It is a separate book called the "Megillah" and is read on Purim. There is a hero...Mordecai. There is a villan...Haman. There is a heroine...Esther.
I thought it so appropriate that Emily read from the book of Esther because I believe Emily, like her sisters is a strong woman in the making. She will never sacrifice her femininity and will not have to. For a woman can be feminine and strong. In Yiddish there is a word "kvell". Loosely translated it means to be incredibly proud. I kvelled from Emily.
One would have thought Emily spoke in front of large groups of people all the time. She was so comfortable. It seems to me she should consider a career in public speaking. Of course, she is only 13 and one can only guess at where one will end up. Even those of us who are "grown up" are continually reinventing ourselves. So Emily can be anything she wants to be. The wonderful thing about growing up is exploring the many options available to young people these days.
She can even be President of the United States if she wants to! Her sisters, Dana and Jamie are so grown up, I couldn't believe how much they've changed, how incredibly beautiful they have become. I need to go to Chicago more often to see the people I love. They have grown up without me and I feel the loss. When I am in Florida, I miss them so very much. Yet when I see them, I miss them even more because I become aware of the very large hole in my heart where they are supposed to be.
Their Mother, Liz...who is the daughter I never had, is the love of my life. She couldn't mean more to me if I had given birth to her. She is the daughter of my heart and she fills it with her love. I am very blessed and fortunate enough to know how blessed I am. I thank G-d every day for bringing these wonderful women into my life and allowing me to share their lives. My greatest wish is for them to be who they want, to continue to be strong and never settle for less than they deserve.
It was a great weekend in Chicago, albeit much too short. Next time I'll stay a little longer...just as long as it's not winter.
Waiting for next time,