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Jewish community celebrates Bat Mitzvah in Istanbul

Jewish community celebrates Bat Mitzvah in Istanbul

This year, forty-three young girls of Bat Mitzvah age, who had attended the Annette Bat Mitzvah Club course for one year, participated in the 15th Collective Bat Mitzvah ceremony. The event took place on 29th May 2022 in Neve Shalom Synagogue with the help of a grant from the European Jewish Fund.

The ceremony started with the girls coming into the synagogue hand in hand with their fathers and taking their places one by one, accompanied by ‘Boi Kala’ sung by the famous singer Cenk Rofe. Following the girls’ reciting the Bat Mitzvah prayers in Hebrew and Turkish, the Chief Rabbi of Turkey Rabbi Isak Haleva, while reminding them of their responsibilities of teaching and passing along Jewish traditions as future mothers, gave them his blessings.

After their opening speeches, the girls thanked their madrihas [meaning ‘guide’ in Hebrew] who educated them throughout this past year, the Bat Mitzvah Club administrator Reysi Haleva and the Head Madriha Linda Güner.

During the candle lighting ceremony, they paied tribute to Annette Rubinstein Talu, after whom the club had been named and whom lost her life during the 2003 synagogues attacks in Istanbul. Girls then presented the tzedakah [the charity money] that they had collected among themselves through the year to Or Yom. After singing the songs cheerfully, the girls also thanked the Music teacher of UÖMO (Ulus Jewish Schools) Tutkum Alkan, who had helped them prepare for the ceremony.

The President of HEGKOM (Chief Rabbinate Education Commission) Ester Asa also thanked everyone who had contributed to the ceremony’s organisation and wished the Bat Mitzvah girls Mazal Tov. The ceremony ended after the girls were presented with their certificates and gift books.

After the ceremony, the girls and their families attended a cocktail in the Neve Shalom Cultural Center.