Haifa: A Unique B’Not Mitzvah Ceremony

Rabbi Edgar Nof reaches out to girls from poor families, mostly Ethiopian, Russian and North African immigrants, to give them the training and confidence to become B’not Mitzvah. They all face developmental challenges and never saw themselves worthy of standing in front of their peers and teachers, let alone becoming B’not Mitzvah.

They will partner with community elders as they prepare for their B’not Mitzvah. In the process, they will become teachers and role models for younger girls well past the ceremony itself.

JHH sponsored the ceremony at the Nirim school. The principal is Oded, an outstanding, highly energetic, loving educator. The most challenging children attend here. They are from the poorest Haifa neighborhood. Their families all live below the poverty line and 75% of them receive help from Social Services. The school is literally saving their lives.

DONATE – give these girls a day they will remember forever.

There are 3 Ethiopian girls, 2 Russians and 2 Moroccans. Four of the girls’ parents have come, two mothers and two fathers.

Edgar and Cantor Vered are smiling, and the girls clap and sing along. Each girl has a part to read. A small Sephardic style Torah is passed through the generations, Torah blessings are recited, the passages from Israel’s Declaration of Independence are recited.

The parents are uncomfortable with the girls reading from a Torah scroll. So, despite Edgar’s urging to the contrary, it has been decided that they will read from Megilat Atzmaut, Israel’s Declaration of Independence. Perhaps, a most fitting substitution since it focuses on rights and freedom for all.

And of course, candy is thrown!


The girls thank JHH for sponsoring the training, the service and the celebration to follow. They are amazed that we have come all the way from America to share in their special day. Oded tells them that they can’t be compared to any other girls in Israel. They are better than them all!

Our blessing for them: “May you know many such holy moments in your lives. We are so proud of you. Just as you have accomplished this which is so difficult to do, so may you realize that you can do anything you want to do in the future. Mazal Tov!” And we all clap.

At the barbeque reception, all of the girls speak of the new schools they’ll be attending next year. A true milestone has been reached in their young lives.

There will be another ceremony in December and two more next year.

DONATE – give these girls a day they will remember forever.