We have a wonderful simcha at CBI this Shabbat! Tirza Panunto will celebrate her Bat Torah. Tirza is twenty years old. She is an adult Jewish woman who did not have a Bat Mitzvah ceremony at 12 or 13 years old. Technically Tirza already is a Bat Mitzvah, a daughter of the commandments. She can take part in a minyan and has all the rights and obligations of a Jewish adult.
However, because Tirza did not have a ceremony at the time of Bat Mitzvah age, she has not yet been called to the Torah for an Aliyah, has not chanted from the Torah, and has not yet had the opportunity to teach the congregation Torah through a drasha (sermon). She will do all this, and more, this coming Shabbat. Tirza will help lead Kabbalat Shabbat services Friday night and Shabbat morning services on Saturday morning!
Chico is Tirza’s hometown, and she actually started out as a Menchkin at CBI way back when! When the idea to have a Bat Torah began percolating for Tirza, she felt drawn to return to Chico and CBI, even though she does not live here now.
Tirza is a busy college student who has also been pursuing her career as a ballet dancer. This has taken her to Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Springfield Illinois, and now Washington DC! We’ve been working creatively to help Tirza prepare for this special day from afar. Tirza has been studying and learning with Hazzan Steve and me for the past year over Zoom. It has been incredible to provide this learning platform for Tirza and to make her Bat Torah possible. We’ve also been working closely together this past week in person.
It’s a very exciting time for Tirza and her family, and for our congregation! What a blessing to be part of Tirza’s journey. We are thrilled to welcome Tirza “home” as she completes this meaningful life cycle ritual. In community, we will witness the beautiful power of a mature young woman choosing something because of her deep inner motivation. We hope you can join us!