Lauren Elizabeth Chopp
What is a Bat Mitzvah?
A Bat Mitzvah is a coming-of-age ceremony in which a 13-year old girl  is called to chant from the ancient scripture and to take the step from childhood to Jewish adulthood.  By studying for this day and standing before the congregation, Lauren signifies her acceptance of Jewish responsibility.
 
At this ceremony, Lauren will help lead the Saturday morning Sabbath service and will be given the great honor of reading from the Torah. 
 
The Sabbath Service is a blend of sacred music, reflective readings, and teaching.  The liturgy focuses on many themes, including how we relate to G-d’s blessings in our world and how we respond to G-d’s gifts through our commitments. 

The focal point of the Service is reading from the Torah.  The Jewish people read the Torah from beginning to end over the course of a year.  This Sabbath, which is close to Lauren's  13th birthday, we are reading part of the Book of Numbers.  Lauren's Torah portion is  10:34-11:10  This Torah portion describes the period of time after the Exodus from Egypt when the Jews are wandering in the desert for 40 years.  God has given them manna to eat, but they are complaining that the food is not as varied and tasty as what they ate while they were slaves in Egypt  It is also a period when Moses is struggling to lead this unhappy bunch by himself, so G-d instructs him to create a government of sorts to help him.  It is the custom in our congregation for the student to read from the Torah and from the Haftorah (a selection from the Prophets, thematically connected to the Torah portion).  Blessings are recited before and after these readings, reflecting our gratitude toward G-d for giving us the Torah and the wisdom of the Prophets.
 
A Bat Mitzvah is not just an event, but a process.  In addition to spending more than 4 years learning Hebrew, studying Jewish history and traditions, and preparing to lead this particular service, Lauren  also learned about Jewish values.  As a component to this rite of passage, Lauren has spent this last year doing mitzvot (translated roughly as "good deeds") and social action projects, including hosting families staying at IHC through the Family Promise program, volunteering at Gleaners Food Bank, offering child care to a family in our neighborhood and donating all the proceeds from a garage sale she put on to SavetheChildren.org which provides food and shelter to children in Africa.  These hands-on opportunites have allowed her to translate her classroom studies into Tikkun Olam (repairing the world).

Attire for the service is dressy; boys should wear dress slacks and a nice shirt; ties are optional.  Girls should wear skirts, dresses or dress slacks.   The celebration in the evening is "golf-club" casual, but we request no tee-shirts or short shorts.