Beneath the Surface: A Film for Bat Mitzvah Girls and their Mothers

We wanted to create a program that would empower girls and moms to be together at a time in their lives where there was a lot of stress around this idea of getting ready for your bat mitzvah we wanted to give them an opportunity To learn together to give them a special place in time to create a bond that they might not have at that moment But we also wanted to give moms the opportunity to process what their own bat mitzvah experience had been like and what they were bringing to their daughter’s bat mitzvah experience from their own history My big struggle with Judaism has been where is women’s place in Judaism and to me this is very symbolic of reclaiming it, reenergizing making new meaning When my mom told me about the program I was a little apprehensive because I didn’t know what it was gonna be like and I didn’t know the kind of things we were gonna do and the questions they were gonna ask I was trying to magnify the spiritual aspect and the opportunity to strengthen a relationship with my daughter and just maximizing our time together on this special pathway I think the most meaningful part of the program was the time we spent together thinking about what rituals were important to us from the past and what kind of things we could create together and we created a ritual of just before Shabbat spending time cooking together and sort of having that connect to thanks and being things that we were thankful for The program impacted my way of thinking about my bat mitzvah but after the mikveh, I kind of got more into the spiritual mindset of my bat mitzvah which essentially made my bat mitzvah day more meaningful and to know that my mom and I had been through this experience that kind of prepared me I think that’s what the Beneath the Surface managed to balance was the parental piece of the moms spending time together, balanced with the girls spending time together and then the mix of both Is it hot? It’s, like, warm With all these girls sitting in one room who basically never knew each other, they all got to really see the commonalities and I think it made the feeling and the experience of preparing for your bat mitzvah a little less stressful because there were other people going through the same thing as you were What we ended up learning was that the most valuable part of the program was the time that moms and girls just spent together somewhere quietly and that this came at a time in their lives where there was a lot of stress and anxiety I have literally seen moms and girls arrive not seeming to look like they like each other too much and within one or two sessions literally sitting with their arms around each other and snuggling on the couch and I know somehow we’ve done something right I think that one of the exercises that we did that strengthened my relationship with my mom was the ritual that we did because I got To say words to her that normally I wouldn’t say and she got To say words to me that normally she wouldn’t say and so we bonded like that and also She blessed me and I was there and then we just bonded like that I saw a side of Sasha I hadn’t really seen before because she had prepared words for me It was unique to be in that sacred space and really, really listening to each other share words of love and support From a daughter’s perspective, I think it’s beautiful to come together and have some time to just sit back and be with your mother before your Bat Mitzvah It’s just nice to be with other mothers and daughters who are in the same situation as you and to see how close everyone can really become by the end of the program We’ve had a number of opportunities to see mothers and daughters who’ve come and who have actually had very deep transformations which still never ceases to surprise me because I admit this is simply three Sunday afternoons in their lives We’re not quite sure. I think there’s a little bit of magic in it Hineini, here I am I am Serach Meital bat Yocheved Rut What’s your hope for your bat mitzvah day? Well, I want to make my parents and my family proud I hope I’m happy for myself after I read my portion 1 2 3 you

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