Philadelphia, PA (PressExposure) September 17, 2013 -- Paul's Run Retirement Community, a service of Liberty Lutheran, served as proud host to a Bat Mitzvah celebration on May 17th for 16 senior citizens who didn't have the opportunity as young women.
"Until recently girls were denied this privilege," said Rabbi intern Anne Feibelman, who officiated the service Friday evening. "This is a dream these women never expected."
More than 200 people packed the small auditorium at Paul's Run to watch the women take the sacred rite of passage, including their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Out of the 16 women celebrating their Bat Mitzvahs, the youngest was 85 and the oldest was 100 years old. Three are Holocaust survivors. The group studied weekly since the fall, learning how to read Hebrew, learning prayers and reading the Torah for the first time.
"I feel really good and a little different, because not many old people do this," said 90-year old Helen Marimow of her Bat Mitzvah.
Orthodox Judaism traditionally does not honor women with a Bat Mitzvah celebration, because girls have historically have not permitted to be called to the Torah and read from the sacred text. This is a tradition reserved only for boys in Orthodox Judaism. In modern times, a girl who is not Orthodox can celebrate her Bat Mitzvah at age 12 or 13.
Incorporated in 2001 and headquartered in Ambler, Pa., Liberty Lutheran, with its more than 25 locations and combined service history of 300 years, faithfully provides vital resources to individuals and families facing life-changing situations. These individualized services include independent and assisted living, skilled nursing, rehabilitation, hospice care, in-home supports, wellness services, children and family services, integration services for immigrants and political refugees, and disaster response. Liberty Lutheran's team of dedicated employees serves individuals and families through their family of services in Eastern Pennsylvania, including Artman, Paul's Run Retirement Community, Liberty at Home, Lutheran Children and Family Services, Lutheran Congregational Services, Mary J. Drexel, and The Village at Penn State. http://www.libertylutheran.org