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Wednesday’s Work-in-Progress: Bat Mitzvah Poetry

Erika becomes a Bat Mitzvah (1982).

No, I’m not in seventh grade. And I don’t have offspring in middle school, either. But it’s Bar and Bat Mitzvah season for me nonetheless. Starting on Saturday and continuing for the next six weeks, I’ll be attending three services at which young Jewish women and men will be called to the Torah to become adult “daughters” or “sons” of the commandments.

Two of my published poems to date have been inspired by my witnessing similar occasions. In “Diaspora,” a prose poem, I reflected on a remarkable assemblage of relatives who converged on Columbus, Ohio, five years ago. More recently, in Emor,” I relied on the Torah portion read by the Bat Mitzvah–which happened to be the same portion I was assigned way back when it was my turn to be called to the Torah for the first time–to help depict some especially moving moments from another family’s simcha.

Who knows the inspiration that awaits me in the coming weeks? Advance gratitude to my hosts for the invitations, and a hearty Mazel Tov to all!

Any of you have Bar or Bat Mitzvah-inspired poetry to share or recommend?

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