Why I am Having an Adult Bat Mitzvah?
Hag Sameah to each of you!!!
My name is Inna Bakker and my classmate Susan Smirnoff mentioned me in her Dvar Torah. Her feeling is that I am standing here before you is nothing short of a miracle because as a new born baby I survived war, blockade and starvation in Leningrad, Soviet Union,
so it is a very emotional moment for me,
I also was part of the miracle of the 20Th century - Exodus of the Russian Jews from the Soviet Union.
In 1973, almost 43 ago on the second day after arrival to New York with my late husband and 2 year old son, not knowing a single person - another miracle happened- Jewish people from the Jewish Center on West 86 st came to our hotel to greet us and to ask how they can help us.
We became part of the Jewish community and started lifelong scholarship of the Jewish life, my son Ilya went to the Yeshiva Ramaz , I learned a lot from him, he grew up to be a Mensch and gave me 3 grandchildren,
we participated in marches and rallies for the freedom of Soviet Jews, for support of Israel, for denouncing terrorist aggressions and many other activities, I visited Israel 15 times and volunteered 5 times on the Army bases, i came as a dentist and studied 2 nd time again for 5 years and got my DDS degree and practice dentistry ,also i traveled the world visiting 100 countries and places, I am learning Hebrew and now going through 18 month study for my Bat Mitzvah at my very “mature” age, it is also my birthday.
WHY,WHY I AM HAVING MY BAT MITZVAH?
1-- Love of learning which I inherited from my wonderful parents,
2-- Love of Judaism
Love of Israel, our tiny, tiny but great country,
It is very appropriate that my Adult Bat Mitzvah is on Shavuot and my portion is Shmot-since it tells the story of the Israelites exodus from Egypt and arrival at Sinai ,,
A parallel to my PERSONAL EXODUS from dictatorship to democracy, from oppression to freedom, many family members and friends followed after me in this journey. It is also my - PERSONAL SHAVUOT the holiday of receiving Torah by the Jewish people, as my commitment and affirmation to the Jewish life, Jewish causes and support of Israel.
Now from the bottom of my heart I want to thank:
First ---- God, for me being alive and having all the miracles in my life,
Then my wonderful late grandparents and parents who did everything for my survival,
All my immediate and extended family and so many wonderful people whom I met in my life who influenced and shaped me and made me what I am.Thank you so much to the caring community of Park Ave. Synagogue, Rabbi Cosgrove who let me started Bat Mitzvah class a little later, my teachers Rabbi Zuckerman,
beautiful and talented cantor Shira and our ritual director Mark Frier, first person Victor and I met when we walked into this Sanctuary 2 years ago, who greeted us with such warmth and friendliness, thanks to Victor for finding Adult Bat Mitzvah class on the website and for encouraging me.
Thank you to 12 of my Bat Mitzvah classmates for an interesting and spiritual journey together,
Thank you all for being witnesses of such a great milestone in my life.
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