by Tammi Levy-Cantor

tammiIt’s been a busy year for our family. Our child will be invited to and attending almost 60 Bar and Bat Mitzvahs from her classmates at the Rashi School, her camp family, our actual family, and long time friends. My husband, son, and I have also been incredibly fortunate to share in many of these celebrations. Beneath the Surface at Mayyim Hayyim for Bat Mitzvah age girls and their moms provided a welcome respite for a few evenings from this happy, but frenetic pace. It allowed us to refocus on the Bat Mitzvah year. We’ve been able to create blessings, crafts, and most importantly time together.

Tammi: What was the most memorable part of the class we took together, besides learning that we are not good at decoupage?

Lily: I liked learning the meaning of my name, and how I’m connected to the people who came before me.

Tammi: I liked the moment that we were in front of the water, we hugged, and we told each other what we wished for each other from this experience. It was a blessing of sorts. I thought it was powerful to define that out loud. What is something that you will take away from Beneath the Surface?

deco-journalLily: Getting to share a meaningful moment with my mom. We created a notebook cover with decoupage that was meaningful to both us. Even though it wasn’t pretty, it still had many aspects that were important to us.

Tammi: I loved that too. We laughed the whole time. It was so much fun to do this. We may not have done it otherwise because the weekends are so busy. It was great to create that together. Did you enjoy learning with the other girls and moms?

Lily: Yes, It was great to hear their stories about their upcoming Bat Mitzvahs and talk about that on a deeper level.

Tammi: I agree. Our group came with different backgrounds and experiences and it was nice to hear the different perspectives of what a Bat Mitzvah meant for them and their families. Will this change how you are looking at your upcoming Bat Mitzvah?

Lily: Yes, I feel much calmer about it now. I also feel excited to take part in these traditions that have been practiced for so many years.

Tammi: For me, I have always looked at the Bat Mitzvah as only one “stop” on your long Jewish journey towards solidifying a strong Jewish identity. My hope is that you, and your brother, will not only identify as Jewish – you will simply “be” Jewish, in whatever way is meaningful to you.

Beneath the Surface at Mayyim Hayyim gave us the gift of time. It allowed us to create yet another stop on this journey – another space for Jewish learning to happen. I am so incredibly grateful for this blessing.

The next session for Beneath the Surface will be offered in fall of 2017, but it’s not too early to sign up. Immersion ceremonies for Bar and Bat Mitzvah kids may be emailed upon request. Contact for more information.

Tammi Levy-Cantor is taking a very, very extended break from her Health Policy career to stay at home with her daughter Lily, and older son Samson. She lives in Newton with her husband Michael where she volunteers and enjoys cooking, reading, spinning, and walking her Cockapoo, Kibble.