Each year, several Negba youth reach the age of Bar or Bat Mitzvah. Unfortunately, unlike most of their classmates, their families don’t possess the means to mark this milestone at a celebratory event.
It is for this reason that for some years now Negba has been running its B’nai Mitzvah project, which not only arranges a festive evening for the celebrants, but also prepares them for the transition into adolescence. No less than 12 girls and 8 boys benefited from this project this year. They come from across Negba’s after-school frameworks, and meet once a week for joint activities on topics such as: The Passage from Childhood to Adolescence; Responsibility; Setting Goals for Personal Development; Giving Gifts to Others; Belonging to the Jewish people, and more.
The B’nai Mitzvah participants also enjoyed special activities and outings including a visit to a Tallit factory, paying visits to sick children at Soroka Hospital, a tour to the Well of Abraham, and recording a group song in a recording studio.
These special meetings and activities had an additional objective, beyond simply personal growth and having fun; they shaped the formation of a group of adolescents from different backgrounds and neighborhoods which will serve as the core of Negba’s Teen Club next year. The activities also sought to further develop the initiative and creativity of the members, all of whom assumed leading roles preparing and running sessions, and even cooking meals for the group.
The project culminated in a lovely party in honor of all the B’nai Mitzvah, with 200 guests including the honorees’ families, other Negba children and youth, as well as distinguished guests including Beersheva Mayor Ruvik Danilovich.
Between photo shoots of each B’nai Mitzvah’s families, Koral*, one of the mothers present, confided to one of Negba’s National Service women about her son, Doron: “He hasn’t slept for three days, he is so excited about this evening. It’s all he’s been talking about at home!” In addition to a traditional meal and dancing, each B’nai Mitzvah spoke during the evening sharing how they grew through the process.
Miri, Talia’s mother, couldn’t restrain her emotions at the end of the evening. “Thank you with all my heart for all that you do for our children. I could never, even in a dream, offer my daughter such an evening. There is no place like Negba! “
Negba’s leadership, the B’nai Mitzvah and their families are particularly grateful to those donors who contributed to the project, without whom it would not have been possible. Special thanks as well to all the professionals who donated their services, or reduced their fees, for the benefit of the project.
* All first names have been changed