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Highlights from the Gala Bat Mitzvah of 19 orphans

I am writing this post on my laptop in Netanya on February 18, 2013; just after returning from a wonderful evening celebrating

with the ladies of Lev LaLev in Israel. I wanted to make sure to share my experience with you right away…

The gala bat mitzvah was held in a brand new hall in Netanya, ours was the first event ever to be held there in fact!

The evening started off with an appetizer spread of salads and bread and hot stations of chicken, meatballs, moroccan couscous, and thai noodles. The 19 bat mitzvah girls from the Home where announced one by one to take the stage in front of their adoring fans. Each girl wore beautiful custom matching pale pink gowns, but with their style added. Some gowns had sequins, other silk rosettes, some had both. Each had their hair done in gorgeous updos or styled in intricate ringlets. They looked like princesses!

Then the 3 Lev LaLev bat mitzvah girls: Rachel Piontnica, Sarina Hilowitz, and Jemma Lifschitz, who helped sponsor the gala as part of their mitzvah projects, joined their new friends on stage too!

There was a special candle lighting ceremony where the girls spoke in groups, after which each bat mitzvah girl received a gift of a beautifully wrapped new siddur, and tehillim, each with a special message written inside, from Rachel Piontnica.

I spoke to the guests, and made sure to extend mazel tov wishes on behalf of the entire Lev LaLev family from around the world. The girls were so thankful! Many came up to me afterwards to say thank you in person, and to pass on their thanks to you! They also wished a mazel tov and gave a hug to the mitzvah project girls each time they walked by them.

Next there was a musical performance and dance while the guests ate the

main course. No one went home hungry! With a first course of fish and mashed potatoes, followed by rice and a choice of chicken or beef, finished off by a dessert of sorbet and fruit. The performances were so professional, and the costumes so expertly made, you would have thought the girls had months, rather than the 10 days they actually used to prepare; it never ceases to amaze me to see what these girls can accomplish together!

Then they played the most amazing video of all the girls at the Home singing: “We are the world. We are the children,” which was recorded during their own private studio session, and video footage showed the girls playing and laughing at the Home, and dancing together along the beautiful shores of Netanya. It was such a beautiful film and was a wonderful way to lead into the joyous dancing that ensued.

The girls pulled everyone into the circle to join in the enthusiastic dancing. Everyone was made to feel at home and welcome, and all I could see was a sea of smiling faces as the bus pulled up to bring the girls back to the Children’s Home, though I’m sure many were too excited to sleep!

Thank you all so much for making this night possible, it was such a special evening that I know I, and the girls are the Home, will always treasure.

Mazel Tov!

Sheena Levi

P.S. Please enjoy this video of photos and clips from the Bat Mitzvah Gala.


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