Rachelli Oxman: A Tzevet Bat Mitzva!

This is the d’var Torah delivered by Rachelli Oxman, a madricha (counselor) in adat-haBogrim, this past Shabbat:

Shabbat Shalom! First of all, I’d like to thank you all for coming, and being a part of my very special day. Second, I’d like to issue a public service announcement: I have lost my bracelet. I made it in Jewelry Kishroniyah and I love it with all my heart. It’s about yay wide and yay long, and consists of a combination of a mishmash of random beads, shiny blue beads, shiny pink beads, and matte grey beads, and the pattern continues. And because I trust each and every one of you wholly I can admit to you this, I. Am. Afraid. Please help me.

I’ve always wanted a bat-mitzvah at camp…(well, I mainly just wanted a birthday at camp, which is to say that I really just wanted cake) but this is really a dream come true. And so I’ve written you a little something something to show my appreciation.

I’ve decided not to speak about the parsha, and I know you’re all extremely disappointed, but please bear with me.  

“According to all known laws of aviation, there is no possible way a bee should be able to fly. It’s wings are too small to get it’s fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyway, because bees don’t care what humans think is impossible.” This quote is from a movie about bees entitled Bee Movie. It’s about a bee named Barry B Benson who becomes self-aware and falls in love with a human. The important thing to remember here though is that the fact that bees fly is basically a miracle. And that’s what I want to focus on today. 

Miracles happen everyday. Waking up is a miracle. Having food at your table is a miracle. Being a part of our wonderful Ramah community is a miracle. All these things are taken for granted in the grand scheme of things but they are so important. We thank God for these things everyday during Birkot Hashachar and the rest of our prayers, which I know is not always as fun as some of the other things we do everyday at camp, but i think they are equally important. I know, I know, not everyone believes in a God or relates to the specific prayers or is awake enough to say them. But it’s a great time for self reflection. To take account of yourself and how you’re doing, how your summer is going, and to thank God or evolution or whatever you believe in for the fact that you are here in this moment right now. You are experiencing the things, you are healthy, you are present, you are alive. You are at my bat-mitzvah celebrating with me. So I know that T’filot are not everyone’s favorite part of camp, or even second favorite, they might even be your least favorite for all I know. But I want you to remember this: Barry B Benson is a miracle and so are you. And that should be acknowledged and remembered and sung about. 

I want to thank my parents for bringing about the miracle of my birth. I want to thank all of you who’ve traveled from far and wide to be here for me on this special day. I want to thank Sarah and Riki for helping my dream become a reality. I want to thank my fellow tzevet (staff) members for always supporting me. A very special thank you to Adeena Bromberg Seltzer for teaching me my entire haftorah. And lastly, a very special thank you to Jerry Seinfeld, Andy Robin, Barry Marder, and Spike Feresten for creating the “Bee Movie” and subsequently the quote that was the basis of my speech. Thank you all, and Shabbat Shalom!

Categories: Bogrim, Tefillot