I met with Lyla this week to hear about her Bat Mitzvah celebrations.

Due to the PHC Shule renovations, Lyla held her Bat Mitzvah at the Breckler Troy Hall at AVѧԺ. Inspired by her name meaning ‘night’ in Hebrew, Lyla chose not to read a dvar torah, but to talk about what happens when you go to sleep and dream. She described to me the Jewish interpretation of dreams and how when you go to sleep, 59/60 parts of your soul go to a spiritual realm, and you’re only left with 1/60th of your soul to sustain you. She was very interested in how this might work and the perplexing ideas of life and death within the Jewish faith.

Lyla commented that speaking for three to six minutes feels like quite a long time when you’re in front of so many people, but she was pleased that some of her classmates were there, along with invited family friends. She was a bit nervous beforehand, but she only stuttered once. Now Lyla has completed her bat mitzvah, she told me it means that she is a young Jewish lady. From now on, she will have to sit in a different section at the shule rather than with her dad, and she won’t show her shoulders whilst in shule. She explained that she won’t have to wear tefillin, though, nor a kippah.She explained that, girls don’t have to wear a kippah because they are already more connected to God and don’t need the physical reminder.

Lyla’s party was held at Gordon Blumfeld Hall and started with Havdalah, for which her mum had made lots of little candles which they shared. I learnt that Havdalah is when you say goodbye to Shabbat and welcome in the new week. The guests then enjoyed dinner, dessert and a photo booth. There was also a big photo presentation of Lyla showing pictures from when she was little. The most special thing about the Bat Mitzvah was re-uniting with one of her best friends from Year 4 – it was lovely to see her again.

Lyla’s hobbies include baking (brownies are her best recipe), doing handstands for fun and playing netball. The netball season is apparently about to start and she’s ready for her grading to see what team she’ll be in. Lyla is very happy so far in Year 7 at Carmel - all her close friends go here and she describes the teachers as “very nice and quite interesting”.