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Our very own Sheena Levi, touched down in Israel last month to join the Children's Home simcha – a bat mitzvah party that included 19 celebrants. Perhaps it was the largest group of girls in the world to commemorated their 'right of passage' with a gala dinner, Reporting “live” from Netanya, Sheena's words glowed across the miles. She shares her marvelous experience here with us.

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

147-300x199.jpgThe 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-made matching pale pink gowns, but with their personal style added. Some gowns had sequins, other silk rosettes, some had both. Each girl had her hair done in gorgeous updos or styled in intricate ringlets. They looked like princesses!

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

353-300x199.jpgThere was a special candle lighting ceremony where the girls spoke in groups, after which each bat mitzvah girl received a gift – a beautifully wrapped new siddur, and book of tehillim, each with a special message written inside, from Rachel P.

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

341-300x242.jpgNext 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, and finally, the piece de resistance, 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.

953-300x282.jpgThe 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.”

To sponsor a Bat Mitzvah, click here!

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