Tammy’s Masua

Tammy, Lena and Babushka Bella

By Brocha Weinberger

Educational Supervisor

It all started with Tammy. Tammy was my heroine, she came to our Ashdod school every morning to learn and in the afternoon went home and assumed the role of teacher. She delighted in sharing her newly discovered Jewish Heritage with her parents and grandmother. Under her tutelage, Tammy’s father, a dentist by profession, began to observe mitzvot and her mother and grandmother began to light Shabbat candles.

I couldn’t let this opportunity pass. I had to commemorate the three generation’s re-connecting to their Jewish Heritage with a memorable event. I wanted to do it for Tammy, for her parents and grandmother, and for the other young “teachers” at Shuvu who were introducing their Jewish Heritage to their parents.

Until Tammy Natanilov was Bat Mitzva our girls celebrated their 12th birthday in their local school. I decided that this was a lost opportunity for empowerment. I immediately scheduled a national Bat Mitzva event for the 300 Shuvu girls to celebrate together.

The theme that year was “our mothers”. We invited Tammy’s mother and grandmother to come on to the stage to light a “Masua” (beacon). This was the highlight of the celebration. We all looked on as Babushka Bella handed the lamp over to her daughter Lena, and then Lena handed the lamp over to her daughter Tammy.

Today, Tammy is married and raising her daughter in a home saturated with Jewish Heritage and mitzvot. Tammy is proud to share that her commitment to Judaism was inspired as she kindled the lamp on stage. It was such an emotional moment. She felt hundreds of eyes watching her, she knew she had to live up to their expectations. Her family’s expectations and Shuvu’s expectations. She had the responsibility of sotering the link in the chain of the continuity of her Jewish Heritage among Russian immigrants who never even knew what they had. She couldn’t disappoint them. And she didn’t.

Tammy’s Bat Mitzva was seven years ago. We have been celebrating Bar and Bat Mitzva events annually for 500 Shuvu students with a festive national event just like we did for the Natanilov family.

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