Let me tell you about Hadas.

Hadas is my oldest grandchild.

Hadas was born on a sunny Friday morning, 12 years ago, at Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem, Jerusalem, Israel. As her mother, my daughter, gazed into the eyes of her firstborn, I began to experience the world in a totally new way. I saw in my daughter’s eyes a deep, encompassing maternal love. I heard in the way she spoke to her little baby, warmth and kindness. I saw in the way she held Hadas, her gentle touch. I knew Hadas was in good hands. I could trust this young mother who, it seemed, had only recently been my baby.

As the years have gone by, Hadas has given her family great deal of pleasure. We appreciate the fact that she is quick witted, intelligent, clever, and has a great sense of humor. When we spoke recently, I told her that I remembered her having devised a PowerPoint presentation when she was very young. She told me that at one point she was hired to teach her older cousin to use PowerPoint. I asked her how old she was then. She said that it was the year she was in kindergarten!

Only a few years ago did we recognize her talent at dancing as she danced both folk and jazz with a local troupe. Then, we were wowed by her singing—listening to her sing solos at school commemorations with a voice as clear as a bell and a poise that was impressive.

In less than two weeks, Hadas will celebrate her Bat Mitzvah. She has lived a Jewish life from the day of her birth. She has come to love the land of Israel and the study of Torah. She takes on her responsibility as a Jewish woman with devotion.

Yesterday Hadas and I went to Jerusalem. The streets and parks were filled with people as families spent chol hamoed together. In the Ben Yehuda walking area, sidewalk stands were selling tablecloths and Simchat Torah flags. Street musicians played keyboards and trumpets and violins and balalaikas. Off to the side of the walking area, there was a tent with a puppet show. Stores were crammed with merchandise and there was a festive atmosphere all around. We walked together and talked and ran some errands and had lunch and finally, late in the afternoon, after a very gentle, sweet day, we returned home.

I spoke to Hadas about the fact that she was about to become the next link in a chain of Jewish women through the ages. I referred to her great grandmothers and great-greats, and all of the women in the family who had come before her and spoke to her about how the gift I was giving her also was meant to be passed through the generations. And just as I had felt secure that she was in good hands with her young mother, I feel secure that our tradition is in good hands with this lovely child as she becomes a Jewish woman.

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  1. frank spigel says

    Mazel Tov on Hadas’s Upcoming Bat Mitzvah, I didn’t
    know she was your oldest grandchild.Hopefully sometime when I come to Israel soon again, I will have the opportunity to meet some of the grandchildren, I did not meet on my last trip, as well as your daughter, just goes to show you can learn something new every day.

  2. Susan Nolan says

    How sweet it is to read your gracious words about Hadas, Rona. It doesn’t seem so long ago that I watched you, at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, as a young Jewish mother yourself, giving Hadas’ mother, Rachel, the same powerful and wonderful Jewish mothering about which you speak here in your lovely commentary. Your own mothering, and your own example of as strong Jewish woman, stand firm in my memory as an amazing example of womanhood. I am thankful that Hadas will carry your family tradition to the next generation. She sounds just like Rachel as a little girl in this piece. How wonderful. Susan Nolan, Newmarket, NH

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