“Something truly beautiful and unique”

We celebrate the Bat Mitzvah of Tess, livestreamed to her family in the US

On the morning of March 21st, 2021, we held a very special Shabbat service in which our Beiteinu student, Tess Weinstein, became Bat Mitzvah.

Starting at the slightly later time of 1pm, to enable her family – based in the US – to watch the livestream, the service began with a lovely compilation of photos of Tess growing up.

Throughout the service, music was led by Tammy Rich – our hugely popular service leader who led music at family services for many years. Tess opened the service by greeting everyone watching online – including over 50 of her family and friends watching from the US. People tuned in from Maryland, Florida, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Colorado – including Tess’s 82-year old grandfather and aunts and uncles in their 90s. Members of her family had recorded videos of themselves reading parts of the Shabbat morning liturgy which were shown throughout the service.

Tess read her Torah Portion – Vayakhel-Pekudei – in confident Hebrew – and viewers were able to follow along as an image of the scroll was projected alongside:

Tess reading from the scroll

Her confidence and preparation were also evident when she delivered her Dvar Torah. She opened by looking forward to the upcoming festival of Pesach and reflecting on how its common saying – “Next year in Jerusalem” – has resonance in our current circumstances – “it promises us that next year will be better than this one and it provides us with hope that brighter days will return and we will no longer have to rely on technology to connect”. Her portion describes God’s detailed instructions to the Israelites on how to build the Tabernacle. She compared the building of the tabernacle to the building of a community – “To approach building a community with care, we all need to follow the rules of respect, trust each other, care for each other, and together all those actions will create something truly beautiful and unique.”

You can read her full Dvar Torah here:

Tess was born is Washington, DC in April 2008. In 2016 her family came to the UK and settled in Teddington, becoming members of KLS in early 2018. Their eldest son, Caleb, became Bar Mitzvah at KLS in February 2019.

Speaking after the service, Tess’s father, Warren Weinstein, said “It was a bat mitzvah like no other but we are so appreciative that KLS delayed the start of the service and made it widely available, particularly for our US friends and family to join.  In a normal year and service only a few of them would have been able to actually travel to London to be there with us.  As for Tess she still has a big party to look forward to once the lockdown ends”.  

And Tess said “it was an amazing, unique opportunity which I will for sure, remember for the rest of my life. Being online allowed me to connect and share this experience with many more people, which I believe is what a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is all about”.

The Weinstein family greeting members of their family after the service at the Zoom Kiddush

You can watch the full service here