A Bat Mitzvah, literally translated, is the “Daughter of Mitzvah.” It means that a Jewish young woman is ready to observe all of her mitzvot (commandments). For many Jewish girls, their Bat Mitzvah is the most important day of their lives. They eagerly await for the event, excited to celebrate their rite of passage as a Jewish youth; so it only makes sense to want all the most important people in your life to celebrate this occasion with you.
Two years ago, Romy, Mayar (or as her friends like to call her, Pistachio) and Malak all met for the first time at a PPI event, but their friendships grew fast on the court and developed even more off the court. The girls began hanging out together, shopping, playing, laughing and talking — all the things typical pre-teens love to do. But there is nothing typical about these girls’ friendships.
Malak, Mayar and Romy’s conversations are a mix of Hebrew and Arabic. Romy, a Jewish teen from Herzliya Pituach, only speaks Hebrew; Mayar, a Palestinian girl from Beit Safafa, only speaks Arabic; and Malak, also Palestinian from Shuafat, speaks Hebrew and Arabic and helps both of the other girls understand one other.
Fast forward two years:
This past Monday, Romy celebrated her Bat Mitzvah (Mazal Tov, Romy!) on Herzliya Beach with a day full of surfing, kayaking and basking in the sun. She had her family celebrating with her. She also had the friends she grew up with, the friends she goes to school with, and even the friends that live in her neighborhood by her side.
Romy also had two of her best friends — the friends she made two years ago on a basketball court in Jerusalem. Malak and Mayar danced with her, laughed and celebrated this momentous occasion.
For Malak and Mayar, it was there first time celebrating someone’s Bat Mitzvah. And the fun didn’t end there. The girls went back to Romy’s house after the party and helped her unwrap presents.
In the beginning, it was unlikely friendship; but it blossomed, and transcended all odds.