Report First Known Bas Mitzvah Ceremony Takes Place in Leningrad

The Union of Councils for Soviet Jews reported that the first known Bas Mitzvah ceremony in Leningrad was celebrated recently by 13-year-old Ann Cogan, The ceremony, attempted by 37 friends and relatives, was held in the Cogan apartment and described in a letter from the girl’s mother, Sophie Cogan to members of the Union of Councils.

The letter said, in part: "When we first began to prepare the Bas Mitzah, we learned that we had no information how to do it. Old people knew only how to do Bar Mitzvah … Nobody here has celebrated a Bas Mitzvah, so we decided to make it as we imagined … First we prepared a film … with different moments of Ann’s life against a background of Jewish music."

At the ceremony Ann discussed a portion of the Torah dealing with the giving of charity. Her father, Izaak Cogan, explained the significance of Ann’s Hebrew name, Hannah, and her mother spoke about why in Jewish tradition children come of age so early.

The party lasted for five hours and generated much interest. "The girls older than Ann who were at our Bas Mitzvah reproached their parents that they had not had a Bas Mitzvah. We hope that our first Bas Mitzvah in Leningrad will provoke a wish in other families to celebrate the Bas Mitzvah ceremony for their children, just as the Pesach seder has become popular here, "the letter said.

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