Centenarian Finally Realizes Coming-of-Age Pipe Dream

In June of 1932 , Leona Rothfeld and her twin brother, Irving, had their thirteenth birthdays. At that time in the Jewish faith, that would mean that ONLY her brother would be able to have their religious “coming of age” ceremony – the bar mitzvah.

 So, while Irving had his bar mitzvah, Leona’s role that day was directing guests to their synagogue.  “It just wasn’t done,” she says.   Although Leona understood that it was simply the way it was, she never forgot about it, and always felt that something was missing from her life.  “I wanted to celebrate my bat mitzvah, too,” she said.

Times Change but Dream Don’t

Ninety years later, while speaking with her rabbi at Gurwin Jewish~ Fay J. Lindner Residences Assisted Living Community in Commack, NY, Leona mentioned her life-long dream to commemorate her bat mitzvah; to her delight, Rabbi Rafi Batashvili agreed to help make it happen.

And so, just days after her 103rd birthday — during the 100th anniversary year of the first American bat mitzvah — Leona’s dream was fulfilled amid family in a service held at Gurwin’s assisted living community’s beautiful synagogue.  

“My son told me this is the perfect time to do it,” Leona says. “He said we just remove the ‘0’ from 103, which makes 13 — it was meant to be this way!”  She was delighted to finally have the opportunity.

 Congratulations, Leona!

We are celebrating with you!


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