Bat Mitzvah Program Testimonials
UJEB BAT MITZVAH PROGRAM TESTIMONIALS
“The UJEB Bat Mitzvah program caters for varied levels of observance and understanding of Judaism. Our daughter learnt and grew in maturity over the program. We loved the exposure to so many different facets of our culture, and the opportunity to give back to the community, with her peers.”
Lori and Ilan Chait, parents, 2022
“It was quite an emotional experience cooking with my granddaughter, Eve, passing on family recipes. Given the mixed backgrounds in my son’s family, I did not think I would ever experience this. These recipes were passed on to me in the same way while cooking with my mother and her sisters. Eve was so enthusiastic and interested in the three hours we cooked together, eagerly participating while assiduously taking notes. She then set the Seder table. We had the most delightful, closer afternoon together sharing this experience. Such a wonderful task set by her Bat Mitzvah program – thank you.”
Mary-Lou Howie, grandmother, 2022
“This year has been an incredible experience for me as, until now, I’ve never had the chance to learn much about my Jewish roots or identity. Taking part in this course has been so enriching.”
Eve Howie, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2022
“Something I liked about this year on the UJEB Bat Mitzvah program was learning many different ways to connect to my Jewish culture. It made me understand that everyone connects to the Jewish culture in their own way.”
Maya Schimmel, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2022
“This has been a big year for me. I’ve learnt a lot about who I am and who I want to become. I’ve experienced new things and met lots of different people.”
Nomi Shroot, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2022
“This year, I have discovered so many new things about myself. My limits and boundaries, but also my ability to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. I was skeptical on my first day at the bat mitzvah program but, after attending sessions the entire year, I feel like a new person.”
Raphaella Chait, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2022
“Almost a year ago I knew nothing about my parasha, family history or traditions but I have now completed the UJEB bat mitzvah program and look to the future as a Jewish woman in the modern-day world. Throughout the 4 terms I’ve enjoyed so many things with some incredible girls, from learning how the Torah is written to playing basketball with kids in housing estates. UJEB camp was absolutely fantastic and the Jewish museum was the coolest place to discover and learn at. Meeting Jewish female role models, from around Victoria, who are making the world a better and brighter place was inspiring. I have loved every single part of this year’s program and I’ll take so much out of it. It will have an impact on myself and those around me for many years to come.”
Riley Richards, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2022
“I didn’t have a formal Jewish education, so this was the first opportunity to learn properly about Jewish history, traditions, prayers and Jewish holidays. All of it contributed to form my Jewish identity and I hope it will get stronger over the years as I am just at the beginning of my journey as a young Jewish woman.”
Sophia Rink, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2022
“One thing I would tell girls joining the UJEB Bat Mitzvah program in the future is not to worry because it is very fun. You get to meet lots of new people and participate in many fun activities. The Bat Mitzvah program also helps you learn more about Jewish history and important Jewish people.”
Tessa Glowinski, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2022
“I learned a lot this year. Something I learned a significant amount from was my Roots Project. It was something that was enjoyable and educational and a great thing to take away from the experience to keep forever. I found out a lot about my family and really enjoyed creating it. Overall, I enjoyed every bit of the program this year, making friends, learning about important topics and doing good things for the wider community. It was a memorable experience and a great opportunity.”
Winter Buntman, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2022
“The UJEB Bat mitzvah program was all we could have hoped for: a year for our daughter to be inspired — about her heritage and history, her religion and her community — and empowered, through exposure to influential teachers, community leaders and volunteering opportunities. We are so happy with all she got to experience this year, with the confidence built, the guidance offered and the amazing friendships formed. Thank you!”
Pascale Clearihan, parent, 2021
“We were so impressed with UJEB’s Bat Mitzvah program, which drew on so many diverse resources from Jewish spirituality, culture and society, giving our daughter a sound and solid experience of the multiple facets that constitute what being Jewish means.
In such a tough year marred by lockdowns we have to say that the program team rose to the challenge exceptionally well to keep the program engaging, and the little surprises delivered to our door to keep morale high showed that these people do what they do from the heart.
Well done and thank you!”
Doron Berger, parent, 2021
“As a Jewish girl, through my bat mitzvah I hoped to learn more about my culture. Through the UJEB Bat Mitzvah program I made many friends and countless memories. Though this year was disrupted by the Coronavirus I have enjoyed being given the responsibility of having a roots project and diving deeper into my family’s history. It’s amazing that a young woman like me can celebrate such a momentous celebration. It’s cool that I am not forced into hiding my ethnicity. Instead, I can be proud of it. I am the first woman in my family to celebrate my batmi because back in the USSR it was looked down upon to be Jewish. Individuals would be killed for their religion. So, both celebrating and participating in such a program is massive. Thank you.”
Rebecca Epelboym, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2021
“UJEB’s Bat Mitzvah program encompassed all that we had hoped for and more.
The curriculum content oozed enrichment as it deeply explored culture, social justice, philanthropy, relevant historical events, family roots and inspirational female role models within our community. Through completing this program, not only have our daughters gained a much deeper appreciation and understanding of their cultural background. They have also established a greater yearning for helping those in need.”
Kim Elisha, parent, 2018 & 2021
“This year one of my favourite things in the batmi classes was making cheesecakes for Shavuot. I liked doing this because I knew they were going to people who needed them and that the small things we were doing would mean a lot to them. I really enjoyed working on the roots project. I learned heaps of new things and got the chance to learn about how my grandparents came to Australia. I also got to learn more about my great grandparents while making the family tree. Everything I learnt during the project taught me lots about myself and my family.”
Nora Glowinski, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2021
“Something meaningful I will take away from this year is how truly lucky I am to be a Jewish woman. This program really taught me how hard it was for the Jews to get to the point we are at today and I will be forever grateful for my ancestors who have created the world we live in today. I have really loved my time at UJEB. I will always keep with me all the valuable lessons I have learnt and the precious memories I have made.”
Marley Elisha, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2021
“At first I was a bit negative about starting the UJEB Bat MItzvah program but I was wrong. I have made so many friends and learnt so much about my religion.”
Malie Cavin, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2021
“I would not hesitate to recommend the UJEB Bat mitzvah program for your daughter. My daughter joined, having minimal familiarity with her Jewish identity. It was important for me to place her into a Bat mitzvah program that was diverse, all inclusive, and extremely welcoming to all backgrounds. The UJEB experience ticked all the boxes, and despite lockdown for almost half of the year, the program remained highly stimulating and well organised with engaging and thought-provoking activities and themes every term. My daughter came to the end of the year feeling deeply enriched, with a stronger sense of belonging to her community. The UJEB Batmitzvah experience has helped my daughter to feel stronger, motivated and more empowered as a young Jewish woman. Thank you UJEB”.
Sharon Leibowitz, parent, 2021
“My favourite part of the UJEB Bat Mitzvah program was learning about my parsha, as learning about it has brought me much closer to Judaism. I have learnt a lot in the past year. A while ago, I didn’t have much knowledge about Judaism but I now feel confident and proud.”
Lior Berger, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2021
“I am proud to be a batmi Jewish woman and to have done this amazing program. It gives us young women an insight to our future and what we are going to do with it. Many people guided me through this Batmi program to achieve my goals including my teachers and friends, who I gained from too and who made the program so much fun.”
Ashanti Kawalsky, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2021
“I have learnt many important lessons from this year, but one important thing I will take away with me is that you should make the most of everything you have, because you never know when something will change. During this pandemic, we have faced setbacks and obstacles but everyone has always stayed positive and come to class with a smile on their face.”
Ruby Leibowitz, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2021
“I joined this UJEB Bat Mitzvah program to learn new things and make friends. This program gives young women the chance to express themselves and who they are. I have had a wonderful time and have loved becoming a bat mitzvah girl. I have learnt so much over this year. There were many organisations that inspired me and taught me how to give back. I also met many kind and generous girls who have taught me so much and I’m so glad I met them.”
Talia Newnham, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2021
“I have two daughters who completed the UJEB Bat-mitzvah program, both of whom have loved the experience. They made new friends, gained a deeper understanding of their Jewish culture and heritage and learnt lifelong lessons about the importance of giving. I am so grateful to UJEB for the care and effort they put into the program and for guiding my girls as they learnt about their role and place in our community. The April camp (although optional) was also a ‘not to be missed’ highlight.”
Nicole Harvey, parent, 2021
“This year at UJEB has been nothing but fun. I made so many new friends and had so many new experiences. Embarking on this incredible journey has taught me so many new lessons, one of them being to own your background. Your heritage is important and you should be proud because it makes you unique and different.”
Tilly Harvey, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2021
“From each term in these classes, I learnt something different…I learnt that Israel is home to many inventions. I learnt that there are many different ways to give back to people who need it, and that time is sometimes more valuable than money. I learnt more about Jewish history and where we come from and that role models can just simply be someone in your everyday life.”
Baci Gomo, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2021
“I enjoyed taking part in the UJEB Bat Mitzvah program this year and will miss it next year. My favourite parts of this year were my newfound friends and the games we played. I am a very social person and I am passionate about social justice so, of course, this program was just the right fit for me.”
Mika Bergman, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2021
“We have had wonderful and enriching experiences this year on our journey with the UJEB Bat Mitzvah program. My new batmi friends and I attended UJEB camp which filled our hearts with core memories. Even though lockdown meant most of term 3 was online, each week was filled with something different and exciting on zoom. I am so grateful for everything we have learnt and done. I have learnt so many valuable morals and lessons with this program, especially from the guest speakers. I’m so happy I have learnt to become a woman with UJEB. The program enriched me with many memories, taught me very useful information and led me to meet some of my best friends.”
Zoe Kovacs, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2021
I really enjoyed spending time with friends, making new ones and enjoying my last year at primary school. I also enjoyed completing the roots project because I’ve always been interested in my ancestry. After the UJEB Batmi program I will take home the message of having pride in myself and my culture.
Saskia Fischer-Wolf, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2021
“I am happy to say: Each of the components of the UJEB Batmi program was special and carefully selected, and my daughter enjoyed them all. Highlights for her were the visits to and speakers from not-for-profit organisations, the ‘Roots’ project and art activities. My daughter enjoyed making new friends in the program.”
Gaby Wolf, parent, 2021
“On reflection over the past year, we are blessed and privileged to have witnessed our daughter’s growth through her Batmi journey with UJEB.
The programme has afforded both her, and us as a family, the blessing of learning about our own individual, and family history and roots. We have also witnessed her grow in terms of yiddishkeit, tzedakah and maturing into the kind, considerate and mindful young Jewess she is today.
Thank you UJEB for facilitating a programme of maturity, connection, growth and setting the pathway for our daughter’s journey to becoming Bat Mitzvah.”
Lisa Myers, parent, 2020
“The UJEB Batmitzvah program has managed the Covid situation really well. The classes continued to run online and, whilst they may not have been exactly as planned, the girls have certainly had access to some incredibly moving content. They stood (all be it via Zoom) in St Kilda shule while Rabbi Glasman blew the shofar. They attended an incredibly moving session with a Holocaust survivor. They made apple swans for Rosh HaShana. They even had a session with a member of the Israeli Defense Force. So, whilst they lost some of their original opportunities, they gained other new ones that they otherwise would not have had.
Whilst most kids’ activities ceased for the lockdown period, leaving the kids with nothing to break up the repetitive routine of lockdown, UJEB Bat Mitzvah classes kept running, giving the kids the opportunity to socialize and connect with other like-minded souls.
Most notably, their teacher Rivka is an incredible teacher and UJEB is lucky to have her. She radiates positivity and kindness. The students love her and feel incredibly comfortable with her. She generates engaging discussion and challenges the students on all levels.
I can not fault the UJEB Bat Mitzvah program and the way it has run throughout the entire Covid period.”
Jodie Fox, parent, 2020
“We have been so happy with the way the program has been run over zoom, engaging the girls and enabling them to continue to learn throughout COVID. A great job by everyone who worked to keep the momentum going for the girls. And after yesterday’s session I have one who is keen to give Krav Maga a try, and even wants me to go along! Thank you.”
Liana Freeman, parent of twins, 2020
“Thank-you for having Jacquie in the UJEB Bat Mitzvah program this year. We are very appreciative that you were able to accommodate her after we were late in our application. We were also really pleased with how the program handled the Coronavirus lockdowns. The program
transitioned to Zoom in a seamless fashion and the girls even managed to make cheesecake for Shavuot! Both teachers this year were lovely and very engaging. Michelle made Jacquie feel very welcome when she didn’t know the other girls in her group. And Jacquie really connected with Rivka’s teaching style. Jacquie has felt supported in her UJEB journey throughout the entire year and also really enjoyed the change in focus each term. Overall, we are grateful to UJEB for providing such a community based program.”
Romi Zaslavsky, parent, 2020
“I really did have a great year on the UJEB Bat Mitzvah Program. It was full of interesting things to learn about. There are so many lessons that I remember well, but I’d probably have to say that learning about Koala Kids was one of my favourites because I was able to do something small to help young children who are suffering and fighting for their lives with cancer.”
Yasmin Freeman, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2020
“The thing I enjoyed the most this year, on the UJEB Bat Mitzvah Program, was making new friends with the rest of the girls. Something I am going to take away from this year is all the great memories we made like doing acts of kindness.”
Zara Freeman, Bat Mitzvah graduate, 2020
“I enjoyed every single moment of the Bat Mitzvah program, from when we were helping others to doing martial arts. My time on the program has made me want to continue my involvement in the Jewish community. I am so terribly sad that this journey has ended because I have learnt so much and will hopefully continue on my own path to grow my Jewish identity and to reflect on everything I have learnt. I can’t wait to share all my knowledge of what I have learnt, about being a woman in my Jewish community, with all my friends.”
Ayla Myers, Bat Mitzvah graduate 2020
“If I had any advice for the girls coming next year, it would be to embrace every moment you spend with everyone because before you know it this lovely experience comes to a close. This UJEB experience has been the best highlight of this year, going through all the crazy and weird experiences I would never normally experience.”
Zahra Jacobs, Bat Mitzvah graduate 2020
“UJEB has now guided our third daughter through her Bat Mitzvah and we’re so happy and grateful for UJEB’s passion and genuine love of Judaism that the girls all felt and shared in. It has set them up with a wonderful foundation for their lives. We’ve no more daughters to send though but look forward to sending the next generation! Thank you so much.”
Zac and Nicole Jacobs, parents, 2017 & 2020
“I like the fact that the program spans throughout the whole year and works in coordination with other Jewish organizations. My daughter had the opportunity to explore content she otherwise wouldn’t encounter at school or at any other program.”
Nurit Meltzer, parent of 3 Bat Mitzvah graduates, 2014, 2018 & 2020
“UJEB’s Bat Mitzvah program is exciting, engaging and inspirational. The program offers many hands-on activities, along with learning about Jewish identity. The program is expertly designed and explores a range of Jewish thoughts and ideas. It is open to all Jewish levels and fosters long term friendships and connections.
As an educator, one of my highlights was seeing the enjoyment in the girls’ eyes when they participated in the lessons. I have loved being a part of this journey with these special girls and helping them strengthen their Jewish connection. I feel confident my journey with them has not ended here and our friendship will continue for years to come! I highly recommend this program and I’m proud to be a part of UJEB.”
Rivka Luftig, Bat Mitzvah teacher 2020
“A wonderful program with a great mix of education and fun that gave our daughter a deeper understanding of her Jewish heritage and connections with other Jewish girls.”
Kerina Alter, parent, 2019
“I would highly recommend the UJEB Bat Mitzvah program. It’s warm, educational and inspiring. It shows the children that there is more than one way to be Jewish and allows for everyone to feel proud of their Jewish heritage. A wonderful program for all!”
Amelia Kalifa, parent, 2019
“The program was perfect for our family, covering so many different aspects. It helped our daughter develop a stronger connection to her faith and an understanding of where she has come from, while providing the opportunity to form strong bonds with other Jewish girls. She also prepared a ‘Roots Project’, something I felt she would otherwise have missed out on. The program leader couldn’t have been more kind, considerate, engaging and fun. I can highly recommend the program and believe Cara would happily do it all over again.”
Melinda Tassone, parent, 2018
“It was an incredibly inclusive and enriching program. Not only did our daughter gain a greater appreciation of her Jewish culture and heritage, she also widened her awareness and understanding of cultural diversity and social justice.”
Kim Elisha, parent, 2018
“Iliya did her Bat Mitzvah with UJEB in 2017, and loved it! We all loved sharing her journey through the year with Elke as her teacher, and a very lovely group of girls too.
During the first term she got to consider the communities in Melbourne and the wider world that are struggling, while at the same time being enriched by visiting Dandenong market and hearing a new migrant’s story.
Delving into her family history for the Roots project was deeply meaningful for her, and she spent a lot of time putting it all together, and making a precious album she’ll always keep, and that many others have enjoyed looking at as well!
She loved meeting a diverse group of women while spending time at the NCJWA too. This term added a more personal and tangible dimension to the year, as they heard from women about the journey of their life and Jewish identity.
Overall, she had really regular opportunities to think about her Jewish heritage, her amazing and diverse community, have fun, and learn and grow. So it was a significant and well-rounded experience!
The shared ceremony at the end of the year was joyful, special, and lovely to share with all the girls’ families. I loved hearing all their thoughtful speeches. Seeing Illy in front of everyone sharing her reflections on the year and her Dvar Torah was heart warming and deeply special for our whole family.
Thanks UJEB! I’ll send my son along to your Bar Mitzvah program when he’s in Grade 6!”
Andy Mia Kranz, parent, 2017
“I had to choose a Batmi program for my two girls, one year after the next. I did my research and chose UJEB. The variety and diversity of the program suited Dara, Jamie and our family. They both loved visiting new places each month and the topics were so engaging. Their teacher made the whole experience even better. She was so kind and understanding and by the end of the year the girls had formed terrific bonds. The final ceremony was perfect, giving each girl a chance to shine. What an amazing opportunity my girls had. We are so lucky to have a Batmi program like this in our community.”
Mish Arndt, parent of 2 Bat Mitzvah graduates, 2016 & 2017
“Thank you for creating such a wonderful Bat Mitzvah program! I looked around at other programs but UJEB’s program appealed to my daughter and I because of its structure: the Social Justice, Female Jewish Role Models, the Family Roots Project and the reading of the Parsha. The social justice term was a great introduction and addition to the program, as it looked at the different communities we are part of and, living in a multicultural country, we found that essential.
My daughter really enjoyed the different perspectives of Jewish women who came to chat to the girls, the opportunity to explore her own family history, and the chance to read and reflect on the parsha.
She looked forward to joining her group of girls, in the weekly classes, and got along well with them, not having known anyone at the start. She enjoyed getting to know other Jewish girls from
different schools, one with whom she is still close friends with, 4 years on. She enjoyed all the activities and still recounts experiences from her Bat Mitzvah program days.
The afternoon tea, at the closure of the program, was very special as each girl delivered a short speech encompassing their experience and learnings and joined in a hora, experiencing the traditional way to celebrate a simcha. The focus was on the girls, their learning and being part of a community.
We are so glad she had the opportunity to be part of such an enriching program – thanks UJEB!”
Miru Iser-Lau, parent, 2016
“Sienna graduated from this program with some wonderful new Jewish friends. She has also developed a stronger social and moral compass and now has a deeper understanding of our family history and Jewish life. With all this knowledge I am certain she will become a conscious, confident and courageous young Jewish woman. We are so grateful to UJEB for providing Sienna with this wonderful experience.”
Nicole Brittain, parent, 2016
“Thank you so much for creating such an excellent program and for teaching Zara and Asha things they would never have otherwise had the opportunity to learn. For teaching them pride to be a Jewish woman. Thank you for conducting (in front and behind the scenes) such a warm, smooth-running, joyous, heartfelt and unpretentious ceremony and simcha.”
Michelle Eisen, parent of 2 Bat Mitzvah graduates, 2015 & 2016
“What a beautiful ceremony. I was really proud of Maya and very impressed with all the girls. Maya had a lovely year which has sustained her interest. She told me she would recommend this program to future participants.”
Helen Freeman, parent, 2015
“The program offered our daughter a positive insight into the Jewish community spirit and introduced her to her own family stories and history. With a small group, she interacted each week with girls from different schools. Our daughter has had a truly enriching experience.”
Leonie Wittner-Ermer, parent, 2014
We aim to achieve this through our 4 key Values:
Our programs support learners in exploring and understanding their Jewish identity. We hope to foster a feeling of connection to Jewish life and Israel.
The quality educational experiences provided aim to create curious and passionate learners who are engaged with their Jewish identity.
Program participants can begin establishing a lifelong connection and commitment not only to their local Jewish community, but to the wider, global Jewish community.
We strongly believe that all Jews have a right to learn about their Jewish identity. We aim to create programs that cater to those with special needs, and programs that are affordable to all.