Soon to be Valencia Reserve resident studying Hebrew for her bat mitzvah
Friday, November 26, 2010
Estelle Schoenfeld is studying hard,
preparing for her bat mitzvah in April - a Jewish coming-of-age ceremony
that is considered a big occasion for anyone. But it's extra special
for Schoenfeld because it's 53 years overdue.
suburban Boynton Beach resident said that when she was younger, most
girls weren't bat mitzvahed. It was a right-of-passage strictly for
boys. But she was tired of feeling left out when she went to temple with
"My husband and sons read Hebrew beautifully," she said. "But I couldn't read a word."
Schoenfeld joined her local Hadassah chapter last year and began
studying with a group of four other women who meet every Monday morning
and will all be bat mizvahed in a joint ceremony with Schoenfeld in
April. They range in age from 66 (Schoenfeld is the youngest in the
group) to 80.
Her husband, Ronald, has been helping her prepare
for the big day, and her two grown sons will be coming in from Colorado
and Georgia with their families for the occasion.
"My family has been incredibly supportive of my decision," she said.
goal is to attend her grandson's bar mitzvah in August and read, along
with her husband, a prayer traditionally read by grandparents.
who is originally from the Bronx borough of New York City, worked as a
middle school science teacher and later as a social worker. She and her
husband moved to Boynton Beach 14 years ago to retire. They live in the
Lakeridge Falls community, but they plan to move to Valencia Reserve
early next year.
Getting bat mitzvahed is just the beginning for
Schoenfeld, who put together a "bucket list" after seeing the movie The
Bucket List with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.
Next on her list is learning to swim - another one of those milestones she missed.
"My mother was very overprotective," she said. "One thing at a time."
What is your favorite book?
'Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
What's the best advice you've been given?
to what people say before you give them advice. Sometimes they just
want someone to vent to, and if they want advice, they'll ask for it.
Also, don't sweat the small stuff.'
What is your most prized possession?
tiny bracelet my uncle bought me when I was 5. My uncle lived in Paris
and would always bring us little trinkets when he would visit. I've been
wearing that bracelet for 60 years, although I've had to make it
larger. Every time I look at it, I think of him. He was a very good and
What are your hobbies?
'I'm a very advanced
Canasta player and I also play mahjong. I like to paint and I'm a member
of the book club at both Lakeridge Falls and Valencia Reserve.'
Who is your hero or someone who has inspired you
'My mother-in-law. She was a very giving, helpful and patient person.'