Carol Lewis Celebrates Her Bat Mitzvah at 87
SimchasBat Mitzvah

Carol Lewis Celebrates Her Bat Mitzvah at 87

The Sunrise at Huntcliff Summit resident proved it’s never too late for a memorable lifecycle event.

Carol Lewis (center) with granddaughters, Annalise Hardy (left) and Samantha Hardy.
Carol Lewis (center) with granddaughters, Annalise Hardy (left) and Samantha Hardy.

Carol Lewis, an 87-year-old resident of Sunrise at Huntcliff Summit, became a bat mitzvah on July 28. Her d’var Torah was a part of the weekly Friday night service at the independent senior living community in Sandy Springs.

Lewis grew up in New York City, where her father owned a garment factory. In her professional life, she was a pioneer in special education. She was the first teacher on Long Island to receive certification in the education specialty.

In her speech, before a congregation that filled the facility’s large, multi-purpose community room, she traced her decision to her lifelong devotion to honoring her parents.

She said that the commitment to her parents and their memory had always been a part of her life and she always worked to instill in her children, grandchildren, and a great-grandchild the same reverence for family life. The fifth commandment, to honor your parents, she said, had been a foundation principle of her life.

“My parents first introduced me to the warmth and wisdom of our Jewish faith. The reason I am sitting here before you today, is to honor them by affirming my commitment to Judaism.”

Residents of Sunrise at Huntcliff Summit filled the facility’s community room for Carol Lewis’ bat mitzvah.

In keeping with that commitment, Lewis made her own family members an important part of the ritual. Her granddaughter, Annalise Hardy, who is a second-year student at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., baked miniature braid loaves of challah that were used during the service and the kiddish afterwards. Another granddaughter, Samantha Hardy, lit the candles. Her daughter, Susan Hardy, organized the oneg afterwards, and recited the blessing over the wine during the service.

The tallit and kipah that Carol wore for the ceremony she gave to her daughter when she married and were used during her granddaughters’ bat mitzvahs.

Lewis regularly delivers a Friday night interpretation of the weekly Torah portion as part of the weekly rotation at the service by residents of Huntcliff Summit.

In her speech, she also paid tribute to all those at the retirement community who attended her special evening at the facility.

“I found, here, more than just a place to live. I discovered a welcoming and caring community,” Lewis said. “Our Friday night services reignited my passion for Jewish life and gave just me the opportunity to do something I had never had a chance to do as a young girl, but always wanted to do. I wanted to become a bat mitzvah.”

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