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Why do I know my Bat Mitzvah parsha? I think that’s an odd question to ask. Don’t you know yours?

I know mine because I had a big celebration when I became Bat Mitzvah and I gave a Dvar Torah in front of all my family members and friends. How did you celebrate your Bat Mitzvah? Would you be asking me this if I were a guy?

Okay, fine, here’s the “real” answer that I think you were afraid of. I wasn’t going to bring it up, but since you asked…

I leined Parshat Yitro from the Torah on the Shabbos of my Bat Mitzvah. (GASP!) You might be wondering who taught me how to lein- well, it was my mother. (DOUBLE GASP!) However, before you all start attacking me, let me explain to you that we conducted an all-female service in a separate room. Any women who were uncomfortable with it were welcome to (and did) stay in the main shul. Those women who wanted to hear me came into our room, where there were absolutely ZERO men (not even little boys. My younger brother stayed with my father in the main shul.) I read most of the parsha myself, and my mother leined the rest of it and did the Haftarah. We split up leading the davening. (And no, we did not say Kaddish or any devarim she’b’kedusha, recognizing that we did not comprise a minyan.)

I’ll be shocked if this thread does not double in size by the end of the day with long posts calling me an apikores and a reformnik. All I can say is bring them on, because we had more than adequate halachic support for what we did and I will defend it wholeheartedly to the naysayers here.

No, I’m not Sephardic, but the school I attended taught us modern Hebrew pronunciation (taf, not saf.) Call it an “accent” if you will, but I know plenty of other Ashkenazim who use the same pronunciation. You’ll notice, however, that I revert to Ashkenazic pronunciation on certain words, like Shabbos and Sukkos, because I grew up hearing people in my community pronounce them that way and it kind of stuck.