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ava friedrichs

Ava Friedrichs

Ava Friedrichs became a bat mitzvah on May 1. Enjoy the special words of her d’var Torah speech.

My Torah portion is called Acharei Mot, which means “after the death of”. Acharei Mot is about an unauthorized entry “into the holy”. Following the deaths of Nadav and Avihu this entry was put into place. Only one person, the kohen gadol (high priest), may enter one day a year (Yom Kippur) which is the day of atonement. One of the features of this day is the casting of lots over two goats, one to be offered to God and one to be dispatched and carry sins. Acharei Mot also warns against bringing korbanot, which are animal or meal offerings, to anywhere but the Holy Temple.

Acharei Mot shares the main idea of sacrifice. This past year, as we all know, there has been a pandemic. In my life it has forced me to sacrifice a lot. My mom has asthma, and covid was known to not be good for people with that and other illnesses. I couldn’t see most of my family including my dad. We had to eat outside or inside with the door open and be extra cautious doing things such as wearing mask, taking shoes off, washing and sanitizing and just living really differently. It was really hard not seeing my friends as well. FaceTime and Zoom was all we really had for a while and it was hard to handle. I sacrificed school because the systems just weren’t bettering our education and helping us learn. Even this day had to be postponed a whole year which was really upsetting considering I was two months away from it. I had spent everyday for the past nine months before that studying and going to meetings and just really trying to put everything together only for it to come apart. Covid has really done a lot to our lives and I think that everyone has had to sacrifice this year which was very hard and challenging. Through it all I’ve learned the value of family, friends and loved ones, and I’ve learned to adapt to difficult situations like this that will now forever be in my life.

To become a bat mitzvah I had to make the world a better place. I did that by volunteering at the AWA and helping the animals, and feeding homeless people in need. I was set up to have a bunch of sessions with the animals but didn’t get to continue with that because of Covid. However, I was able to attend the JDRF foundation to help bag food for the homeless and visit different areas where I actually got to hand people the food they needed, which was a really nice experience.

My family has been a huge part in all of this. I know sometimes we got a little chaotic especially this past month and it wasn’t always fun planning this day. But seeing everything come together made it all worth it and I had my family with me every step of the way. My mom and I have spent everyday for the past month working as hard as we both can to make this day possible. I’m so lucky that I was able to have her there to guide me and make me study.  I give her a very special thank you. I also would like to thank my cantor, Scott Borsky, for the sessions we were able to have every week. You made them so easy for me. You have been so sweet and understanding throughout this whole year and I’ve been so grateful to have you as my mentor and tutor. My friends are of course always here for me as well which is amazing to have, so thank you all for coming today. I am so lucky to have people like you in my life to guide me in the right directions and teach me lessons.


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