I felt it would be a meaningful experience to learn about and remember a child who sadly died during the Holocaust before she had the chance to have a Bat Mitzvah
Hi. My name is Racheli and I had a Zoom Bat Mitzvah due to coronavirus. At first, I was very upset because I thought I wouldn’t have the full Bat Mitzvah experience. But as the event got closer, I realised that it would still be as special as it would have been if we weren’t in quarantine as I would still be celebrating it with my family and friends.
My parents suggested that for my Bat Mitzvah, I honoured the memory of a victim of the Holocaust. I wanted to do this because I felt it would be a meaningful experience to learn about and remember a child who sadly died during the Holocaust before she had the chance to have a Bat Mitzvah.
The girl that I was twinned with was called Rakhel Shantzig. She was born in Bialystok, Poland in 1933. She had to go to a ghetto in Bialystok when the Nazis took over and then went to Treblinka death camp and died in the gas chambers. She was 11-years old. Her mother’s first name was Raya and her father’s name was Nakhum.
I then compared my time being trapped in my house during the lockdown with her being trapped in the ghetto. Of course, there was a massive difference between the two experiences. One of the differences was that I was trapped in my house for a good reason, which was to not get ill and Rakhel was trapped in a ghetto for no good reason, simply because she was Jewish. So, unlike me, Rakhel was not put into her home to be protected, but to be hurt.
It makes me feel lucky to be alive at this point in time and to be able to be openly Jewish and pray freely.
To keep Rakhel’s memory alive, I will be lighting a candle for her every Yom HaShoah so as to honour the short time she had on this earth.