accomplishments · Jewish · reading · slice of life

Yasher Kocheich

At the end of the final leg of “The Amazing Race,” host Phil Keoghan says something like:

(insert number of continents/countries), (insert number of cities), (insert number of miles), you are the official winners of The Amazing Race.

I started tearing up as Isabelle neared her Torah portion’s final verse. Isabelle chanted her entire Torah portion, without vowels, aloud to me for the first time this afternoon. While I’ve been working with her on all of the parts of it, this was the first time she chanted it from start to finish. I was verklempt.

I wanted to be like Phil and say to her:

Isabelle. You’ve learned 18 prayers, 3 sections of your parsha from the Torah, and have triumped over a Dyslexia diagnosis while doing it. You are ready to become a Bat Mitzvah!

But I knew Isabelle wouldn’t handle my kvelling well. Instead, I gave her a big hug, several kisses on the head, and said, “Yasher Kocheich. You did it. It took you less than two months to master your Torah portion. You are ready.”

She scoffed and pushed me away.

Chanting her parsha!

“Look at me,” I said.

Isabelle gave me the side-eye.

“Please look at me,” I asked.

With eyes bulging, Isabelle stared at me and said, “I’m looking at you.”

“You did it! You’re ready. Why won’t you let me be proud of you?”

“I’m not done,” she said.

“But you are. You learned all of the prayers and your Torah portion. You don’t have to practice daily anymore. Three times a week will be more than enough for the next few months.”

But she stomped off to get a snack.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I still have to work on that thing,” she replied.

“What thing?” I asked.

“That thing I have to say,” she replied disdainfully.

“Your D’var Torah? That’s not a big deal. It’s a couple of minutes long. Rabbi Jack will work with you on that, and Rabbi Stacey will help.”

“It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be a lot of work.”

“And you will get it done, just like everything else. It’s short, no more than a couple of minutes long. You’re going to get it done.”

Isabelle made a face at me, grabbed herself a snack, and sat down at the table. Her reaction made me realize that even though I thought she had reached the finish line, she doesn’t see herself as there yet. Close, but not on the mat like the contestants on “The Amazing Race.” Perhaps, once she crafts her D’var Torah, she’ll feel finished. Or maybe it’ll be at the end of the service when we wrap up by singing “Hatikvah.” Only time will tell. But in the meantime, I AM SO PROUD OF MY DAUGHTER!

Head over to Two Writing Teachers for more slice of life stories.

14 thoughts on “Yasher Kocheich

  1. What a remarkable accomplishment! She is really dedicated to what she is doing – I think she is like the artist who wants to unveil at the point of final reveal, the winemaker who will not taste of the wine until time. And we moms, the cheerleading encouragers, want to rally alongside our daughters…..and they don’t always see us beaming as they should. Hang in there – what a fabulous post with such incredible dialogue!

  2. I like how you compared her task at hand to The Amazing Race (a favorite show of mine). I also like how you included your daughter’s perspective, so often different from a mother’s . And you are so right to celebrate and be proud. Hang in there. Parenting teenage girls is a delicate dance.

    1. She isn’t even a teenager yet and I can already feel that delicate dance starting.
      BTW: The four of us watch “The Amazing Race” together. I about died after the first episode I watched with the kids since there were some curse words in there. We don’t swear in front of the kids so I just dummied-up and pretended I didn’t hear them. My non-reaction has worked through the past two seasons. I haven’t heard them mutter hell, shit, or ass yet. (I’m sure that’s coming.) So, given that we ignore it, it’s become our favorite show to watch together.

  3. It is great to be able to be proud of our children and wise to watch what they are feeling. An amazing job by her and yet I can feel in your writing that she still see the work before her. She is learning so much! Congrats Mom!

    1. Sitting beside Isabelle when she decodes Hebrew is fascinating. I’m a literacy specialist, not a reading specialist, but I know about miscue analysis and what she reads (when it doesn’t match the print) the first time is interesting. She mixes up the vowels and a couple of the letters, but she’s worked diligently to overcome it.

  4. Even though she may not have responded with matching pride, I am sure she still soaked in what you said and this will give her additional strength. I love how you shout out for Isabelle in the end of the slice.

    1. She met with her Bat Mitzvah tutor yesterday afternoon who was so proud of her for mastering all of it. I think it sunk in after Isabelle showed her tutor what she accomplished.

  5. You always capture Isabelle so accurately – the strong teenage girl with her own ideas – but yet in need of her mother’s unfailing love. Can’t wait to read more of her accomplishments! YAY Isabelle!

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