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Thirteen Years in the Making

Liya is taking a well-deserved night off from blogging tonight after an incredible day. Your guest bloggers are the proud parents of a newly minted Bat Mitzvah. With poise and confidence Liya led us in an awe inspiring service. If we could choose one word to describe today, we’d choose “magical” - and we hope the photos below capture just some of that magic.

From a distance, it can be hard to understand how Israel, a tiny piece of land in such a complex part of the world, can evoke such a deep sense of pride in being Jewish. And that’s exactly why we’ve traveled here - we wanted our family to see and experience the beauty of this country, the tenacity and ingenuity of its people, and the rich Jewish traditions that have been passed on from generation to generation.

Today, Liya led us in prayer on the grounds of a synagogue that was first built during the 6th century and later collapsed in an earthquake 200 years later. When the building was recently rediscovered, the stone ark was miraculously found left in tact — and it served as an amazing setting for today’s special day.

Ein Keshatot may be a little off the beaten path and a far cry from a social hall in Bethesda, Maryland — but we believe there could be no better backdrop for Liya’s bat mitzvah. This ancient synagogue tells our story - it is the story of the Jewish people. It is a reminder that Zionism is not only about creating the future, but it is also about our deep and unwavering commitment to preserving our history. It is because of this history that our generation is here and that we are able to dream big and to work hard for future generations.

Following the ceremony, we celebrated and danced at an amazing restaurant in the Golan. And because we're Saratovsky's - we ended the day with a fascinating geo-political Jeep tour of the Israeli-Syrian border.

Liya couldn’t have made us more proud and we are glad we can give you a little glimpse into our experience. We leave northern Israel tomorrow and head to Jerusalem, where Jews have celebrated Shabbat for over two thousand years.

Love, Kari and Elias

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Taryn Baranowski
Taryn Baranowski
13 jul 2023

All of your Houston crew is proud of you sweet Liya! Mazel Tov on this accomplishment to you and the whole Saratovsky crew!

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