Ohio Woman, 96, Will Have Her Bat Mitzvah

October 11, 2009

Author: Mark Curnutte

Source: The Post-Standard

Wire Service: AP


Jewish girls rarely had a bat mitzvah ceremony when Helen Kaplan came of age in Price Hill.

But 84 years after she turned 12, the age that girls receive more rights and responsibilities in Judaism, Kaplan will have her bat mitzvah Oct. 15 in her religion's holiest of places - Jerusalem.

The ceremony for Kaplan, now 96, and eight of her fellow residents at Cedar Village retirement home will be the centerpiece of a 10-day trip to Israel that begins Oct. 12.

The extent of Kaplan's travels took her from her native Price Hill to Westwood and Amberley Village before she settled in the Mason facility.

"My first trip, I am so excited," said the widowed mother of five children, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. "I'm going to the land of my people."

The pilgrimage brings closer an already tight Cedar Village community - resident and staff, Jew and Christian, white and black. Fifteen staff members and one family member will accompany the residents, some traveling to the Jewish state for the first time so late in life.