Are you new to this blog?

Welcome to Midlife Bat Mitzvah!

I became an adult Bat Mitzvah in February 2011, at the age of 53 at Temple Sinai in Oakland, Calif.

I started this blog about 15 months before that to chronicle not just my Bat Mitzvah process but also the other transitions I was facing — changing careers, watching my teenage daughter move from kid to young adult, undertaking the challenge of writing and publishing a novel.

My Bat Mitzvah service is over, but I’m continuing to write about Judaism, fiction writing and publishing, midlife, family and other random stuff.

For more about my Bat Mitzvah journey, check out some of the early posts explaining what I believe and why I decided to become an adult Bat Mitzvah.

Here are links to some of them:

In the beginning (my first post)

Bat Mitzvah Barbie (the tallit as partial inspiration to become a Bat Mitzvah)

Oh God, Part 1 (my thoughts on what God is NOT)

Oh God, Part 2

Oh God, Part 3 (why an atheist is becoming a Bat Mitzvah)

Meanwhile, thanks for finding and reading this blog! I encourage you to subscribe by email or RSS if you like it, so that future entries come automatically to your electronic doorstep. (Click on the “subscribe” button on the right side of this page.)

I also encourage you to add your comments. I have some really great, thoughtful commenters and would love to count you among them.




15 Responses to “Are you new to this blog?”

  1. Sarah Singer Says:

    Ms. Debare, I am a freelance writer with Washington Jewish Week, the DC area’s Jewish newspaper. I’ve been assigned to do a story on b’nai mitzvah blogs. I’d like to interview you by telephone to talk with you about your unique blog. Please let me know if you are available and interested. Thanks, in advance, for your consideration.

  2. laurawrites1 Says:

    Dear Ilana,

    I have followed this blog from time to time. I am also the mother of a daughter, I also write a blog and made a few entries, leading up to and following October 31, 2010 when I celebrated my Bat Mitzvah. Good luck with yours– I hope you find it as rich and interesting as I did– and would love to have you read blog from time to time. and

    Good luck– and Mazel tov


  3. Yossi Mandel Says:

    Ilana, thanks for backing me up on BookEnds blog about NYC. Opinions go very well with company.

    Mazel Tov on the Bat Mitzvah, and may it be ongoing – “strength to strength”!

    Now I follow the Jewish custom – at least my Jewish custom – of holding breath and diving in to read all your blog posts from the beginning.

    • Ilana DeBare Says:

      Welcome, and I’m delighted you found my blog! I took a quikc look at your web site and it seems you have a novel manuscript? (which makes sense with your hanging out on BookEnds) If you wan tto share anything about your own writing, I’d love to hear.

  4. Yossi Mandel Says:

    Not yet – my novel somehow morphed to a screenplay. Definitely plan on writing about it. And plan on writing novels as well.

  5. Ellis Shuman Says:

    Hello Ilana,

    I’m another new visitor to your blog and have enjoyed the first visit. I also have a novel in the works, having previously self-published a collection of short stories.

    I will be back again!

    • Ilana DeBare Says:

      Hi Ellis, and welcome! Congrats on the short story collection — please share the name, and where it can be found for sale on the web. How far along with the novel are you?

      • Ellis Shuman Says:

        My short story collection is linked from my blog, which is linked from my signature here.

        My novel is in advanced stages of editing and revisions, a process which seems to never end!

    • Ilana DeBare Says:

      Also, Ellis — don’t know if you’ve seen my posts on Squaw Valley, but I recently attended the Squaw Valley Conference of Writers. It was wonderful. Worth looking into if you are seeking input on your work and general discussions of the art/craft of writing. I have a couple of posts earlier this month that include some of the things I learned.

  6. 50states50epicrides Says:

    Hi Ilana! I got your blog site from Hana Antoninova, our Czech guide from Greenways on our biking trip last week from Vienna to Prague. We had an amazing time with Hana and she wanted to share your trip from last year with us.
    I loved your blog post about the trip; it really brought everything alive for us. You are a creative writer and my husband Larry and I enjoyed your post.
    We have a lot in common! I am a 52 year old mother, bicyclist and writer. Like you, I had a bat mitzvah at a non traditional age. Mine was at 28 while I was 6 months pregnant with my son! I like to tell people that I was pregnant at my bat mitzvah and watch their eyes widen, and I can hear them thinking, Wow, who knew Cindy was such a player back at 13 years old?
    Larry and I have a bicycling blog at:
    We have a goal to bicycle in all 50 states; we’ve done 32 so far, Maine will be our 33 state in 2 weeks.
    If would scroll down to last year, we even wrote up our bicycling trip to Israel. Although not technically one of our 50 states, we just had such a great time on that trip we wrote about it for our blog. Check it out if you would like to read about biking in Israel.
    And, (I can hear Larry now, even though he is not home, Cindy, stop making people, my God, a complete stranger!, read your blogs!) I have a running blog as well. The reason I bring this up (other then wanting people to read my writing) is that I just blogged about a run I had on the Czech bicycling trip in Trebon. It’s at:
    Keep bicycling, it’s a great way to see our country and the world!
    And good luck on getting your novels published, I am in the same boat and hope to be published soon!
    Cindy Oppenheimer Bishop

    • Ilana DeBare Says:

      Hi Cindy. Wasn’t Hana terrific? I’m impressed that after a week of biking your legs were able to take you running. :-) My husband runs, although I don’t due to bad knees. A few years ago, we were in Amalfi (Italy), where the hills come right down to the sea and are steeply terraced with all kinds of fruit trees, grapes etc. and footpaths/stairs through the orchards from town to town. Sam went out running — he was going along through an orchard, and there was an old guy up on a ladder who started waving and yelling at him, and he was sure he was in trouble for trespassing or something, but he went over and the old man gave him an armful of ripe plums. :-)

      Nice post on Trebon.

      How far along are you with your novels? Completed drafts? Do you have an agent? etc. etc.


  7. John Novick Says:

    If the US in two years using centrifuges from the 1940’s can make enough U 235 to make a bomb why can’t Iran with new modern equipment and 10 not make enough. They don’t want to. They just want to create mischief to keep the price of oil up

  8. shaul mualem Says:

    HI Ilana.
    My name is Shaul Mualem.
    I’m a designer from Jerusalem.
    I saw a photo you took of the western wall (kotel) and i realy liked.
    i wanna ask you if i can use this photo for a new product i’m working on.Yhank you

  9. What Does a Cantor Do? – Coffee Shop Rabbi Says:

    […] adult who learned to chant Torah from Cantor Ilene Keys of Temple Sinai, Oakland. What I love about Ilana DeBare’s account is that she gives a good description of how that process works, how many different ways of […]

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