SIMCHAS   25/11/16

Grandma was in Tabitha's thoughts

Tabitha Grace Gibson had her family firmly fixed in her mind when she celebrated her batmitzvah on Shabbat at the Harrogate Hebrew Congregation.

The elder daughter of Amanda and Scott Gibson, Tabitha lives in Knaresborough where she attends King James High School.

The avid reader, who has a sister Imogen, was the only one in her year group of 250 students last year to receive "the million words award" every term - indicating how much she was reading.

Tabitha's love of books and her tendency to become absorbed into stories certainly came in useful when preparing her d'var Torah. "Vayera is the longest parsha in the entire Torah," she explained.

"With 7,862 Hebrew letters, it's over one-third longer than some other parts of the Torah, such as Terumah."

One theme in Vayera that impressed her was about family.

"This demonstrates just how important family is in the eyes of Jewish law," Tabitha explained.

It also made her think of her grandmother, Ruth Leslie, a staunch Harrogate WIZO member, who died this year.

It was Ruth who suggested that her granddaughter mark her batmitzvah at the shul where Ruth and husband Brian were so involved.

Tabitha said: "I hope grandma could see all her friends and family there in the shul that she loved so much, and that she is pleased that we chose to hold my batmitzvah on the same weekend as her stone-setting.

"My grandma was very central to my simcha, even if she was not there in person."

© 2016 Jewish Telegraph