American Bat Mitzvah Girl Shares her Celebration with 13 Israeli Orphans

“Thou shalt not pervert the justice due to the stranger, or to the fatherless; nor take the widow’s raiment to pledge.” Deuteronomy 24:17 (The Israel Bible™)

What began as one American girl’s first trip to Israel blossomed into a shared Bat Mitzvah party when Kayla Muchnick invited Israeli orphans to join her celebration.

Before her Bat Mitzvah, Kayla had never been to Israel. She had learned about the Land through books and classes, saw photos and heard stories from friends, but she had never had the chance to visit. So with the upcoming momentous occasion, her parents decided to do something unique to celebrate.

With plans under way for the trip, Kayla came up with an idea to make the occasion even more special. Said her mother Erica, “We thought it would be wonderful to visit Israel and make a bat mitzvah celebration here…together with other girls becoming bat mitzvah.”

Kayla Muchnick (pictured in the purple shirt) stands with fellow bat mitzvah girls from Beit Elazraki (Photo: Paint Party Events)
Kayla Muchnick (pictured in the purple shirt) stands with fellow bat mitzvah girls from Beit Elazraki (Photo: Paint Party Events)

Erica then made a connection with a family friend, Yehuda Kohn, the director Beit Elazraki, a children’s home located in Netanya that provides shelter, food, and love to well over 200 Israeli children. The majority of these children come from homes where domestic violence, severe poverty, and neglect are the norm. The warm staff is comprised of therapists, teachers, activity coordinators, counselors, and a house mother and father, all of whom lovingly dedicate their lives to the youth who have been entrusted to their care.

When Erica spoke to Kohn, he told her “how they help children in difficult family situations – children who might not have things that we take for granted.” When Erica told her daughter about the orphanage, Kayla “wished to share [her Bat Mitzvah] with girls from Beit Elazraki”.

Kayla “is passionate about art” so her family wanted to incorporate that into the theme of the Bat Mitzvah experience to make it “even more memorable and fun for all the bat mitzvah girls.” That was when Kohn proposed the idea of doing “something different and unique”.

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The activity of choice for this very special Bat Mitzvah? A painting party. With a technique similar to the Paint Nite craze that’s sweeping America, Paint Party Events travels all over Israel to bring painting parties to men, women, and children of all ages for all occasions.

Nina Brenner, the mastermind behind the company, heard from Erica shortly thereafter to see if she would be available to bring a paint party to the Muchnick family and some of the children at Beit Elazraki. When asked to describe her feelings about being contacted by Erica, Nina told Breaking Israel News, “I was very excited to be a part of the vision that [Erica] had, which was being able to give these girls an experience…to enjoy themselves through a whole evening of painting.”

When the Muchnicks first entered the room, Nina recounted, “all the [orphan] girls stood and clapped,” and went over to the family to express their gratitude with hugs, singing, and emotional thank you’s.

Kayla Muchnick (wearing a purple shirt) paints with children from Beit Elazraki. (Photo: Paint Party Events)
Kayla Muchnick (wearing a purple shirt) paints with children from Beit Elazraki. (Photo: Paint Party Events)

The evening lasted for several hours as 13 orphaned girls, six of whom were of bat mitzvah age themselves, painted, laughed, ate dinner and had fun with Kayla and her family.

What made the event even more special for each girl was the knowledge that she was going to keep the painting that she created: a constant reminder of an extraordinary night.

“It was a beautiful experience. What a special family that they would do something like this,” Nina told Breaking Israel News.

Said Erica of her daughter: “We are very proud of her for choosing an experience that is both meaningful to her and that she can share with others.”