Jewish Press of Tampa

Joyful bat mitzvah story marred by ageism

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

I never thought I would live through times such as these, where I truly feel both the pandemic and the political climate I have lived with these last four plus years have knocked the wind from my sails. I am writing to address another topic, also serious, but the attitude, sadly prevalent, is too accepted in our world.

When I saw the headline, “After long time passing, Ruth has bat mitzvah at 85,” my first thought was, “Mazel Tov, she must be a remarkable woman, because any adult who completes those studies has done something admirable.” Ms. Howard’s story brought a smile to my lips, in my living room, by myself, with my mask off, on a day when I needed it.

I must admit my smile briefly faded because Mr. Bob Fryer had written, “…she easily recalled dates and details…that showed a mind still sharp and engaging.” This about a woman who just celebrated a Bat Mitzvah! Would Mr. Fryer have dared write that about a younger adult who just celebrated a Bar Mitzvah?

Ms. Howard’s story brought a smile to my lips, in my living room, by myself, with my mask off, on a day when I needed it. For that, I am grateful.

Shelley Bowden
St. Petersburg

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