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Dvar Torah - Mia Kerzner

My Torah portion is a double-portion called Matot and Masei and they are the last two portions in the fourth book of the Torah. In these portions there are a lot of things that come up like the laws about vows, wartime and more . It was the time that the main leaders of the Israelites came to the end of their careers. Moses knows that he will not lead the Israelites into the Promised land. There is a big change of leadership because Moses does not lead the Israelites into the promised land and nor will his brother Aaron and sister Miriam. There is the story of the daughters of Tzlofchad who challenge the laws of inheritance to include women as heirs to their parents’ property.

One of the verses that caught my attention was the one that says, “You shall not defile the land in which you live.” This said to me that you should not destroy the land that you live in. I am worried about the way that human beings are not guarding the Earth. There is pollution in the water and on the land, animals are becoming extinct, people are cutting down rainforests, and wars are ripping apart people and the earth. We can see the effects of Climate Change all around us. Coral dries out, fires rage out of control and the Earth is getting hotter.

These are huge issues, and for me the one that is most in front of me is the way that we treat our animals. Rhinos are being hunted for their horn and becoming endangered. Mass farming with GMO products is not good for animals and not good for us.

I am very passionate about the way that we treat our pets. I am very grateful for organisations like the WWF that do such great work and right near me in Hout Bay there is DARG that helps to look after abandoned pets. For my mitzvah project, I volunteered for the Woof Project, playing with dogs and helping to get them adopted by loving homes. I hope that everyone here would support them and their work.

Today I am celebrating my bat mitzvah, when I become a Jewish adult. This is when I take on the responsibilities of adult life, getting involved in my community and helping my parents. I am starting to make challah every Friday with my mom in preparation for Shabbat. I am going to keep doing projects that help pets get homes and encourage everyone to do that too.


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