Last Shabbat, 14-year-old Sofia Reisman became a Bat Mitzvah. The ceremony at the JCC in Getzville was live-streamed and only immediate family and few close family friends were able to gather. “At first, I was kind of upset as I was always looking forward to that weekend, but seeing what COVID-19 has done put it all in perspective for me. In the end, I wasn’t disappointed and just happy to be able to celebrate this momentous event even if most of the people weren’t with me in person. And, it was so meaningful for me to get to read from the Torah.”
Sofia is an 8th grader at the Park School. Like everyone her age, going to school during COVID-19 has been different. “At Park, we all wear masks, get our temperature checked each morning – pretty normal now. But we have been able to meet every day in person and that makes me happy.” Sofia loves being at Park and enjoys everything about her school day. Outside of school, Sofia is engaged in the Jewish community both through TBAZY – the youth group at Temple Beth Zion – as well as teen leadership through CJEL, the Center for Jewish Engagement and Learning.
Sofia has many passions but perhaps the most prominent is her love of sports. “I’m a major fan, “she says with a big smile. “I’m passionate about sports in general but what I really love is to hang out with my friends, play football and watch Bills games together. We’ve been watching the games outside these days because of COVID. These guys are my closest friends.”
Sofia is also passionate about social justice and politics. She took a keen interest in the recent election and invested a great deal of time learning about the candidates and the electoral process. And how ironic, that when Sofia was called up to the Torah on her Bat Mitzvah Day, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were declared winners of the Presidential election. “When my Mom told me, I was so excited. This was insane! I then told my grandmother the news and she cried. I almost cried too.”
Sofia Reisman is a regular Buffalo teen figuring it all out during a pandemic: she loves hanging out with her friends, enjoys school and loves her Buffalo Bills. And she will always remember Saturday morning, November 7, 2020 at around 11:15 AM when she began to read from the Torah in the Lippman Lounge of the JCC’s Benderson Building. Not only was she surrounded by the love of family and hundreds watching her from the comfort of their homes, but after a contentious election, Joe Biden officially was declared the 46th President of the United States. And on top of that, the next afternoon her beloved Buffalo Bills beat the Seattle Seahawks in what will be remembered as a signature win. “I know,” she said, “It was surreal. And I predicted the Bills would win by 10. I knew Josh (Allen) would have a great day.”