When Ariel Dori decided to create something that would show his daughter how awesome and important it is to become a bas mitzvah, he had no idea that he would be creating a sought-after song that would reach hundreds and hundreds of bas mitzvah girls.
Mr. Dori stated, “Becoming a bas mitzvah often seems to take a back seat to its older brother, the bar mitzvah, despite being a big deal for Jewish girls. I wanted my daughters to know that the transition from a non-obligated mitzvah girl to an obligated mitzvah woman should be just as fun and exciting as it is serious.”
He shared how the idea of the song took flight. “I had heard the song ‘Hall of Fame’ by the Script, featuring Will I Am, and had always felt that song would be perfect to grapple with and turn into something my oldest daughter and her friends could relate to. And so, in preparation for Shira’s 2019 bas mitzvah, I decided to write lyrics that pertain to becoming a bas mitzvah. Our entertainer had graciously agreed to develop a karaoke version of my lyrics to the tune, and helped me put it up on a jumbo screen for everyone to follow along as I performed it live. The feedback was unexpectedly positive, so much so that several guests had suggested I work toward publicizing the song, noting others in a similar transition might benefit. Because Shira’s bas mitzvah was a week before the Yamim Nora’im, I didn’t have time to consider the idea. Then Covid hit a few months later and the whole idea was tabled.”
A couple of years later, their family was preparing for his second daughter Rina’s bas mitzvah. “We decided to re-watch Shira’s bas mitzvah video, and the feedback I had previously received came flooding back.” He sought a way to professionally record and even shoot a video for the initial song. His motivation was a tribute to Shira, his oldest daughter, and a bas mitzvah gift to Rina and her friends.
He shared his process. “Being unfamiliar with the music business, I began contacting Jewish artists via social media to see if anyone might respond. After some suggestions and quite a few failed attempts in reaching people and hearing back, I had come across a post by Lenny Solomon, former lead singer of Shlock Rock, on Facebook. I decided to reach out and, within minutes, received a response. After pitching my idea to him, he was nice enough to set up a call with me from Israel and agreed the idea had potential. He referred me to a producer whom he had used in the Tri-State Area, and after a some back and forth, story boarding, prop preparation, and a few meetings to record, shoot, and edit, ‘Hall of Fame – Bat Mitzvah Song’ was born.”
The song was first posted after Tish’ah B’Av this year on YouTube. He dedicated it to all the bas mitzvah girls. With essentially no publicity, the song has received over 500 views.
The video with Ariel and his daughters is heartwarming and inspiring. The original song has poignant lyrics. Here is just a snippet: “Standing in the Hall of Fame. Your neshamah is the greatest flame. The world’s gonna know your name.” Towards the end of the song, it says, “Be a tzelem Elokim, be humble, be honest, be a talmidah, be modest.” It shows the girls performing mitzvos and the tone is both light and regal.
The last scene in the video shows Mr. Dori wearing a t-shirt that says “Proud Dad” as he’s hugging his daughters.
Ariel Dori is a Queens native: born in Forest Hills, raised in Jamaica Estates, and had lived in Kew Gardens Hills for the past 17 years until his family recently ventured out of the city into West Hempstead this past summer. The move was bittersweet, as they have strong ties to KGH, and certainly Jamaica Estates. However, the West Hempstead community has been so welcoming to them, and they look forward to building new memories as they treasure old ones.
Mr. Dori related, “My goal is for anyone who sees the video to feel good and hopeful as we wrap up our holiday season and head into the long and cold winter months.”
“Hall of Fame – Bat Mitzvah song” can be found on YouTube. It’s a beautiful tribute to becoming a bas mitzvah.
By Susie Garber