Clear As Mud

Zeesy’s Bas Mitzvah

Back in May, when Chaim and I sat down to begin thinking

about Zeesy’s Bas Mitzvah, we wanted it to reflect who Zeesy

is. Zeesy is that girl who from an incredibly early age loved art,

coloring, painting; she has a creative soul that makes

everything around her more bright, more picturesque, more

vivid. So, we decided on Zeesy’s Garden as the theme for this

Simcha, to bring us all together to celebrate Zeesy’s

appreciation for the Garden of Life.

You see, Zeesy entered the world back in 2010. From day one

she was unique in her development, her cognition, her way of

learning. Yet, Zeesy, through incredible work and determination

has not only made lemonade out of lemons, but has shown us

that lemons are a beautiful, tasteful, mouthwatering fruit that

adds so much flavor and pleasure to the simplicity and

monotony of life. Zeesy doesn’t spend her days bemoaning her

lot in life, focusing on the fact that she may be different, quite

the contrary, she lives it up, celebrating each day, each

moment, each human interaction, each teacher, each

classmate, each life experience, as something positive,

inspiring, delightful, and upbeat.

Every flower in a garden is special. It grows in a unique style, it

is nurtured and watered according to its needs, its

colors are distinctive; each flower adds so much to the garden

of life. Years ago, we took Chaya and Zeesy to Butchart

Gardens in Victoria, on Vancouver Island. It was mind blowing.

So warm, so attractive, so colorful, it wasn’t world renowned

because all the flowers looked the same and were alike, what

made it special was the diversity of flowers, each embedded

with a G-d spark that made it stand out to be a gorgeous

creation in its own right.

Zeesy is the queen of our community garden because she lives

life with the attitude of appreciating each moment as a special

flower. Sure, she has her moments with siblings and friends,

not every day is easy and smooth sailing, but you got to see

Zeesy about 15 minutes after waking up each morning: She

thanks G-d for life, washes Negel Vasser, which is the

traditional purification of hands, she drinks her special

breakfast shake, gets her meds, and before you know it, she’s

bouncing toward the door to have another awesome day at

school. Today is music, today is library, today is therapy before

school with Hannah, today I have Hebrew learning with Zissel,

today I am going to have a call with Shana. She is a breath of

fresh air: she is a beacon of optimism and positivity.

Our dear Rebbe of blessed memory, even well into his ninth

decade, would stand each Sunday giving out dollars to

encourage charity and kindness. Some Sundays he would stand

for as long as eight hours without interruption. Once, an elderly

woman could not contain herself and burst out “Rebbe, How

do you do it How is it that you do not tire?”

The Rebbe smiled and replied: “Every soul is a diamond. Can

one grow tired of counting diamonds?”

Zeesy epitomizes this concept. Always seeing others as sparking

gems, with the most positive of outlooks. She sees everyone as

amazing and delightful.

I hope that when I grow up, I can be like Zeesy too 🙂

I wish Zeesy a hearty Mazal Tova and bless her

with all our Rebbe’s Brachos that G-d grant her all that her heart

desires to continue being blooming flower to our Bozeman community and way beyond.

May you have the inner strength to teach the world

that challenges aren’t an excuse for a lazy or boring life, but one

that inspires us to greater heights and to change the world for the better.


Noah has cooked in a variety of kitchens and has studied many different cuisines, but his favorite meals to prepare are the ones that make his guests smile. Be it Thai, Italian, Caribbean or Latin, there is always a fun surprise waiting for you at meal time. Noah welcomes special requests and guests in his kitchen! Just stop by and say hi.

Yocheved Sidof is a social entrepreneur, psycho-mystical depth work facilitator, writer, educator, speaker, and activist. After a decade as a filmmaker and photographer, she founded Lamplighters Yeshivah, a grassroots, internationally acclaimed, progressive Chassidic Montessori school. Yocheved builds communities with healing at the center. Most recently, she founded Ohm’ek, an intentional collective focusing on meditation, embodied mysticism, and micro-retreats.

A lifelong learner, she’s completed extensive training in adaptive leadership, therapeutic coaching, and systemic change. She is currently in a two-year intensive training with Thomas Hubl, studying psycho-somatic-mystical models of healing personal, collective, and ancestral trauma. She also writes, consults, works 1:1 with clients, facilitates group transformational work, and regularly teaches Jewish spiritual studies.

Yocheved sits on boards supporting innovations in mental health awareness and self-transformation. She has studied Jewish mysticism and meditation extensively, including with Rav Katz since 2018, completing Elevation Teacher Training and sitting on his advisory board for over a year.

Yocheved, her husband, and five children live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Come say “Hi!” if you’re in the neighborhood.