Mazel Tov – Sea Shul Celebrates First Community Bat Mitzvah


Sea Shul, the Jewish congregation based in Seaside and the first Jewish congregation in Walton County, proudly hosted its inaugural Bat Mitzvah on April 6, marking a significant milestone in Hebrew education for the community. Formed in 2023, Sea Shul aims to provide a warm, welcoming synagogue experience in this picturesque seaside town.

“The Bat Mitzvah of Daisy Uhlfelder is a proud moment that showcases the essence of Sea Shul — a beautiful blend of personal growth and communal solidarity,” said Emily Askinazi, director of Sea Shul. “Gathering at the Chapel at Seaside, we were reminded of the strong bonds that tie us together and the support we offer one another.” 

The celebration began with a heartfelt service at The Chapel at Seaside, where Daisy was called to the Torah, with Rabbi Joshua Lesser officiating. Assisted with the gracious loan of a Torah scroll from neighboring congregation Temple Beth Shalom, the Sea Shul’s founder had the honor of leading the first aliyah before the Torah reading.

After the two-hour morning service concluded, the congregation and guests gathered in the Seaside Assembly Hall for a brunch, which included Hamotzi, the blessing over challah and wine. The Bat Mitzvah was a day filled with tradition and joy for the entire congregation. 

As the festivities moved to the Lyceum Lawn that evening, guests enjoyed a dance party under a princess-style tent. Like Daisy, many of the young adult guests were students at Seaside Neighborhood School, Florida’s oldest operating charter school and recently named the No. 1 Combination Charter School in the State of Florida, and attending their first Bat Mitzvah celebration. The 8th-grade boys even lifted the chair for the Horah.

“The Bat Mitzvah was awesome!” said Sullivan Stubley, a friend of Daisy’s and an 8th-grade student at Seaside Neighborhood School. “I wish we had one every weekend. It was one of the best parties I’ve ever attended and I enjoyed learning about the Jewish traditions.”

This event also highlighted a full-circle moment for the founders of our Seaside community.

“My parents, Robert and Daryl, dreamed of creating an inclusive community in Seaside and had the foresight to make the chapel an interfaith gathering place,” said Micah Davis, president of Seaside Community Development Corp. “To see that vision come to life with Sea Shul’s integration into the community, and now celebrating our first Bat Mitzvah and Shabbat morning service is truly a blessing not only to our community, but also to our family.”

As Sea Shul looks forward to hosting more such milestones, this event underscores its role in enriching the lives of its congregation members and fortifying the bonds within the greater community. 

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