National | Religion & Jewish Life

Girl with degenerative brain disease celebrates bat mitzvah at LA hospital

(JTA) — A 12-year-old girl with a degenerative brain malformation celebrated her bat mitzvah at the Los Angeles hospital where she has spent most of her life.

Numa Beron was born with lissencephaly, which has left her unable to stand or speak. She was given three years to live, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center said in a statement.

“The Beron family are very fierce advocates for Numa,” said Dr. Gary Goulin, associate director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, who has cared for Beron for seven years. “It’s clear they just love and adore her, visiting every chance they get and taking turns spending every night with her at the hospital.”

Family, friends, former teachers and much of Beron’s Cedars-Sinai medical team attended the bat mitzvah celebration, which included unicorn balloons and decorations, rainbow cupcakes and a video compilation of Numa’s life.

A family Torah scroll was brought to the celebration, and Numa was able to put her arms around it.

“This celebration was a way to show appreciation to everyone in Numa’s life,” said Iliana Beron, her mother. “By the grace of God, we are here and celebrating this miracle and this beautiful day.”