Jewish Journal

Ted Roberts

  • The ‘speech’: Keep it short, sweet and colloquial

    July 9, 2008 | 9:44 pm

    Trust me, there are no rules about bar or bat mitzvah speeches. As a b’nai mitzvah teacher who has spent 25 patient years coaxing, wheedling and threatening his lovable students, I promise you there are no rules about that post-haftarah speech. In fact, there are few rules about the...

  • Advertise joys of Judaism to others during simcha

    March 13, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    Bar mitzvah audiences are no longer what they used to be. No more the simple Saturday morning minyan -- a tight cluster of worshippers -- who halfway through the service are thinking of the pickled herring and egg salad to follow. Today in many synagogues, the ceremony has all the...
  • Listen, kids, and you shall hear—it ain’t gonna be easy

    September 27, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Listen my children, and you shall hear
    The bar mitzvah course that we shall steer.
    The purpose of this speech is to prepare you for your bar mitzvah. And to let you know -- as Noah thought when he received the blueprints from the Master Shipbuilder -- this ain't gonna be easy....
  • First Haircut Brings Shear Delight

    May 12, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    "Come to New Jersey," my grandaughter said, "we're having a simcha!"

    A wedding? A lottery win? She doesn't explain. Then I think, airfare $240, motel $220 and then there's expenses for my lovely wife -- hair, nails, Louie XVth gown. This will run me $962!

    I ask a dozen probing...

  • Tale of Two Schools

    September 2, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Miss Smith, my third-grade teacher at Vollentine Grammar School, stood facing the class with her arm around my shoulders. She was a large woman the size of two or three of today's fashion models, with gray hair pulled back from a ruddy, round face. All I knew of her personal life was...

  • Confessions of a Bar Mitzvah Teacher

    August 12, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Since, as the Torah says, "Confession is good for the soul," let's begin with a confession. I am a bar mitzvah teacher. My avocation -- my hobby -- is the navigation of Jewish girls and boys through the tangled web of the bar mitzvah ceremony.

    It is a job that demands a great deal...