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...
July 9, 2008 | 9:44 pm
March 13, 2008 | 6:00 pmBar 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...
September 27, 2007 | 8:00 pm
Listen my children, and you shall hearThe 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....
The bar mitzvah course that we shall steer.
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...
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...
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...