Most people are happier being reaudited by a fiber-deficient IRS agent than speaking in public. They’re even more fartutst about writing their own speeches.
Paula Abdul canceled her much-hyped bat mitzvah at the Western Wall, opting instead for a low-key ceremony in the town of Safed, The Times of Israel reports.
Better late than never, as they say! At 51 years young, former “American Idol” and “X Factor” judge Paula Abdul will celebrate her bat mitzvah at the Western Wall, The Times of Israel reports.
“Who is a Jew?” is a uniquely Jewish question. It is a question that epitomizes the Jewish people and culture. It is a philosophical question that embodies the history of Jewish debate. It is a question of belonging that symbolizes Jews as a minority.
My bat mitzvah invitation had bright purple embossed text on a hot- pink card with my name enlarged in decorative script at the top and daisies adorning the bottom.
Trisha Roth completed two years of study in order to be ready for her recent bat mitzvah. When the big day came, she wore a tallit that belonged to her late brother. But something else made the experience particularly special.
I was meeting with an upcoming bat mitzvah girl the other day and talking with her about the Torah (what else?). I pointed out all the books that surrounded us in my study and mentioned that as someone who has published five books myself, how thrilled I would be if people were still reading even one of my books 20 years from now.
So you’re planning a bar or bat mitzvah? Mazel tov! You may feel overwhelmed by decisions and details. I certainly did when it was time for my son, Steven, to take part in the ritual this past December. I asked experienced parents for advice and promised to “pay it forward” once I became a seasoned veteran. Here is some of the wisdom I gleaned, along with issues you’ll need to consider.
Preparing for the complete bar or bat mitzvah experience — the ceremony, the food, the entertainment — can feel like a three-ring circus. So maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that carnivals are one of the hottest themes these days as kids prepare for the biggest party they’ve thrown in their 13 years on the planet.
Fourteen years ago, Catherine and Bruce Penso’s oldest daughter, Leah, was ready to become a bat mitzvah. But before her big day, Leah told her parents that she wanted to go to the mikveh and formally convert.
Factor in the enormous guest lists, global cuisine and diversions such as high-tech interactive entertainment, and it is clear that bar and bat mitzvah celebrations have become more sophisticated than they were even a decade ago.
Jack Kessler, 14, completed his mitzvah project last summer by working at a Friendship Circle camp for teens on the autism spectrum. He says the volunteer effort, which some synagogues require of their b’nai mitzvah students, helped him realize his priorities.
My 11-year-old son, Ari, is now a Hebrew-school dropout. I am aware that that's the name of a comedy act and a line of T-shirts. But, for me, the phrase is not a punch line, but a punch in the gut. I imagine my response was just like parents whose kids drop out of high school: disbelief, sadness and helplessness followed quickly by a healthy dose of Jewish guilt. "Where did I go wrong?" "What did I do to cause him to reject my contribution to his heritage?"
The nerve-wracking morning of a bar or bat mitzvah will eventually be all that's left standing between a student and his or her catered night of extravagant partying. The b'nai mitzvah coach already has helped detangle the Hebrew and trope, but the pressure of reading the Torah portion and haftarah, as well as delivering a speech in front of hundreds of family members, friends and congregants, might make even a usually unassuming bimah look terrifying.
My bat mitzvah invitation had bright purple embossed text on a hot pink card with my name enlarged in decorative script at the top and daisies adorning the bottom. Twenty-plus years later, I remember eagerly waiting for my friends to receive the invitations and running home weeks later to check the mailbox for the return of the RSVP envelopes. Secured in a scrapbook, the invitation is a treasured memento.
After a Jerusalem-area’s religious council allowed a female Reform rabbi to participate in its proceedings, some advocates of liberal Judaism in the country are hailing their inroads into the Orthodox-dominated religious infrastructure.
Who is the hero of a bar or bat mitzvah? It’s the 13-year-old, who, after a day of chanting, speaking and being bear-hugged by distant relatives, sees himself or herself imbued with powers of memory, eloquence and forbearance far beyond that of ordinary teenagers. But how do you help yours to hold on to that feeling?
At his recent bar mitzvah, Noah Genco-Kamin managed to tell one of the most well-known stories in the Jewish canon — that of the Israelites wandering in the desert after the Exodus — in a way that no one present had heard it told before: from the perspective of a cow.
Jacob Tragarz didn’t take the easy route when it came to his mitzvah project — he went big. The 12-year-old student decided to raise awareness about the suffering and violence in Darfur by organizing an assembly for nearly 700 of his peers at Marshall Fundamental High School, a public school in Pasadena.
A wedding that costs $100,000? A bar mitzvah that costs $20,000? When did extravagance and luxury become such primary Jewish values? I can’t remember the last simcha (Jewish celebration) I attended at which there were not tremendous amounts of wasted food, overly expensive napkins and bands large enough for a royal banquet.
It’s not every Jewish girl whose parents commission a new work by a renowned classical composer for her bat mitzvah, but then Dora Schoenberg’s lineage made a musical tribute all but mandatory.
Indeed, bar or bat mitzvah training today has become increasingly reliant on technology to complement learning — from YouTube videos of kids chanting and online lessons with a cantor or tutor to on-the-go studies with an iPod.
With apologies to Monty Python, the day can best be described as, “And Now for Something Completely Different.” The guests started filing in, anticipating the usual bar mitzvah service at our cozy little temple — maybe the only one named for a city that carries the name of a saint: The Santa Monica Synagogue. Temple members, as well as family and friends who attended our other children’s b’nai mitzvahs, knew what to expect when they arrived. They’d find a physically small but big-of-heart place featuring an amiable guitar-strumming young cantor, Steve Hummel, and a rabbi, Jeffrey Marx, who is as good at telling shtetl stories as Sholom Aleichem.
Ryan Gurman and Brandon Newberg, both 13, have never met. They live in different parts of Los Angeles, go to different schools, attend different synagogues and celebrated their bar mitzvahs almost a year apart. Yet over the past few months, the young men have shared a common purpose: helping sick and injured children at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Two women, identified as Carol and Pamela — not their real names — became b’not mitzvah on Saturday, Sept. 5. Both are inmates at the California Institution for Women (CIW) in Corona, located about 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles. The event is believed to be the first bat mitzvah to take place inside prison walls in the United States.
Preparing for a bar or bat mitzvah is time consuming. A student in the throes of becoming a teenager has to learn Torah and haftarah portions, plus required prayers and blessings. Then there’s the speech, the mitzvah project and the weekly meetings with the cantor or rabbi, or both.
Erica began knocking on neighbor's doors, asking for book donations. She also collected books from educators and friends. One month after Erica celebrated her bat mitzvah, she was able to ship approximately 50 boxes of books, including many textbooks for the school children of Buduburam.
When I look at my daughters, I see their faces as both azoy shayne and uruwashii, "so beautiful" in Yiddish and in Japanese.
This video, an open source release of Mercer County Community College in New Jersey, gives a good, factual overview of the meaning and tradition of the Jewish coming-of-age ritual, the Bar Mitzvah.
I tried to visit the orphanage every day, and I formed incredible relationships with almost all of the kids living there. I loved the kids so much; they were always so happy and hopeful, even though they have close to nothing, not even running water or clothes and shoes that fit.
Remember, short and sweet, colloquial and informal. It works every time.
"Oprah's Big Give" challenges contestants to perform charitable acts by giving them money and resources. But Michael Feldman didn't need the artifice of a television show to inspire his desire for a genuine big give.
While most people celebrate their only bar or bat mitzvah at age 13, a passage in the Book of Psalms has in recent times led to the notion that one's first need not be the last. According to King David, the average person's lifespan is 70 years, and those who live past that age are thought to start life anew. Thirteen years later, tradition says, the time is ripe for another bar mitzvah.
Nora Raleigh Baskin's fifth novel for middle-graders is her first "Jewish" book. Her books are the kind that draw young readers with the simple truth all good writers seem to share
What bestselling author Jennifer Weiner remembers most about her bat mitzvah is her hair.
"It was really unfortunate hair, really tragic -- like short and feathered and awful," said Weiner, author of "In Her Shoes," which was adapted as a 2005 film starring Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette.
Since the recent holiday of Passover was one of asking questions and thinking about transitioning from one state of being to another, it is an appropriate time to think of the bar and bat mitzvah in a similar context. These four questions -- or more accurately one question and four answers -- can be recited by 13-year-olds, but their explanations are particularly relevant for all of us.
Some things never change, or do they? Bar and bat mitzvah parties overwhelmingly follow a recipe that everyone assumes is written in stone, said Gail Greenberg, creator of mitzvahchic.com. The only room for creativity, people think, is to have a unique theme.
Given the condition of Judaism in 2008, a bar mitzvah is an ecumenical stew. It's not only the non-Jews who wonder about the significance and meaning of the ceremony, but even some of our fellow Israelites stare with wonder and, sometimes, awe.That's why a booklet of origins, explanations and exegesis is useful.
Compared with the millennia of Jewish history, the scant few centuries of Jewish settlement in the Western Hemisphere is like a drop in the ocean those Jews had crossed from Europe. The history of the Jews in the American colonies is even shorter: more than 100 years before the Jews of Newport, R.I., built their synagogue (now the oldest continuously active synagogue in the United States), the Jewish community of the Caribbean island of Curacao had built theirs -- Congregation Mikve Israel, which holds the record as the oldest synagogue in continuous use in the Western Hemisphere.
The reasons why milifers and seniors have gravitated to adult b'nai mitzvah programs since the trend first took off in the 1970s are numerous, including the fact that most women didn't have such ceremonies until the 1980s (the first bat mitzvah was held in 1922). One perennial influence is a child or grandchild reaching b'nai mitzvah age, and the divergent issues brought about by intermarriage can sometimes compel one or more adults in a family to take on b'nai mitzvah study to serve as a role model.
My bat mitzvah was an unmitigated disaster.
I'd hoped the guests would be as taken as I was with my dress, first high heels and the orange and yellow petit fours at the Kiddush.
Communal leaders outside of the synagogue love to talk the language of corporate strategy. They engage in endless debates on the latest demographic study. They plan elaborate conferences and demand new ideas. But sometimes we don't need new ideas; we need old ideas. We need less corporate planning and more text and tradition, less strategic thinking and more mitzvot, less demographic data and more Shabbat. Because we know in our hearts that in the absence of Shabbat, Judaism withers.
In Jill Rappaport's book, "Mazel Tov: Celebrities' Bar and Bat Mitzvah Memories" she interviews 21 celebrities as they describe how the b'nai mitzvah experience brought them to where they are today. With the photographic help of her sister, Linda Solomon, Rappaport provides a joyfully contrasting image of the celebrities and their familiar adolescent counterparts.
JewishTVNetwork.com, which has launched its own user-generated channel, wants to celebrate by holding a contest to find the funniest, most embarrassing bar/bat mitzvah moments. Think "America's Funniest Home Videos," but with kippot.
The bar and bat mitzvah is traditionally viewed as an entry point into the adult Jewish community, but for many, it's also seen as the door out of both Jewish education and the synagogue. For those who become congregants, Los Angeles synagogues are trying to help b'nai mitzvah students and families understand that the ceremony and its preparation symbolize one point on a continuum of Jewish life and learning. Their goal is to strengthen the communal ties of their marginally committed congregants.
One way to ensure your soon-to-be bar or bat mitzvah is on track and ready for the big day is to hire a tutor.
B'nai Mitzvah Checklist
Over the years, b'nai mitzvah students have been encouraged more and more to select a cause, organization or project that they can support by donating community service hours, a portion of their gift money or both.
Aren't all bat mitzvahs alike?
Christy's bat mitzvah was a monumental event for her entire family. The synagogue was full, featuring out-of-towners from New York, San Francisco and Raleigh, N.C. It was the first time that many of them had been in a synagogue.I spend countless hours preparing for these days with students and their parents.
I don't remember much about my own bat mitzvah many years ago, but I do remember this: My father cried as he turned to speak to me after the conclusion of the Torah reading.
Ikea Doll Bat Mitzvah, YouTube Video
Rosh Hashanah resolutions.
Ariel Jacobs had been jaundiced at birth, because of a blood-type incompatibility with her mother, and required a transfusion. As a result of contaminated blood, she contracted HIV, which later developed into AIDS.
Living with the trauma and sorrow of losing a brother or sister in the Israel Defense Forces has scarred all of the 30 12- and 13-year-olds who spent 10 days at Camp Ramah in Ojai earlier this month. The Legacy/Moreshet program, sponsored by Friends of the IDF (FIDF), gave kids who lost a sibling or parent in combat a bar or bat mitzvah present that allowed them to have an American-style summer blast -- if not to forget, then at least to enjoy a respite from the sadness that follows them at home.
As any Jewish parent knows, it is not unusual for children to resist attending Hebrew school, just as they complain about doing their homework or practicing the piano. During the preteen years, childrens' comprehension of what God means to them is still under development. However, some say parents need to think about how committed they are to raising Jewish children.