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Tag: Bat Mitzvah

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  • Raising the bar brings zest, creativity to rite of passage

    By Rachel Heller

    April 25, 2012 | 11:05 am

    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.

    Wearing a...

  • A small voice with a big message

    December 7, 2011 | 3:42 pm

    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...

  • Extravagant Jewish celebrations — Have we gone too far?

    July 19, 2011 | 4:32 pm

    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...

  • James Franco Q & A:  His Film on Tortured Gay Poet Hart Crane

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    June 15, 2011 | 9:48 pm

    One has to wonder when James Franco ever sleeps. Hollywood’s most educated thespian — perhaps best-known for his Oscar-nominated turn as the guy who cut off his own arm in Danny Boyle’s “127 Hours” – has famously juggled acting on soap operas and in blockbusters (think Rupert...

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  • Concert honors Bat Mitzvah

    By Tom Tugend

    April 12, 2011 | 5:45 pm

    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.

    So when some 800 listeners gathered on April 7 at Sinai Temple for a “Community...

  • Ready for their bimah close-up [VIDEO]

    By Ryan Torok

    December 14, 2010 | 11:54 pm

    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. 

    Experts say new technologies can make b’nai...

  • A powerful way to make a point

    December 14, 2010 | 11:47 pm

    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...

  • Kids helping kids

    December 14, 2010 | 11:35 pm

    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:...

  • Inmates Celebrate B’not Mitzvah

    September 9, 2009 | 4:56 am

    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...

  • Girl Doesn’t Let Pain Stand in Way of Her Bat Mitzvah

    March 18, 2009 | 3:54 am

    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...

  • Bar and bat mitzvah projects spread tzedakah worldwide

    By Lilly Fowler

    November 19, 2008 | 12:55 am

    From an early age, Erica Kitchin loved to read. So books were an obvious choice when it came time to select a bat mitzvah project.

    "I felt that if I could give others an opportunity to read it would make their lives a lot better," said Erica, 14.

    But by "others," Erica wasn't...

  • The dream of a beautiful bat mitzvah—but whose dream would it fulfill?

    September 11, 2008 | 4:20 am

    For my daughter to have a bat mitzvah would be a dream come true -- but for whom, for her or for me? Throughout my life, people have told me that I am only half Jewish, as my father is Jewish and mother is Japanese Buddhist, although Reform Jews now recognize children of Jewish...
  • VIDEO: Bar Mitzvah the Tradition

    August 2, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    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.

  • ‘Hakuna Matata’ meets tikkun olam

    July 31, 2008 | 1:26 am

    On Jan. 3, 2007 I accompanied my family to what I thought would be a normal dinner at a delicious Mexican restaurant. I was wrong.

    That was the night I found out that I would have to leave all of my friends and go away for six and a half months, spending about two months each in...

  • Help is here for planning a ceremony in Israel

    July 9, 2008 | 9:51 pm

    Given the negative press about over-the-top b'nai mitzvah celebrations, many families are rethinking the black-tie or other extravaganza, giving preference to true expressions of mitzvot. High on the list of alternatives is a trip to Israel, where the bar or bat mitzvah ceremony and...
  • The ‘speech’: Keep it short, sweet and colloquial

    By Ted Roberts

    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...

  • Hadassah Hospital inspires bar mitzvah charity project

    July 9, 2008 | 9:37 pm

    "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.

    The 13-year-old Santa Barbara boy used the occasion of his bar...

  • The second time around, Dubin is still a mensch

    By Rachel Heller

    July 9, 2008 | 9:29 pm

    Before a crowd of family and friends, the bar mitzvah approached the podium in the sanctuary of Adat Ari El and began his speech: "Today, I am a man."

    Peals of laughter rose from the pews of the Valley Village synagogue. Even the bar mitzvah himself cracked a smile -- at age 83,...

  • Books: Identity search comes from a familiar place

    By Cindy Mindell

    May 8, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    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: Write what you know.

    This is something Nora Baskin's newest heroine, Caroline, knows: Her mom is...

  • Books: It’s mom vs. daughter in Weiner’s latest novel

    By Danielle Berrin

    May 8, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    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...

  • Teenagers reveal why this service is different from all other services

    By Jeff Bernhardt

    May 8, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    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...
  • Unique party planning isn’t chopped liver

    By Michele Alperin

    March 13, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    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.

    So why are people stuck?...

  • Advertise joys of Judaism to others during simcha

    By Ted Roberts

    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...
  • Curacao shul offers venue with Caribbean flavor

    By Buzzy Gordon

    March 13, 2008 | 6:00 pm


    Trailer for Jewish Curacao travelogue DVD


    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...

  • Identity and connection spur more adult b’nai mitzvah

    By Peter L. Rothholz

    March 13, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    Norma Glickman wanted to make her own Jewish identity more meaningful. Her husband had studied to become an adult bar mitzvah, and after his death, she felt it would be a tribute to him to follow his example and become a bat mitzvah. When Glickman, 79, completed her study at Temple...
  • Stumbling through my bat mitzvah

    By Debra Nussbaum Cohen

    January 10, 2008 | 7:00 pm

    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.

    But instead, they were left with an altogether different image when I fell while parading the Torah scroll...

  • Reform Jews must refashion Shabbat

    By Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie

    December 20, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    The following remarks are edited from an hourlong sermon delivered at the biennial of the Union of Reform Judaism held in San Diego on Dec. 15.

    .... In the last half century, working patterns have changed. Not everyone works on Saturday now, and Jews, more than ever before, crave...

  • ‘Mazel Tov’: Lifecycles of the rich and famous

    By Jay Firestone

    November 8, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    Whether it's a powerfully uplifting ceremony, a wicked disco-themed party or a bagels-and-lox Sunday brunch, the b'nai mitzvah experience is a multifaceted event that has the potential to greatly affect a person's life.

    For one weekend, an acne-plagued kid is transformed into an...

  • Briefs: Cash in on your embarrassing b’nai mitzvah moment

    November 8, 2007 | 7:00 pm


    Cash in on Your Embarrassing B'nai Mitzvah Moment

    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...

  • Congregations, rabbis try to stop the ‘Big Day’ from becoming the last day

    By Michele Alperin

    November 8, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    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.

    Among those who believe, however tenuously, that a b'nai mitzvah ceremony is de rigeur, some...

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