B’nei Mitzvah

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Adam Lawrence

Parashat Sh'mini
Saturday, April 22

My favorite thing about being Jewish is the food. My family is Ashkenazic – which means that the Jewish food our family eats is Eastern European and is often fried. It’s delicious!

Becoming a Bar Mitzvah means responsibility to me. I have increasing amounts of responsibilities as an emerging adult in the Jewish community. For me, this includes learning, Jewish living, and Jewish giving. In Sheva we learn about what it means to be Jewish and how that impacts our life. I have learned that we have appreciate where our Jewish heritage came from, the steps our ancestors took, and the values that I will need to have to ensure that Judaism continues to live and thrive.

For my mitzvah project, I volunteered at a Crisis Assistance. I chose Crisis Assistance because to help people less fortunate than me. I plan to enroll in Hebrew High, and become a madrich and tutor.

My mom’s name is Elizabeth and my dad’s name is Jared. I have a 15 year old sister named Alexandra. My mom’s parents live on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and my dad’s parents live in Randallstown, Maryland, which is a suburb of Baltimore.  Email words of mazel tov to ejlawrence76@gmail.com.

Lauren Schwartz

Parashat Vayikra
Saturday, April 1

I love being Jewish because I am able to live by the Torah. Becoming a Bat Mitzvah means that I am officially an adult in the Jewish community and able to take on more responsibility. During this process, I became closer to my Jewish community and had so much fun while doing it. I also learned to be a self-starter and that I can accomplish any task.

For my mitzvah project, I volunteered at the Cyzner Institute, a school for children with disabilities. I chose to do this because I love kids and have a special place in my heart for these children. In my elementary school in Kansas City, students were mixed in with kids with disabilities. This was a really cool experience! My school here doesn’t have that, and I miss those relationships. I appreciated the opportunity to reconnect with kids with disabilities. It was really fun, and I enjoyed it so much I asked to volunteer another week!

Becoming a Jewish adult is a really big deal, and I know I will be given more responsibility now. I plan to keep studying Torah, keep living the Jewish life, including coming to services, and possibly become a Hebrew tutor.

Lauren is the daughter of Alexis and Chris Schwartz. She is the sister of Jacob Drew. She has three sets of grandparents, Darlene and Ed Wilson of Anderson IN, Mona and David Schwartz of Carmel IN, and Carole and Jerry Sternstein who live in Charlotte NC. Notes of Mazel Tov can be sent to leckiann@gmail.com and schwartz_lauren@icloud.com.

Zac Weintraub

Parashat Vayikra
Saturday, April 1

My favorite part of being Jewish is celebrating Shabbat. At URJ 6 Points Sports Camp, we got to celebrate Shabbat with lots of music – it was more about having fun and enjoying our time together and didn’t feel as formal as Shabbat sometimes feels.
For me, becoming a Bar Mitzvah means that physically and mentally I am becoming a Jewish man. It’s an honor to stand up on the bima and become a Jewish citizen – it’s a big deal, and I want to take it seriously. Throughout my preparation for this day, I have learned that in order to achieve something you can’t slack off. You have to put work into it in order to achieve your goal.

For my mitzvah project, I chose to work with Lil’ Hoopers, a program at the JCC that teaches little kids to play basketball. I like kids, and it is important to be an example for them because they look up to me.

Now that I am a Bar Mitzvah, I plan to continue to go to temple on High Holidays and to hopefully become a counselor at 6 Points.

Zac is the son of Jennifer Weintraub and Mark Weintraub. He is the brother of Jonah. He is the grandson of Trish and Art Hurvitz and Rena and Ron Weintraub. Notes of mazel tov can be sent to zack.weintraub@providenceday.org.

Colby DeSalvo

Parashat Vayakheil/P’kudei
Saturday, March 25

What I enjoy most about being Jewish is that it introduces you to a complete, minority culture. There’s Hebrew as the language, Judaism as the religion, the country of Israel (which I hope to visit one day), holidays and traditions (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Purim & Hanukkah), special foods (hamantaschen & matzah ball soup) and clothing (kippot and tallit).

For my Bar Mitzvah, it means so much to me to become an adult member of the congregation. Thanks to my Hebrew tutoring, I am now an active participant during Shabbat services, and enjoy reciting the prayers in Hebrew along with the other adult congregants. Becoming a Bar Mitzvah has also helped me form a special bond with Pop-Pop, my Mom’s Father, as he has shared his Bar Mitzvah experience with me.  I have learned through Sheva that Judaism teaches us to be considerate of others, to respect peoples’ differences, and to always look for ways to help other people by doing good deeds or mitzvot.

For my mitzvah project, I have volunteered in a couple of different areas. I worked the popcorn stand at my sister’s elementary school for her Fall Festival. It was fun to make everyone happy with a hot bag of popcorn. I have also volunteered at Bright Blessings, an organization that serves homeless and impoverished children in the Charlotte area. I filled baby bags for homeless mothers with necessary items like bottles, formula, thermometers, baby wash & lotion, and a DVD on how to care for a baby; along with some comfort items like a warm blanket and a stuffed animal. I also delivered birthday items to a shelter so the homeless children could enjoy a real birthday party complete with gifts, a cake and party packs. It really feels good to volunteer and help other people and know that you are making their day brighter.
To keep learning about and living Judaism, I will continue volunteering, I will head to Hebrew High next year, continue to actively participate in Shabbat services and hopefully be a Hebrew tutor for other upcoming Bar and Bat Mitzvah students.

My parents are Kim Itkoff DeSalvo and Chris DeSalvo, and my sister is Rae Brooke DeSalvo. My Grandparents are Margo and Jerry Itkoff of Cincinnati, Ohio; Pat Cavelius and the late George Cavelius of Roswell, Georgia; and Joan and Frank DeSalvo of Redding, Connecticut. Please send Mazel Tovs to the following email addresses: kitkoff@aol.com (Mom); Christopher.desalvo@wellsfargo.com (Dad); moogjer@fuse.net (Itkoff grandparents).

Taylor Cheifetz

Parashat Ki Tissa
Saturday, March 18

My favorite thing about being Jewish is that I can always have a family and community to count on. To become a bat mitzvah to me means that I participate in a religious ceremony which makes me a daughter of the commandments. While preparing for my bat mitzvah I have learned that if I put in the work, I will succeed.

My mitzvah project involved preparing and going to an assisted living facility to spend time with some elderly women to make them happy. A friend of mine and I danced for them which they loved. One day we helped them make holiday cards for their family and friends and another day we decorated cookies with them. I chose to do my mitzvah project because I like to make people smile and I know many ladies there get lonely. I get a lot of joy out of helping and would love to go again. I plan to keep learning about Judaism even when I’m older. I can go to Friday and even Saturday services with my family. When I’m older, I will have kids and I will send them to Hebrew School and they will learn and hopefully share with me about what they learned.

Taylor is the daughter of Keri and Paul Cheifetz. She is the sister of Ryan Cheifetz and the granddaughter of Nancy and Gary Peters of Port Washington, NY, Wendy and Michael Schonfeld of Clover, SC, and Linda and Ira Cheifetz of Princeton Jct, NJ. Notes of Mazel Tov can be sent to taylorcheifetz@gmail.com.

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