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B’nei Mitzvah

June 2017

Zachary Fuentes

Parashat Naso
Saturday, June 3

My favorite things about being Jewish are the holidays (but not the high holidays). I really like Passover, mostly because of the food – orange slices and potato kugel and matzah. Matzah is my favorite.

For me, becoming a bar mitzvah means opening a new chapter of my life. When I began preparing for this moment, I definitely could not have read from the Torah, and now I can. Becoming a bar mitzvah also means I “become a man,” which mostly means I get to do stuff I wasn’t allowed to do when I was younger. One of the things I learned while preparing for my bar mitzvah service is that I am actually pretty good at reading Hebrew! I also learned that it all pays off in the end – you work so hard for years in order to become a bar mitzvah, and all of that hard work actually does have a purpose.

For my mitzvah project, I tutored little kids at Winget Park Elementary School in math. I chose this project because I know I am really smart in math, and some kids aren’t – so I figured I would help other people get better at something I am already good at. More than anything, I learned patience in taking on this project, because the kids could be really annoying at some times and you just have to learn how to deal with them. I also came to understand a little bit more of what my parents have to deal with in taking care of me and my brother.

Zachary is the son of Rachel and Douglas Fuentes and the brother of Sam. Words of Mazel tov can be sent to rachelfuentes4569@yahoo.com.

Harris Warne

Parashat B'haalot'cha
Saturday, June 10

Being Jewish is really unique.  We have our own country and language and not that many people can say that.  But what makes it fun is all the holidays we observe and the food we eat at every celebration.

Becoming a Bar Mitzvah is a significant achievement for me.  It has taken many years of preparation at Sunday School and Hebrew School not to mention my last 5 months of Bar Mitzvah tutoring.  But it’s worth it at the end because I get to join a group a crowd of people who have the same accomplishment.  It’s a special club, a Bar Mitzvah club.  And now that I am an adult in the Jewish Community, I get to do things like drink wine (of course with my parent’s permission).  Throughout all the preparation, I learned it takes hard work and dedication to accomplish goals such as this one.

My Bar Mitzvah project centered around my all year round sport:  swimming.  This summer I will serve as a volunteer for my neighborhood swim team.  I will help the younger swimmers at practice and set up / clean up for each home swim meet.  I will also volunteer at the neighborhood swim-a-thon in August that benefits the Charlotte Rescue Mission.  My project allows me to spend more time at the pool and help out young kids.  After my Bar Mitzvah, I will continue to learn about Judaism by fasting on Yom Kippur and participating at Passover seders.

Harris Warne is the son of Wendy and Stewart. He is the grandson of Mike Diamond of York, SC and Mary Jane Warne of Tulsa, OK. Notes of mazel tov can be sent to: wdwarne@gmail.com.

Ari Swartz

Parashat B'haalot'cha
Saturday, June 10

My favorite thing about being Jewish is being able to say words in Hebrew around my friends who don’t understand  and then teach them what they mean (when I can). I like the fact that I can BE Jewish, out in the open, and that if people make fun of me I can stand up for myself and know that in America, we are all supposed to be able to practice our religions freely. I like being able to come to Temple Beth El and have awesome people help me learn and pray and answer my questions.

For me, becoming bat mitzvah means the end of a long hard process that has been really stressful for me and my family at times. But it also means the beginning of something – becoming bat mitzvah means I can consider myself older because I have done something mature. From now on, I count as part of a minyan and am able to come up to the bima for an aliyah.

As I was preparing for my bat mitzvah, I learned that when I focus, I am able to teach others and think deeply about big ideas. I also learned that when I decide to do something and put in the time and effort to work hard, I can succeed.

Ari Swartz is the daughter of Heide Swartz and Mark Swartz. She is the sister of Hudson Swartz. She is the granddaughter of Ira Swartz and Helen Drouin. Notes of mazel tov can be sent to Ari at alexthearrogant@gmail.com.

Jadeyn Zurosky

Parashat B'haalot'cha
Saturday, June 10

Jadeyn will become a Bat Mitzvah on June 10 on Rhode Island.

My favorite thing about being Jewish is celebrating the holidays and spending time with family.  I also love all of the Jewish traditions and how being Jewish isn’t about getting presents, it’s more about tradition and the value of family.  What becoming a Bat Mitzvah means to me is that I am becoming an adult in the Jewish community.  I am learning the importance of Jewish values and how I should live my life as a Jew.  At the beginning of my studies, I had doubt in myself because I didn’t think I could learn to read Hebrew.  I learned that I am capable of taking on a new challenge, and becoming successful in achieving a new and challenging goal.

My mitzvah project was helping out with some of my mother’s autistic clients.  I chose this because I thought it was important to learn about people with differences, and I am interested in what my mother does for a living.  I learned that everyone is capable of learning, even if they may learn in a different way.  It also made me appreciate and realize that I was born healthy and without any learning challenges.

As a Jewish adult, I will plan on continuing to attend services.  I learned that I actually enjoy services, especially Friday night services.  I will continue to celebrate the Jewish holidays and will raise my children Jewish.  It is important to do mitzvahs and treat others right and with respect.  Being Jewish is about family and tradition and I hope to keep the values in my daily life.

Jadeyn is the daughter of Alyson Shaffer and Kirk Zurosky.  She is the sister of Sydney Zurosky.  Her grandmother and grandfather are Joan and Richard Shaffer and they live in Salem, Massachusetts.  Notes of mazel tov can be sent to: Solvingautism@gmail.com

RECENT

Ethan Hill

Parashat Bemidbar
Saturday, May 27

My name is Ethan Matthew Hill.  I’m the son of Richard and Caren Hill. I have two lovely sisters.  For your information, no they did not pay me to say that.  First there is Bayleigh who is two years older than me.  Then comes me and then there is Delanie who is three years younger than me. I am also blessed to have 5 amazing grandparents: Jack and Marjorie Levins, and the late Marlene Levins and Eleanor and the late Benjamin Hill.  I also have a very big extended family who I love very much, but going into detail on every member would take way too long. I also have four dogs and I would like to emphasize the fact that they are adorable.

Back to the topic of myself, and I so enjoy talking about myself…not! My favorite thing about being Jewish is meeting new people on Jewish holidays, events, and services.  Speaking of services, I had to prepare a lot for my Bar Mitzvah, and through that I have learned that I am a very hard worker.  I finished every possible prayer/song for my Bar Mitzvah with five weeks to spare.

I also had to complete a mitzvah project. My mitzvah project was to help elders, along with the help of my friend Ben Blau, with their electronics because I really enjoy electronics. However, I learned that I also enjoy meeting new people and learning about their past. The only issue with this mitzvah project was that it took an hour to get there, which means you can bet my mom and I had some great conversations…because every teenage boy loves talking in great lengths to his parents.

If you would like to congratulate me in becoming a bar mitzvah, please direct your notes of mazel tov to: mktingdr@aol.com or levins92071@gmail.com

Charlie Lewin

Parashat Bemidbar
Saturday, May 27

Probably my favorite thing about being Jewish is challah. I always love waking up and making toast made of challah. To me, becoming a bar mitzvah means becoming mature – taking on more responsibilities and being capable of harder tasks. As I prepared for my bar mitzvah, I have learned a lot, including that learning new languages is not that hard.

I chose to volunteer at The Friendship Circle for my Mitzvah project. Friendship Circle is an organization that pairs special needs kids and other kids who have trouble making friend with volunteers their age. We meet on Sundays and we all do really fun activities and it is very enjoyable.
I do not go to temple much, and usually when I do it is either a High Holy Day or I am going to a bar mitzvah. I think as an adult, I won’t go every week, but the temple is still a very cool place to be and I will come more often.

Charlie is the son of Laura and Marc Lewin. He is the brother of Max and Kate Lewin. He is the grandson of Joseph and Carole Hankin of Jupiter, Florida, and Rachel Lewin of Toronto, Canada. Emails of mazel tov can be sent to lauralewin@aol.com.

Kaya Nichols

Parashat Behar/Bechukotai
Saturday, May 20

My favorite thing about being Jewish is being unique in my friend group. There are not that many Jewish people at my school, so we stand out, in a good way. Becoming a Bat Mitzvah means so much more than being an adult in the eyes of the Jewish community. It means that I am willing to take on the responsibilities that I may be given.

In the process of preparing for my Bat Mitzvah, I have really learned the importance of hard work. My mitzvah project was Friendship Trays – an organization that prepares and delivers food for people who can’t make it themselves. My partner Grayce took me with her one time and I really enjoyed the experience. The looks on people’s faces when we gave them the food was so fulfilling. I started to understand the importance of volunteering and just doing things for other people out of the goodness of your heart. I plan to keep learning about Judaism by continuing to go to Camp Coleman, and to be more active in my Jewish community.

Kaya Nichols is the daughter of Matthew and Katrina Nichols. She is the sister of Toryn and Liya Nichols. She is the granddaughter of Eve and Nick Nichols in Lexington, MA and Katherine and Howard Burton in Crown Heights, NY. Notes of mazel tov can be sent to: Kantankerous5@gmail.com

Grayce Sheinis

Parashat Behar/Bechukotai
Saturday, May 20

Becoming a bat mitzvah is a big deal and very important because I am now a Jewish adult. Being Jewish means I am different from other people. Most people at my school are Christian and it makes me feel unique. If I wasn’t Jewish, I wouldn’t have gone to a Jewish Day School and I wouldn’t have met probably half of the friends I have today, and friends are really important to me!

Becoming a bat mitzvah means that I am becoming a more mature person, both in general and specifically in relation to my Jewish community. I have learned in preparing for my bat mitzvah that I need to act like I have already become one. It takes a lot of work and commitment and in order to do that work and make that commitment I have to be more mature and responsible than I have had in the past.

For my mitzvah project, I went to Friendship Trays and packed and delivered meals to elderly people. I plan on to keep learning and living with Judaism by going to services. I like Rosh Hashana services because it feels different from the rest of the year and I learn something new each service. And, I like hearing the shofar! I also like the Anne Frank Museum and Israel.

Grayce is the daughter of Richard and Marcia Sheinis. She is the youngest of three, sister of Holly and Ben. She is the granddaughter of Jack Sheinis of Boca Raton, Florida and Grandma and Grandpa Hamming, who live in Holland. Notes of mazel tov can be emailed to: hlld4@bellsouth.net

Benjamin Blau

Parashat Acharei Mot/K'doshim
Saturday, May 6

My favorite things about being Jewish are all of the different things I have learned over the years. I like learning all of the different tunes for the prayers, and what the Torah portions are about. Becoming a Bar Mitzvah means growing up – taking that next step up toward being an adult; it means trying to be more mature. Adults have more work to do in the world and more responsibilities. I’m not an adult yet, but taking this step helps move me toward that future.

I have learned that I know a decent amount, but I don’t know everything! Preparing for all of the components of my bar mitzvah has definitely been difficult, but I have made it through, which has also been a lesson in my ability to take on a hard task and complete it.

For my mitzvah project, I went to the Brookdale Senior Center with my friend Ethan to help the residents with their electronic needs. I like working with electronics and I help my parents with their electronics all the time, so I figured this would a way I could help others and have fun doing something I already like doing. My favorite part was helping them and learning about the different electronics they needed help with.

Ben Blau is the son of Barry and Lisa. He is the brother of Kate. He is the grandson of Evelyn Blau of New Jersey and Karen and Ron Noel of Fort Mill. Notes of Mazel Tov may be sent to Ben.

See B'nei Mitzvah Archive