B’nei Mitzvah

May 2018

Bella Fishman

Parashat Emor
Saturday, May 5

My favorite thing about being Jewish is the community. I love that I have something in common with other members of the Jewish community. We may not know each other, but our faith and people tie us together.  I have made some of my best friends at Temple Beth El and they are also the nicest people I have ever met. To me, becoming a Bat Mitzvah means becoming a young adult and taking on new responsibilities and opportunities. In preparation for my Bat Mitzvah I have learned that Hebrew is hard to learn, and it takes time and patience to get it right. This was very challenging for me and I learned that if I take the time and focus on one thing at a time I can accomplish whatever I want.

My mitzvah project was volunteering in the preschool gymnastics program at the YMCA, teaching little girls a sport I have loved for a very long time. I was so proud to see how happy they were when they gained a new skill. I plan to continue volunteering for the remainder of the school year and during the summer. I plan to keep learning all about Judaism and I also want to join BBYO next year.

Bella is the daughter of Marcia Kaplan and Todd Fishman. She is the sister of Sydney, a sophomore at Myers Park High School. She is the granddaughter of Susan Cernyak-Spatz of Charlotte NC,  Judith and Leonard Kaplan of Waltham MA and Delray Beach FL, and Jan and Adrian Levin of St. Louis MO.  Notes of congratulations can be sent to Marcia and Todd.

Nathan Rimler

Parashat Emor
Saturday, May 5

My favorite thing about being Jewish is celebrating the holidays with family and friends. I also appreciate the close connections I have made with other Jewish kids, like me.  Becoming a bar mitzvah means having more responsibilities and becoming accountable for my actions. Through preparing for my bar mitzvah, I have come to realize that I know more about Judaism than I thought I knew. But, I still have a lot to learn.  Indeed, I love learning about Jewish history and the stories of our people.

For my mitzvah project, I volunteered at baby bundles. Baby bundles is a service that helps to bundle baby clothes for parents in need, until the child is one year old. I learned from this project that there are a lot of people in need and we can help to support loving mothers. After my bar mitzvah, I plan to keep learning, celebrating the holidays with my family and attending synagogue, so I live with Jewish values in my life.

Nathan’s parents are Irena and Lee Rimler. He is the brother of Max Rimler, who is fifteen years old. Nathan is the grandson of Helen and Eric Kurgan and Anita and George Rimler. Notes of congratulations can be sent to Lee.


Brooke Wolkofsky

Parashat Tazria-M'tzora
Saturday, April 21

My favorite thing about being Jewish is the food. From Passover matzo ball soup, to hamantaschen’s on Purim! We definitely can’t forget the latkes on Hanukkah! My mom makes especially good matzo ball soup using the same recipe that has been passed down through my family for generations now starting with my great-grandmother. So, I guess you could say that food doesn’t just fuel us but it also connects us!

To become a bat mitzvah, means that I understand and accept my responsibilities as a Jewish adult in life and the temple. I will attend regular services Friday nights and Saturday mornings. I am excited to continue growing in BBYO and to learn more as in the Jewish Culture Club at Providence High School.

The road to becoming a bat mitzvah has taught me about myself and that I am capable of more than I imagined. When I first saw how much work it took to be ready for my bat mitzvah I was a little overwhelmed but then with the help of my tutors, Cantor Mary, Rabbi Knight, my parents and my brother, Ryan, I succeeded.

For my mitzvah project, I volunteered as a coach for the Mecklenburg County gymnastics Special Olympics team. Every Saturday for 5 weeks I helped the children learn their routines, and the experience really made me understand just how lucky I am to be able to help all of these amazing kids. Then one Saturday after weeks and weeks of training, we took the team to the Special Olympics of North Carolina Competition and the atmosphere there was just unbelievable! I am so fortunate that I was able to participate in such an amazing experience and to have gotten to build relationships with all of the kids.

Brooke is the daughter of Robyn and Evan in Charlotte, NC, the sister of Ryan and Jessica and the granddaughter of Linda Grunberg of Clark, NJ and Susan and Allen Wolkofsky of Parsippany, NJ. Messages of congratulations can be sent to her parents.

Ryan Wolkofsky

Parashat Tazria-M'tzora
Saturday, April 21

My favorite thing about being Jewish is seeing family and friends on holidays. On Jewish holidays, we get an excuse to hang out with family and friends. I think that my Bar-Mitzvah is about my growth as an adult in the Jewish community. Many children to do not get to have a say in the community. As an adult, we have the power and responsibility to our community and the broader world. My hope is to change the world for the better.

For my mitzvah project, I volunteered at a place called Our Little Library in Charlotte. I chose to volunteer there because I love to read. I helped kids to read books and I listened to children reading. I learned that there are many children who are not as fortunate as me. I am thankful for what I have. Growing up, I was surrounded by books that were full of characters for me to learn about. Many of the kids I worked with did not have access to good books. While I was listening to a 7-year-old girl stumble through Cat on a Hat, I realized that aside from me and their teachers, these kids did not have anyone to read with. Their parents probably worked all day to provide a home and food for their kids. As a Jewish adult in my community now, I plan to become a madrich and tutor people for their bar mitzvahs.

Ryan is the son of Robyn and Evan in Charlotte, NC, the brother of Brooke and Jessica and the grandson of Linda Grunberg of Clark, NJ and Susan and Allen Wolkofsky of Parsippany, NJ. Messages of congratulations can be sent to his parents.

Ethan Roland

Parashat Tazria
Monday, April 9 in Israel

I am happy to be able to become a Bar Mitzvah. I feel that this experience is extra special because I’m going to Israel and chanting Torah near the Wailing Wall. It’s really nice to be able to connect with my Israeli family and enjoy this together. I hope I make them proud. Studying has taken a long time and is a lot of work, but I feel it’s an accomplishment to have really learned Hebrew, learn prayers and chant Torah. My Torah portion is Tazria, and I’ve learned that this portion discusses cleanliness and restrictions for women after they give birth.

For me, being Jewish is about believing in one G-d. Judaism seems like a simpler religion. I’m carrying on a very old and important tradition, and have followed the people in my family and others who have done this before me.

I recently moved to North Carolina from Connecticut. We’re brand new to the synagogue, too. It’s great to know that there’s a place where we can pray and be with other Jewish people. I hope that after becoming a Bar Mitzvah, it helps me feel even more connected to Judaism. When I go to the synagogue, I’ll be able to more easily join in and participate.

Ethan is the son of Richard Roland & Cyma Shapiro of Matthews, NC, the brother of Sarah, David and Abina, and the grandson of Abraham and Cipah Shapiro of Burlington, CT. Ethan will become a Bar Mitzvah on April 9 at Robinson’s Arch in Jerusalem.

Charlie Arena

Parashat Sh'mini
Saturday, April 7

My favorite thing about being Jewish is celebrating the holidays with my family. I enjoy spending the time eating delicious food, talking and taking the time to be together.

Becoming a Bar Mitzvah was something I was not sure I wanted to do. I knew it would be a lot of work learning the prayers and studying. I knew this was important to my family, especially my Bubbles, as I am the last of her six grandchildren, to have a Bar Mitzvah. I realized that it was not as hard as I thought once I started learning everything and that I could definitely accomplish this goal. I can not believe I only have a few more weeks to go and then I will be considered an adult in the Jewish community.

For my Mitzvah project, I collected items for Bright Blessings, which is an agency that serves the homeless children in Charlotte. I asked my friends and family to help by donating blankets, teen toiletries, card games, ear buds, and other items that the agency requested for the teenage community. I am filling up backpacks and will deliver it to Bright Blessings before the end of March. I am thankful for all the help I got to make this project a success.

Charlie is the son of Allison and Paul Arena, and the brother of Jillian. He is the grandson of Susan and Howard Udoff (of blessed memory), of Boca Raton, Florida, and of LuRuth and James Arena of Durham, North Carolina.

Charlie will become a bar mitzvah on April 7, 2018 in Boca Raton, FL

Alana Fabrikant

Yom Rishon shel Pesach
Saturday, March 31

Jewish culture is my favorite thing about being Jewish. I am part of such an amazing religion, with its people and its scrumptious food, especially the yummy challah bread!

Every day of my life, I have felt like I wanted to become something of importance. Becoming a bat mitzvah is a chance to prove myself worthy and show that I can accomplish something. While preparing for my bat mitzvah, I learned that I may need to work harder as a person and a creator – all I ever wanted to do was create my own world, but with more ease. And this has taught me that hard work leads to wonderful celebrations! (yay)

For my mitzvah project, I worked alongside wonderful people in Project 658 to give to people that can’t access as much as I can. We served breakfast and gave free jackets to those in need. I chose this project because we need to be reminded that sometimes we take things for granted. I got a few friends and baking skills out of it!

Since I am now considered an adult, I have decided that I would love to continue cooking great Jewish food for years to come, and keep up with my family’s traditions.

Alana is the daughter of Melissa and Adrian Fabrikant. She is the sister of Alex Fabrikant. She is the grandson of Susan and Albert Fabrikant of Parkland, Florida and Clara Maloney of Albany, New York. She remembers loving his grandfather Francis “Mike” Maloney, of blessed memory. Send notes of mazel tov.

See B'nei Mitzvah Archive