B’nei Mitzvah

August 2018

Emma Paige Miller

Parashat Shoftim
Saturday, August 18

My favorite thing about being Jewish is learning about the history of Judaism and celebrating the religious holidays. My favorite holiday is Hanukkah because I enjoy lighting the candles each night and reciting the prayers. I also love the delicious foods especially latkes and jelly doughnuts!

Becoming a Bat Mitzvah means that I am an adult in the Jewish community.  As a result, I will take on more responsibilities and further my Judaic studies. I am looking forward to learning more about Jewish history and growing my ability to read Hebrew. While on my journey to becoming a Bat Mitzvah, I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned the meaning and value of hard work. I learned that through study and preparation, I can read Hebrew. I have also learned that as a member of the Jewish community, it is a mitzvah to help others that may be less fortunate than me.

For my Mitzvah Project, I decided to help the homeless. I was inspired to do this after participating in the “Walk in My Shoes” Girl Scout event, where I experienced what members of the homeless community in Charlotte, North Carolina have to go through in order to survive. To help make a difference, I started a club at Community House Middle School called “The Homeless Helpers Club.” At this club, that meets weekly, my friends and I make sandwiches to donate to The Urban Ministries Center to help the homeless not go hungry. We also make cards to give to the homeless, in order to provide some inspirational and kind words to help them work through their situation. I also volunteered at Temple Beth El’s Mitzvah Day. During this event, my family and I volunteered to help organize the food pantry. We also made bags of food to help the students that attend The Freedom School over the summer. Each bag, filled with the ingredients for a dinner, went home with one of the summer camp kids. The Freedom School is a camp for children that are less fortunate. These students attend camp at Temple Beth El and have the opportunity to continue their learning while making new friends. The reasons why I decided to do these projects is because I love to help people and I want to make a difference in the world. I believe that everyone deserves to have the necessities in life, like shelter, plenty of food, and some warm, quality clothing. Through this project I have learned that many people may not be as lucky as I am. I am blessed to have a warm home, plenty of food, clothing, books and materials for school, electronics, and money. I have learned that I should appreciate what I have.

After my Bat Mitzvah, I plan to continue my studies by going to Sheva, attending services and become an active member of the Temple. I would like to help future Bar and Bat Mitzvah students with their preparations and I would like to continue helping the less fortunate by donating food to the food pantry or by volunteering at Urban Ministries.

Emma Paige is the daughter of Barry and Danielle Miller. She is the granddaughter of Bernie and Carol Miller of Monroe Township, New Jersey; granddaughter of the late, Andrea Quartararo, of Reston, Virginia; and grand niece of Jim and Alicia Bendernagel of Reston, Virginia. Send notes of congratulations.

Rachel Veen

Parashat Shoftim
Saturday, August 18

My favorite thing about being Jewish is celebrating the different holidays with the people you care about and eating all the different foods you might not eat on a regular basis. What it means to me to become Bat Mitzvah is that I have learned the importance of what it means to be a good Jew. What I’ve learned about myself is that I can accomplish anything I really set my mind to do.

My mitzvah project was working at Bright Blessings. Bright Blessings is an organization that helps children in poverty get some of the things they need in life. The organization also helps children celebrate their birthdays, which is meaningful because their parents often do not have enough resources. I helped make gifts and organize the educational supplies to give to the children in the shelters. Working at Bright Blessings taught me that helping people in need can make a big impact on them and it really makes me feel good as well. I plan on learning about Judaism by continuing to attend services and celebrate holiday traditions with my family.

Rachel’s parents are Michelle and Chad Veen. She is the granddaughter of Lene Zalla of Leesburg, Florida and Elonne and Lorne Veen from Gary, South Dakota. Send notes of congratulations.

Zachary Katz

Parashat Ki Teitzei
Saturday, August 25

Throughout my childhood my parents have instilled Jewish values within me. These include an emphasis on family, community, traditions and beliefs. Judaism teaches me to value my education and that it is important to be a positive influence on my friends and family. Judaism teaches me that it is my responsibility to try and make the world a better place. My bar mitzvah is the most significant event in my life so far. It means I am responsible for my own actions, and that I have more responsibility in the Jewish community. During my bar mitzvah studies, I learned that I don’t really like to sing but I enjoy learning more about my religion and the history of the Torah. I also learned some valuable life lessons including the value of helping those in need.

For my bar mitzvah project, I chose to stuff and give backpacks full of school supplies to Camino Community Center. I chose this project to help the less fortunate people in Charlotte get the supplies they need to go to school. During my studies, I realized the importance of education and I wanted to make it possible for all kids to get a quality education. As I get older, I hope to continue my Jewish education and continue to live by the Jewish values that are such a big part of my life.

Zach is the son Seth and Crystal Katz. He is the brother of Isabelle and Alex. His grandparents, Rita and Alan Katz of Wilmington, NC and Kay and Marshall Duncan of St. Petersburg, FL. Send notes of congratulations.

Luke Zolotorofe

Parashat Ki Teitzei
Saturday, August 25

My favorite thing about being Jewish is the food. When I visit NYC, hamantaschen is the first food I look for, and I like challah anywhere. Becoming a bar mitzvah means that I have more responsibility and freedom. I am now considered a “man” in the Jewish community and I am trusted more. During bar mitzvah tutoring, I learned the importance and meaning of each prayer. Before this, I had no clue what the prayers meant and I would chant them for no reason.

For my mitzvah project, I went Uptown and made chili cheese dogs with The Dream Center. My family and I constructed over one hundred hot dogs with chili on top. Afterward, another set of volunteers distributed them to homeless people in Charlotte. We helped out so many people by doing an easy task. It felt good after we did it and we are definitely going back to help out again soon. I also spent a week volunteering with K through second-graders, helping them improve their basketball skills. I enjoyed working with the kids more than I expected.

I  plan to keep learning about Judaism in the future by enrolling in BBYO this year. Many people I know love it, and it is a way to keep me in touch with Judaism.

Luke is the son of Nancy and Marc Zolotorofe. He is the brother of Sydney. He is the grandson of Nannette and the late Lewis Zolotorofe of Boynton Beach, Florida, and Patricia Houghton-Rones and the late Arnie Rones of Mineola, New York. Please send notes of congratulations.


Emma Eccleston

Parashat R'eih
Saturday, August 11

My favorite thing about being Jewish is being able to meet other people who are Jewish and making Jewish friends. I get to make these Jewish friends at Temple and Hebrew school. I’m glad to become a Bat Mitzvah because it means I will have more responsibilities and I will be able to do more in the world because I am a Jewish adult. What I have learned about myself in preparing for my Bat Mitzvah is that if I work hard and study I can learn how to read from the Torah.

For my mitzvah project I held a drive and collected items for the homeless. I raised money and bought even more items. I put toiletries, clothes, hats, umbrellas, ponchos, and tissues in bags and brought them to a homeless shelter. I chose to do this because I think it’s important to help people who don’t have everything they need. It made me feel happy because I got the chance to help people and I have always wanted to do that. To keep learning about Judaism and living with Judaism I will go to Hebrew High and be involved with youth group events. I am also going to be a B’nei Mitzvah tutor.

Emma is the daughter of Randi and Jon Eccleston. She is the sister of Hannah Eccleston. She is the granddaughter of Vicki and Irwin Smolin of Charlotte, NC and Georgiann Eccleston of Glenburn, PA and the late Jon W. Eccleston. Send messages of congratulations.

Abbie Jackowitz

Parashat R'eih
Saturday, August 11

There are many things that come with being Jewish. One of my favorites is the tradition of lighting the candles on a Chanukiah during Chanukah. Becoming a Bat Mitzvah has many meanings to me.  One of these meanings is continuing to immerse myself in Jewish culture. I will continue learning about Judaism by going to Jewish summer camps, services, giving tzedakah out of my own money, and participating in youth groups. Throughout my journey of becoming a Bat Mitzvah I have learned that I really enjoy going to Sheva and Friday night services and learning new prayers and traditions that I can use throughout my life.

For my Mitzvah project I have the honor and the privilege of working with special needs students at my school. There’s nothing I love more than playing games, talking, and having lunch with them; because in the end they’re no different than any of us and because of this my Mitzvah project is something that I will continue to take part in forever.

Abbie is the daughter of Ilene and Jason Jackowitz. She is the sister of Jared. She is the granddaughter of Bob Jackowitz of Levittown, New York and Joan Bram of West Palm Beach, Florida. She feels blessed that everyone is here today. Send notes of Mazel Tov.

Amanda Buckler

Parashat Eikev
Saturday, August 4

My favorite thing about being Jewish is having the opportunity to surround myself with other Jewish kids and adults that all share a common knowledge about this religion. All Jews are one big community that share the same traditions and beliefs. To me, becoming a bat mitzvah means that I have more responsibilities and the right to make more and more of my own decisions. During Sheva and tutoring, I have learned more about my religion, and how I fit into it.

My mitzvah project was helping out with The Friendship Circle, where kids and adults with special needs get to make friends and have fun. I also volunteered during Mitzvah Day, where we packed up bags full of little toys and books that all goes to Sterling Elementary School to kids for the summer. Lastly, I volunteered with the Carolina Thread Trail Association to raise money for environmental preservation and trail maintenance. Now that I have become a Bat Mitzvah, and a Jewish adult, I plan to keep my Jewish education alive by tutoring other kids for their bar or bat mitzvah, and continuing to learn by participating in either Hebrew High or BBYO.

Amanda Buckler is the daughter of Bryan and Robin Buckler. She is the sister of Adam and Sophie Buckler. She is the granddaughter of Linda Buckler of Chattanooga TN and Amy and Peter Brenner of Greensville, SC. Send notes of mazel tov.

Garrett Waldman

Parashat Va-et'chanan
Saturday, July 28

My favorite thing about being Jewish is celebrating all of the holidays with my family and friends and learning new things about my religion. For me, becoming a bar mitzvah means taking on more responsibility for things and becoming a man according to Jewish law.

Throughout this process, I’ve learned that I had to take responsibility for preparing for my bar mitzvah and studying the torah portion, because if I didn’t, no one else could do it for me.

For my mitzvah project, I weeded. In removing weeds, I made room for the desired plants, trees, and grass to grow.

Now that I am a bar mitzvah, I will continue to go to services and celebrate each holiday.

Tyler Waldman

Parashat Va-et'chanan
Saturday, July 28

My favorite things about being Jewish are the holidays and history. I enjoy the holidays because they have history, and I like coming together with community to celebrate holidays and pray to God. We have had to overcome a lot of challenges throughout the centuries and we are one of the oldest religions to make it this far. For me, becoming a bar mitzvah means to become a Jewish man and make sure I follow the customs and be an example for younger people.

In Sheva we talked a lot about history and customs, and prayed a lot together, which gave me time to spend in community with my peers.

For my mitzvah project, I went to a soup kitchen in Uptown Charlotte where they feed the homeless every Tuesday and Friday. My mom and I went to the soup kitchen to pass out food and box up food to give to people to take with them. It felt good to help people out and to see how thankful they were.

Now that I am a Jewish adult, I will continue to practice my Judaism with my parents, and one day with my own family.

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