L'Shanah Tovah! The Clergy & Staff of Temple Beth El wish you a happy, healthy, and sweet New Year.
We look forward to welcoming the year 5778 with you at Rosh Hashanah services.

Temple offices will be closed on Wednesday,(9/20), Thursday, (9/21), and Friday, (9/22) and will reopen on Monday, (9/25).

B’nei Mitzvah


Samantha Agisim

Parashat Nitzavim - Vayeilech
Saturday, September 16

My favorite things about being Jewish are all of the different types of food we get to eat at holidays, family gatherings or whenever your mom feels like cooking something high in sodium. For me, becoming a Bat Mitzvah means that I am now responsible for passing Jewish teachings and traditions on to others.

In preparing for my bat mitzvah, I learned that I am a great procrastinator and that I can stay up very late at night. My mitzvah project was working with fellow volunteers to help socialize with cats to help them get adopted. We would also clean the cages, replace their water, and sometimes I’d even have to clean the litter box. I chose this mitzvah project because I had heard of some of my friends doing this for a mitzvah project and really learning a lot from the experience so I decided to give it a shot. Sure enough, my mitzvah project taught me responsibility. I now have a better understanding of what it truly means to be responsible and holding up your end of the deal when working with others.

After my Bat Mitzvah, I plan to keep learning about Judaism by passing the lessons down to others to keep the religion thriving and I will also go to services to keep up to speed on my prayers!

Samantha is the daughter of Keith and Debbie Agisim and the sister of Jonah. Please send messages of Mazel Tov to Debbie.

Olivia Schwartz

Parashat Ki Tavo
Saturday, September 9

My favorite thing about being Jewish is the food and experiences. Becoming a Bat Mitzvah to me means becoming an adult in the eyes of God. While practicing for my Bat Mitzvah I learned practice makes perfect. My mitzvah project was focused on cleaning up a neighborhood and taking care of animals. I will continue my Judaism actively participating at Temple and celebrating holidays.

My parents are Susan and Tyson Schwartz. My sister is Hannah Schwartz. My grandparents are Don and Marge Schwartz and Ann and Saul Rossein, z’’l. Mazel Tov messages can be sent to Susan.

Jesse Handler

Parashat Ki Tavo
Saturday, September 9

My favorite thing about being Jewish is challah. I really love it – it’s the perfect mix of fluffy and yummy. To me, becoming a Bar Mitzvah means that I should be getting more freedoms because I’m transitioning into being an adult.

Preparing for my Bar Mitzvah taught me that although things are hard at first, if you keep doing them and keep practicing, they will get easier and easier. Normally, I would push things aside or put them off if there was something I didn’t want to do…even if it was something that I had to do. Preparing for my Bar Mitzvah forced me to realize that what my parents and sister have said all along is true – things get easier the more you do them and you will continue to improve as long as you continue to try.

Jesse is the son of Lori and Keith Handler and the brother of Alexis. Jesse’s Grandparents are Penny Fierstein (Palm Beach Gardens, FL), Audrey and Seymour Handler (Boynton Beach, FL), and Norman and Laura Veis (Durham, NC). Please send messages of mazel tov to Lori.

Sarah Andrews

Parashat Shoftim
Saturday, August 26

Being Jewish is remarkable. Even though sometimes being Jewish can be hard, I have always found something to make up for the difficult moment. I don’t know many who can say they spent all their life learning Hebrew, or that every week they have a holiday.

Becoming a Bat Mitzvah is a massive achievement for me. It shows that I’ve worked hard and followed directions throughout Hebrew school, tutoring every Sunday/Monday and even twice a week during my four weeks at camp. I know it’s worth it in the end because it means I get to celebrate with a large amount of my family, both people I’ve grown up with and those who I am just meeting – and of course the people who are actually related to me.

My Bat Mitzvah project was centered around Oasis. I got to spend time with people who are lots of fun and are much wiser than me. But learning about their lives and experiences made me so happy. I became friends with people whom I otherwise might never have met. I got to participate in chair yoga, art class and rummikub. I chose Oasis because it sounded like the perfect project for me. And of course it ended up being better than I thought it would be.

After my Bat Mitzvah I will continue to learn about Judaism by learning more Hebrew, assisting in Hebrew school classes and by taking my birthright trip to Israel when I turn 18.

Sarah Andrews is the daughter of Amy and Neil Andrews. She is the sister of Hannah, Hailey, Hannah, and Hazel. She is the granddaughter of Karen and Marlin Howard and Marge and Al Andrews. Notes of mazel tov can be sent to ncneil@windstream.net.

Ryan Kaplan

Parashat R'eih
Saturday, August 19

My favorite part about being Jewish is celebrating the holidays – I especially like Passover because I get to spend time with my extended family that live out of town.

Becoming a Bar Mitzvah is important because it shows that you are determined to work hard for a long period and continue the tradition of becoming a Bar Mitzvah.  I learned how to better manage my time, especially during the school year, to be ready for my tutoring each week.  I have also learned more about the stories in the Torah by reading about my portion.

I feel better because of my community service for my Mitzvah project.  At Urban Ministries, I helped prepare and serve meals to the homeless.  I also helped set up tables and get napkins and silverware ready.  It made me feel better because I knew that I helped people who are less fortunate than I am.  I also helped collect food for the needy as a member of Boy Scouts.  These helped me fulfill the mitzvah of feeding the hungry.

After my Bar Mtizvah, I plan to follow the traditions of being a Jewish adult, such as fasting on Yom Kippur and eventually I would like to lead my family in the Passover Seder.

Ryan is the son of Jen and Jon Kaplan.  He is the brother of Robert Kaplan. Messages of Mazel Tov can be sent to jonkaplan@att.net.

See B'nei Mitzvah Archive