B’nei Mitzvah Archive

November 2017

Blake Sterling

Parashat Chayei Sarah
Saturday, November 11

My favorite thing about being Jewish is that it is not like the other religions. We have more holidays, our own new year and we have the day of atonement! Becoming a Bat Mitzvah means that I have more responsibilities and duties in the eyes of God. In Sheva, I have learned that hard work pays off in the end.

I have done several things for my Mitzvah project. I volunteered at the Matthews Alive Festival to pick up trash and spent many hours helping the faculty and staff get ready for school before school started. I plan to keep learning about Judaism by attending services at Temple.

Blake and Logan Sterling are the daughters of Brian and Elizabeth Sterling. They are identical twin sisters. They are the granddaughters of Annette and Tom Landvatter of West Bend, WI and Alan and Pam Sterling of Indian Land, SC. Notes of Mazel Tov can be sent to: mrseasterling@gmail.com.

Logan Sterling

Parashat Chayei Sarah
Saturday, November 11

My favorite thing about being Jewish is listening to all of the stories in the Torah. I find them fascinating. Becoming a bat mitzvah, means that I am officially a part of my Jewish community. I have learned that it requires hard work to accomplish a big task.

My mitzvah project consisted of helping my teachers set up their classrooms during the summer and participation in the Open House for new students. I also cleaned up trash during Matthews Alive Festival. I chose these tasks because I wanted to find ways to help my community and be more involved. When I was cleaning up trash and setting up classrooms, I learned that there are tasks we shouldn’t take for granted. I realize now that our teachers work countless hours to make our learning environment as clean and fun as possible. I also came to understand how much work and effort is put into simply picking up trash. I plan to keep learning about and living with Judaism by going to services and to read and learn the stories of my Jewish ancestors.

Blake and Logan Sterling are the daughters of Brian and Elizabeth Sterling. They are identical twin sisters. They are the granddaughters of Annette and Tom Landvatter of West Bend, WI and Alan and Pam Sterling of Indian Land, SC. Notes of Mazel Tov can be sent to: mrseasterling@gmail.com.

October 2017

Lily Fitzgerald

Parashat Lech L'cha
Saturday, October 28

My favorite thing about being Jewish is the community – how everyone’s like so close together. It’s like family; my Sheva class all has sleepovers and hangs out all the time. For me, becoming a Bat Mitzvah means I become a Jewish woman – and it also means I have to fast, which I’m not looking forward to. In preparing for my bat mitzvah, I learned how skilled I am at procrastination.

For my mitzvah project, Cameron and I did a number of things. We volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House, the Dream Center, and with the elderly. The Dream Center was my favorite. We spent time with them at a park, and even though the park didn’t have any of the play equipment most parks I am used to have, the kids played just as well; I was impressed by how creative they were.

As a Jewish adult, I plan to observe all my holidays, keep going to services and lots of other b’nei mitzvah, stay in Sheva this year and sign up for Hebrew High next year, and be a madricha.

Lily Fitzgerald is the daughter of Randie and Stephen. She is the sister of Sarah and Isabella. She is the granddaughter of Sheila and Mossy Fitzgerald of London, England and Yaffa Schacter of Manhattan, New York. Send Lily notes of mazel tov.

 

Cameron Sikora

Parashat Lech L'cha
Saturday, October 28

I love being Jewish because it is about learning and passing along tradition. Every year, my family gathers around a long table for Passover. We say our prayers, we sing songs, we play games, and have traditional food that has been carried on and shared for generations. I always look forward to matzah and charoset and my Bubby’s homemade matzah ball soup. These foods and song shave been tradition for years and we still carry them out to this day. After the feast my Pop-pop would hide a stack of matzah and all the children would go and find it to get a prize.

As my bat mitzvah draws closer and closer, I’m getting very excited, but have struggled with balancing homework, softball and studying for the big event. Balancing all of these has taught me time management and organization skills going forward.

For my mitzvah project I focused on my love for working with kids, my love for food, and helping the less fortunate. I served the homeless at King’s Kitchen, which is a nonprofit organization that lets volunteers serve meals to the homeless in Charlotte. When I was serving these people I knew that I was helping them in so many ways without judging them. I also did some mitzvahs with Lilly Fitzgerald. We played with kids at Adopt a Block through Dream Center. Adopt a Block is a project that lets volunteers interact with kids and adults in neighborhoods that are less fortunate than ours. Seeing children’s faces light up as the volunteers gathered them to play games in the park and seeing their smiles, their want to hold hands and to be held made me feel like I was making a difference for once and making a positive impact to a child’s life for the better. Lilly and I also prepared a meal for the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House. This made me feel like I was making it easier for the families with children in the hospital. With all the stress of having a child in the hospital I feel I have made their lives at least a little bit easier. While participating in these mitzvahs I got to interact with the people that were less fortunate than us. I got to be a part in their lives and make a difference. I got to play with children that don’t get the time to play with their families. I hope in the future I make time to continue in these mitzvahs.

I imagine my future as a Jewish adult to be hardworking and educational. I want to continue learning the Hebrew language and soon become fluent in this language. I want to travel to Israel and see all these important destinations that I have been learning about for years. In the future I plan to continue in my mitzvahs and attend services during Shabbat, high holidays, and future bat and bar mitzvahs.

Cameron Sikora is the daughter of Mara and Brian Sikora. She is the sister of Megan Sikora, and granddaughter of Molly and Mark Ballow in Sarasota, Florida, Deborah Sikora in Travelers Rest, South Carolina and Jerry Sikora in Buffalo, New York. Send messages of mazel tov to Cameron.

Yarden Asofsky

Parashat B'reishit
Saturday, October 14

My favorite thing about being Jewish might just be all the warmth and welcoming. I also love the holidays and being with my family. I know I can count on them to have plenty of good food and many hugs and kisses.

For me, becoming a Bat Mitzvah means reaching a whole new level in my Judaism and being accepted even more into the Jewish community. I have learned about myself that I love to procrastinate, but if something means a lot to me I am able to put in the time and effort to make sure I can succeed. I plan to keep studying my Judaism by going to Hebrew School for more years and getting confirmed and continuing to go to Temple.

Notes of congratulations can be sent to Lilach Asofsky.

Beau DiMartino

Parashat B'reishit
Saturday, October 14

Being Jewish is amazing! I love learning Hebrew and the history of Judaism. However, my favorite part of being Jewish is the tasty food. At Passover, I can always look forward to seeing a big bowl of haroset next to the seder plate.

As I approach my Bar Mitzvah date, becoming a Bar Mitzvah is getting exciting. I feel like I’m one step closer to being an adult and more importantly, a Jewish adult. My hard work will come through as I recite prayers, torah and haftarah portions, which I have been learning all these years.

As a bar mitzvah student, I have learned the importance of being part of a Jewish community and a congregation. My mitzvah project helped me recognize the importance of giving back to the community. My mitzvah project was using my love of music and playing cello. I learned that music is important therapy for patients that suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. With the help of my cello instructor, I decided that I wanted to give back to my community and play cello for residents at senior homes. Specifically, we played in the Memory Care Units within these homes. What I got out of my project, was the feeling of helping others and why it is important to care for others. When we played music for them, I noticed they swayed their head and tapped their feet to the beat of the music. I felt inspired to continue this project after my bar mitzvah, not because it made me feel good, but because it probably made them happy.

After my bar mitzvah, I would like to learn how to speak Hebrew fluently, continue to attend Sabbath services and eventually, travel to Israel through Birthright. Additionally, I would like to participate in Jewish youth groups in Charlotte.

Beau is the son of Edward and Dina DiMartino. He is the brother of Sydney and Jillian. He is the grandson of Ronald and Ann Switzer of Rye Brook NY, Michael and Rebecca DiMartino of Golden Bridge NY, and Barbara Switzer of New York, NY. Send messages of mazel tov to Beau.

Raya Levin

Parashat Chol HaMo-eid Sukkot
Saturday, October 7

My favorite thing about being Jewish is the sense of connection. I love being able to identify with a group of other people who share the same beliefs as I do. To me, becoming a Bat Mitzvah means that I have reached the most vital milestone in a Jewish girl’s life. I’m committing myself from now till the day I die to live a Jewish life.

In preparing for my Bat Mitzvah I have learned to step up and take responsibility. At camp, for instance, I had to take time out of my day to study, instead of spending time with my friends. In doing mitzvot within my Charlotte community, I learned that there are people way worse off than me and I should try to do my best to give back more often. As a Jewish adult I plan on joining BBYO and celebrating holidays often as possible.

Raya Levin is the daughter of Douglas and Hope Levin, sister of Drew Levin, granddaughter of Richard and Gail Levin of Sarasota, Florida and Roz Shaffer of Louisville, Kentucky. Send messages of mazel tov to Raya.

Hudson Markel

Parashat Chol HaMo-eid Sukkot
Saturday, October 7

There are a lot of things I like about being Jewish. One thing is the food: grandma’s chopped liver (not the stuff you buy at the store), matzo brei, challah, smoked fish, and brisket. My list goes on and on, except for gefilte fish.

Becoming a bar mitzvah means that I am responsible for my relationship with God and the community. My mitzvah project was playing an assortment of instruments for the elderly residents at Sunrise. I chose this because ever since I was six years old I have been playing one instrument or another. I wanted to share this talent with other people. It felt really good to make people’s day and bring joy by playing music for elderly people.

As a Jewish Adult I plan to attend services, to wear a tallis, to fast on Yom Kippur, and do mitzvot. I also plan to tutor other students preparing for their bar mitzvah.

Hudson Markel is the son of Larry and Amy Markel. He is the brother of Bryce and Alana. He is the grandson of Sabina and Max Markel of Charlotte, NC, and Gladys and John Cannizzaro of Jacksonville, FL. Send notes of mazel tov to Hudson.

September 2017

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.

August 2017

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.

Jack Kelly

Parashat R'eih
Saturday, August 19

My favorite thing about being Jewish is learning about the Torah and reading Hebrew. It is very important to me to become a bar mitzvah because it means I will be a man in Jewish society and shows that I am growing up! I have learned lots about myself in Sheva and bar mitzvah classes. In addition, I got to spend time studying Torah, and discovered that I like Torah because it gives me a window into how people saw the world over 2000 years ago.

For my bar mitzvah project, I worked at the food bank, sorting food. I am very appreciative of people that sort food every single weekend who volunteer their time not because they have an obligation to fulfill but simply just to help other people. I am planning on participating in Hebrew High and Confirmation to learn more about Judaism and myself.

Jack Kelly is the son of Matthew Kelly and Jamie Jonas. He is the brother of Violet and Tess. He is the grandson of Martha and Mike O’Brien and Sherry and Bob Kelly. Notes of mazel tov can be sent to: matthew.charles.kelly@gmail.com.

Andrew Newmark

Parashat Va'etchanan
Saturday, August 5

 

My favorite thing about being Jewish is that I’m unique amongst my friends. I stand out and I’m proud to call myself a Jew. It means so much to me that I’m becoming a Bar Mitzvah. I have been looking forward to it ever since my brother had his four years ago. I have a mixture of feeling towards my Bar Mitzvah including, excitement, nervousness, and thrill. I have learned so much about myself in this process and it has helped me discover the different aspects of myself.

I also learned that when I put my mind to getting something done, that I can easily finish it if I
stay focused. My Mitzvah project, which is still ongoing, was when I worked with younger
baseball players. My team practiced with 8 year olds and it was so fun to help teach them the
basics and more baseball knowledge. I got the opportunity to help them field the ball and teach
them how to play infield. I chose this because I love working with kids and I always have a blast
helping them. Their baseball team is now in the coach pitch World Series and I couldn’t be
happier for them. My goal is to keep coaching and helping younger kids develop skills in the
sports I play. I plan to keep learning Judaism and living with Judaism by joining the BBYO
program. I have been looking forward to joining for so long. My brother is in the program and he loves it. I hope that my friends and I are able to join the program.

Andrew is the son of Steve and Laura Newmark and the brother of Scott. Please send messages of mazel tov to Steve and Laura.

Russell Golembe

Parashat Va'etchanan
Saturday, August 5

My favorite thing about being Jewish is that the food is great and the holidays are amazing. Also I love being Jewish because I love the community I have. I think that it is very important to have your bar mitzvah because it makes you a man in the Jewish community and now you are thought of as a grown man in Judaism.

I have learned that prepping for my bar mitzvah is just like sports; you have to practice a lot and never give up. Also I have learned that I do better when I have an energetic tutor.

For my Mitzvah Project, I spent the night at On Deck, which is my baseball facility. I went there and we did a lot of activities with kids younger than us and it was a lot of fun. When I am done with my bar mitzvah I want to go further in Judaism by doing BBYO with Andrew.

Russell is the son of Brett and Nena Golembe and the brother of Nia and Natalie. Please send messages of mazel tov to Brett and Nena.

July 2017

Lauryn Rosen

Parashat D'varim
Saturday, July 29

My favorite things about being Jewish are the traditions, food and holidays. I really love making homemade challah, and Passover is my favorite holiday because we have family and friends that come from many places and it is great to talk to them and have a seder together. To me, becoming a Bat Mitzvah means growing into another phase in my life with increased freedom, but also responsibility. I’m so glad my family and friends can celebrate with me.

For my mitzvah project, I helped workers at a soup kitchen prepare food for the homeless people who don’t have any food. The soup kitchen at Ascension Lutheran likes to make the place seem as much like a restaurant as possible, so I was a server who got guests drinks and brought them their food. Doing this project really opened my eyes to how many homeless people there are that need our help. Volunteering, even for just a few hours, can help a lot.  I plan to keep learning about Judaism and living with Judaism by keeping Jewish traditions and going to Hebrew High.

Lauryn is the daughter of Doug and Marlene Rosen. She is the sister of Avery, Emerson, and Delaney. She is the granddaughter of Marsha Rosen of  Fort Mill, SC, Ellen Schaadt of Van Wert, OH, Larry and Corinne Rosen of Miami, FL, Sandy and Joe Marschke of Constantine, MI and Liz Mast of Elkhart IN. Please send all Mazel Tovs to laurynmrosen@gmail.com.

Logan Mandell

Parashat D'varim
Saturday, July 29

My favorite thing about being Jewish is all of the holidays because I like all of the food and really enjoy coming together with family. To become a bar mitzvah means the world to me. It makes me feel I have accomplished something I have been preparing for since I was a baby.
During Sheva and in preparing for my bar mitzvah, I learned that I have my own personality. I now know Hebrew and more about Judaism.

My mitzvah project was helping lower-income families and playing with their kids. I also spent time at King’s Kitchen, a soup kitchen for homeless people, and I served and greeted guests coming to eat. I am so glad I did it, it definitely changed how I look at the world.
I will plan on being a Jewish adult by coming to services and going to other families bar/bat mitzvah services. Being Jewish will always be in me.

Logan is the son of Ross Mandell and Alicia Fink. He is the brother of Devon and the step-brother of Carson, Laney and Tabbi. He is the grandson of Ellen and Joel Mandell of Simsbury, Connecticut and Emily Roy of Kensington, Connecticut. Notes of mazel tov can be sent to rossmandell@mac.com.

Griffin Weidner

Parashat Matot/Masei
Saturday, July 22

My favorite things about being Jewish are all of the holidays, traditions, and food along with the ability to question and learn more about Judaism. For me, becoming a Bar Mitzvah means a lot because it signifies the end of a long journey in which I’ve had to learn many different prayers and sections of Torah. Throughout Sheva and the B’nei Mitzvah process, I’ve learned to be more motivated. I was never motivated to go to Hebrew and Sunday school when I was younger because….. well it was boring! I hated it, but once you’ve gone through the process of becoming a Bar Mitzvah, you realize that it’s an experience that you will remember. It teaches you many different things and you learn about a lot of stuff throughout the process. I want to try to keep up my participation in the Jewish community by going to most of the holiday services, Saturday and Friday once in awhile (when I don’t have soccer). I possible could become a madrich as well.

Griffin Weidner is the son of Greg and Julianne. He is the brother of Olivia and Eliza. Messages of mazel tov can be sent to gregweidner@gmail.com.

Isaac Gale

Parashat Balak
Saturday, July 8

My favorite part about being Jewish is getting to become a Bar Mitzvah. There are many great things that come with it like getting to become an adult in Judaism and having a party to celebrate with my friends and family.  I also get congratulations cards with money and probably other rewards from my parents. So becoming a Bar Mitzvah is all around good.

Preparing for my Bar Mitzvah was a lot of hard work and a big time commitment.  As a result,  I learned to manage time so that I was prepared each week for my tutoring.  This was more responsibility than I have had in the past.  The whole process helped me mature in my thinking about Judaism and gave me a new appreciation for what it means to be an adult in the Jewish community.

For my mitzvah project, I volunteered at Bright Blessings, an organization that serves homeless children or those whose parents can’t afford birthday presents or parties.  I prepared Bright Blessing packages for homeless kids at the shelters. I also helped make goodie bags for classroom celebrations, so birthday kids feel special, even if their parents cannot send cupcakes to school on their birthday.  I also volunteered at a group home operated by InReach, an organization that provides housing and vocational services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  I enjoyed helping those in need and it really made me appreciate everything I have in my life.

Isaac is the son of Dawn and Anthony Gale.  He is the brother of Ayla Gale. Words of Mazel Tov can be sent to dgale28226@gmail.com.