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.
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 email@example.com.
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Saturday, April 22
My favorite thing about being Jewish is the food. My family is Ashkenazic – which means that the Jewish food our family eats is Eastern European and is often fried. It’s delicious!
Becoming a Bar Mitzvah means responsibility to me. I have increasing amounts of responsibilities as an emerging adult in the Jewish community. For me, this includes learning, Jewish living, and Jewish giving. In Sheva we learn about what it means to be Jewish and how that impacts our life. I have learned that we have appreciate where our Jewish heritage came from, the steps our ancestors took, and the values that I will need to have to ensure that Judaism continues to live and thrive.
For my mitzvah project, I volunteered at a Crisis Assistance. I chose Crisis Assistance because to help people less fortunate than me. I plan to enroll in Hebrew High, and become a madrich and tutor.
My mom’s name is Elizabeth and my dad’s name is Jared. I have a 15 year old sister named Alexandra. My mom’s parents live on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and my dad’s parents live in Randallstown, Maryland, which is a suburb of Baltimore. Email words of mazel tov to email@example.com.
Saturday, April 1
I love being Jewish because I am able to live by the Torah. Becoming a Bat Mitzvah means that I am officially an adult in the Jewish community and able to take on more responsibility. During this process, I became closer to my Jewish community and had so much fun while doing it. I also learned to be a self-starter and that I can accomplish any task.
For my mitzvah project, I volunteered at the Cyzner Institute, a school for children with disabilities. I chose to do this because I love kids and have a special place in my heart for these children. In my elementary school in Kansas City, students were mixed in with kids with disabilities. This was a really cool experience! My school here doesn’t have that, and I miss those relationships. I appreciated the opportunity to reconnect with kids with disabilities. It was really fun, and I enjoyed it so much I asked to volunteer another week!
Becoming a Jewish adult is a really big deal, and I know I will be given more responsibility now. I plan to keep studying Torah, keep living the Jewish life, including coming to services, and possibly become a Hebrew tutor.
Lauren is the daughter of Alexis and Chris Schwartz. She is the sister of Jacob Drew. She has three sets of grandparents, Darlene and Ed Wilson of Anderson IN, Mona and David Schwartz of Carmel IN, and Carole and Jerry Sternstein who live in Charlotte NC. Notes of Mazel Tov can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Saturday, April 1
My favorite part of being Jewish is celebrating Shabbat. At URJ 6 Points Sports Camp, we got to celebrate Shabbat with lots of music – it was more about having fun and enjoying our time together and didn’t feel as formal as Shabbat sometimes feels.
For me, becoming a Bar Mitzvah means that physically and mentally I am becoming a Jewish man. It’s an honor to stand up on the bima and become a Jewish citizen – it’s a big deal, and I want to take it seriously. Throughout my preparation for this day, I have learned that in order to achieve something you can’t slack off. You have to put work into it in order to achieve your goal.
For my mitzvah project, I chose to work with Lil’ Hoopers, a program at the JCC that teaches little kids to play basketball. I like kids, and it is important to be an example for them because they look up to me.
Now that I am a Bar Mitzvah, I plan to continue to go to temple on High Holidays and to hopefully become a counselor at 6 Points.
Zac is the son of Jennifer Weintraub and Mark Weintraub. He is the brother of Jonah. He is the grandson of Trish and Art Hurvitz and Rena and Ron Weintraub. Notes of mazel tov can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, March 25
What I enjoy most about being Jewish is that it introduces you to a complete, minority culture. There’s Hebrew as the language, Judaism as the religion, the country of Israel (which I hope to visit one day), holidays and traditions (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Purim & Hanukkah), special foods (hamantaschen & matzah ball soup) and clothing (kippot and tallit).
For my Bar Mitzvah, it means so much to me to become an adult member of the congregation. Thanks to my Hebrew tutoring, I am now an active participant during Shabbat services, and enjoy reciting the prayers in Hebrew along with the other adult congregants. Becoming a Bar Mitzvah has also helped me form a special bond with Pop-Pop, my Mom’s Father, as he has shared his Bar Mitzvah experience with me. I have learned through Sheva that Judaism teaches us to be considerate of others, to respect peoples’ differences, and to always look for ways to help other people by doing good deeds or mitzvot.
For my mitzvah project, I have volunteered in a couple of different areas. I worked the popcorn stand at my sister’s elementary school for her Fall Festival. It was fun to make everyone happy with a hot bag of popcorn. I have also volunteered at Bright Blessings, an organization that serves homeless and impoverished children in the Charlotte area. I filled baby bags for homeless mothers with necessary items like bottles, formula, thermometers, baby wash & lotion, and a DVD on how to care for a baby; along with some comfort items like a warm blanket and a stuffed animal. I also delivered birthday items to a shelter so the homeless children could enjoy a real birthday party complete with gifts, a cake and party packs. It really feels good to volunteer and help other people and know that you are making their day brighter.
To keep learning about and living Judaism, I will continue volunteering, I will head to Hebrew High next year, continue to actively participate in Shabbat services and hopefully be a Hebrew tutor for other upcoming Bar and Bat Mitzvah students.
My parents are Kim Itkoff DeSalvo and Chris DeSalvo, and my sister is Rae Brooke DeSalvo. My Grandparents are Margo and Jerry Itkoff of Cincinnati, Ohio; Pat Cavelius and the late George Cavelius of Roswell, Georgia; and Joan and Frank DeSalvo of Redding, Connecticut. Please send Mazel Tovs to the following email addresses: email@example.com (Mom); Christopher.firstname.lastname@example.org (Dad); email@example.com (Itkoff grandparents).
Parashat Ki Tissa
Saturday, March 18
My favorite thing about being Jewish is that I can always have a family and community to count on. To become a bat mitzvah to me means that I participate in a religious ceremony which makes me a daughter of the commandments. While preparing for my bat mitzvah I have learned that if I put in the work, I will succeed.
My mitzvah project involved preparing and going to an assisted living facility to spend time with some elderly women to make them happy. A friend of mine and I danced for them which they loved. One day we helped them make holiday cards for their family and friends and another day we decorated cookies with them. I chose to do my mitzvah project because I like to make people smile and I know many ladies there get lonely. I get a lot of joy out of helping and would love to go again. I plan to keep learning about Judaism even when I’m older. I can go to Friday and even Saturday services with my family. When I’m older, I will have kids and I will send them to Hebrew School and they will learn and hopefully share with me about what they learned.
Taylor is the daughter of Keri and Paul Cheifetz. She is the sister of Ryan Cheifetz and the granddaughter of Nancy and Gary Peters of Port Washington, NY, Wendy and Michael Schonfeld of Clover, SC, and Linda and Ira Cheifetz of Princeton Jct, NJ. Notes of Mazel Tov can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parashat Ki Tissa
Saturday, March 18
My favorite thing about being Jewish is all of the friends I have made over the years in Jewish programming. Becoming a Bar Mitzvah means that I am now a Jewish adult, and that I have more responsibilities. I have learned that patience is key in learning Hebrew and learning more about Judaism. Being patient and being responsible helped me decide that I wanted to be a mentor for kids newly diagnosed with Type I Diabetes as well as collect snacks for Camp Carolina Trails (CCT).
CCT is a summer camp for kids with Type I Diabetes. I chose this project along with mentoring kids new to diabetes because helping others with a disease that I have lets them know that life goes on and can still be wonderful. I have been successful in my own care and want others to know that they can do the same. I feel that my project has given me a great start to being a responsible Jewish adult. I will keep living Jewishly by celebrating the holidays with family and friends and by helping others.
Spencer B. Lipson is the only child of Jill and Marc Lipson. His maternal grandparents are Linda and Robert Brandt of Metairie, Louisiana. His paternal grandparents are Wendy and Martin Lipson of Potomac, Maryland. Please send all Mazel Tov emails to email@example.com.
Saturday, March 4
My favorite aspects of Judaism are the traditions and holidays, spending time with family, and the community here at Temple Beth El. The significance of becoming Bat Mitzvah is taking on new responsibilities, becoming a leader in my community, and maintaining my commitment to volunteer work. In going through Sheva and completing my Bat Mitzvah studies, I’ve realized I am a procrastinator and that is something I can continue to work on within myself.
My Mitzvah project was Peer Buddies, working with disabled students in my school. This experience was more enjoyable for me personally than I thought it would be, and has helped me grow as a person. I chose Peer Buddies because I felt it was a great way to help and take on more responsibilities at school. I’m so happy I did. I’m looking forward to continuing my involvement in our community through volunteering as a Madricha and possibly enrolling in Hebrew High. As a young Jewish adult I plan to continue the holiday traditions with my family and attend High Holy Day Services.
Olivia is the daughter of Hollis and Ulrich Blank. She is the sister of Sofia and granddaughter of Anna and Sigfried Blank of Gundelsdorf, Germany and Peter Schwartz of Tamarac, Florida. Send messages of Mazel Tov to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, March 4
My favorite aspects of Judaism are celebrating the High Holy Days with my family and being part of the greater Jewish Community here at Temple Beth El. I’ve made deep and lasting connections with many of my teachers through my years here at religious school and thoroughly enjoy my time at BBYO and NFTY where I get to hang out with friends while also deepening my religious experiences. Becoming Bat Mitzvah means taking on greater responsibility within the Jewish community and maintaining my commitments through leadership and service. Through my religious school experience I have learned that coming together with my Jewish peers brings me a sense of closeness to the religious and cultural aspects of Judaism, and provides me with a sense of connectedness to God.
I am very fortunate that I have many opportunities to do Mitzvot throughout the year. Through my mom and other adults in my community I have been able to make meal bags that were shipped all over the world to poverty stricken regions, done several volunteer projects with Hearts of the Carolinas, including feeding the needy and wrapping and handing out gifts for the holidays. I have been to Ronald McDonald house on more than one occasion, Friendship Trays, Bright Blessings, even raised and donated money to a local animal rescue. I look forward to continuing helping those in my community who are less fortunate.
I plan to keep learning about and living Judaism by attending services, and maintaining my involvement in my various youth organizations. I realize as I am halfway through my first year of Madricha how important is to be a good role model for the younger students.
Sofia is the daughter of Hollis and Ulrich Blank. She is the sister of Olivia and granddaughter of Anna and Sigfried Blank of Gundelsdorf, Germany and Peter Schwartz of Tamarac, Florida. Send messages of Mazel Tov to email@example.com.
Saturday, February 18
My favorite thing about being Jewish is learning all the traditions and customs, like playing dreidel, searching for the afikomen, and eating matzah ball soup and challah. Becoming a bar mitzvah means finding a path to my Jewish adulthood. Preparing for my Bar Mitzvah has taught me how to be a confident Jew, by connecting to God, prayers, the texts of our tradition, and community.
My mitzvah project was helping with the Shalom Park Freedom School. I helped underprivileged kids with their reading, participated with them in Harambee (their opening song session), helped serve breakfast and lunch, and did fun afternoon activities with them. I chose this project because I like helping these children learn so that they can do great things for the world. I learned that I am very fortunate to have everything I have in life. I plan to keep learning about Judaism by going back to Israel, attending Hebrew High, and volunteering at the Freedom School.
David is the son of Steve and Lisa Garfinkle and the brother of Sarah, Jason and Ellen Garfinkle. He is the grandson of Bill and Betsy Knott of Titusville, Florida, Roberta Sonneborn and the late Charles Sonneborn of Delray Beach Florida, and the late Jack B. Garfinkle. Words of Mazel Tov may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, February 18
My favorite part of being Jewish is the holidays because they are different from the holidays that my friends celebrate. Being a Bar Mitzvah means that I have more responsibilities in my home life and in my religious life. From going to Sheva and preparing for my Bar Mitzvah, I have learned that having a Bar Mitzvah is hard work. It is also rewarding because I know that I have accomplished something special. I am also excited to see my family and celebrate with my friends and family.
For my Mitzvah project, I volunteered at an adult day care called Adult Care and Share. I interacted with the seniors by playing games with them and talking with them. I chose to volunteer at Adult Care and Share because my grandma works there and I went there when I was younger. It is good to socialize with the elderly because you can learn a lot from them. I plan on continuing to learn about Judaism by becoming a madrich and tutor for the upcoming B’nei Mitzvah students.
Nathan’s parents are Janna and Michael Stein. His siblings are Louisa and Jacob. Nathan is the grandson of Madlyn Stein of Charlotte, NC and the late Robert Stein and of Charlie Bittinger of Newton, NC and the late Janet Bittinger and of David Drinkard (Jewel) of Charlotte, NC . Please send messages of Mazel Tov to email@example.com.
Saturday, February 4
My favorite thing about being Jewish is celebrating all the holidays with my family and carrying on the Jewish tradition of publicly marking my becoming a bar mitzvah. Becoming a Bar Mitzvah means that I am now responsible for continuing Jewish lessons and values in my own life. In preparing for my Bar Mitzvah I have learned that a task that seems overwhelming at the start is actually quite manageable with the right help and practice. I plan to continue my Jewish education by attending Hebrew High and continuing my involvement in the Jewish community by spending summers at 6 Points.
My mitzvah project was volunteering with the Isabella Santos Foundation. This foundation helps raise money, through organized walks and runs, for children with cancer. I helped organize a team, helped participants register for the race, set up for the race, and worked at a children’s booth throughout the day. I also made a donation in honor of my Bar Mitzvah to this wonderful foundation. I chose this as my Mitzvah project because it’s a good cause and I want to help raise awareness for children who are sick. I think it is really important to recognize how blessed I am to be healthy and help children who are not as fortunate.
Steven is the son of Terri and Richard James. He is the brother of Rebecca James and grandson of Susan and Howard Burger of Fort Mill, South Carolina and Bea and David James of West Palm Beach, Florida. Messages of Mazel Tov can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, February 4
Becoming a Bar Mitzvah means accepting adult responsibilities in my Jewish life – paying more attention to the rules and being more mature about following them. It is my responsibility to incorporate the teachings of Torah in my daily life. In preparing for my Bar Mitzvah, I came across challenges and often was unsure of myself. I learned that if I dedicate myself to being the best I can be, then I can succeed.
For my Bar Mitzvah project I chose to work at the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte. First, I took some money that I had and put it towards buying some food items such as peanut butter crackers and granola bars. I made 200 bags with various items. I served lunch at the Men’s Shelter and also gave out the bags. The men that came through the line were very grateful for their plate of food and it showed me how fortunate I am to have a warm bed to sleep in and food on the table each day. One man especially spoke with me and encouraged me to always do the right thing and always pay attention in school and get a good education. There are a lot of things I still do not know about Judaism. Continuing going to temple is a perfect way to keep learning.
Jared is the son of Leonard and Cynthia Schnall and brother of Jordan. His grandparents are Josephine Mohr of Fort Mill, SC and the late John Mohr, and the late Martin and Lillian Schnall of Deer Park, NY.
Messages of Mazel Tov can be sent to email@example.com.
Saturday, January 28
To me, becoming a bat mitzvah means gaining new responsibilities and becoming confident and proud to be a Jew. My favorite thing about being Jewish is being unique and different from most of my friends. My mitzvah project was volunteering at Sunrise, a senior center. My friend Taylor and I danced for the residents. On one occasion we made holiday cards and on another day we helped to decorate cookies with the residents. We chose to do this because we both love to dance and thought it would be really fun to spend some time with other people that are not our own age. While doing this I learned how good it feels to do something nice for others and how lucky I am for being able to help. I plan to keep learning about Judaism after my bat mitzvah by still going to temple with my family as well going to Jewish summer camp.
Halle’s parents are Anne and Jonathan Brackis. Her brother is Dylan Brackis. Halle is the granddaughter of Larry and Dale Polsky of Charlotte, NC and Toni Brackis, and the late Fred Brackis, of New Rochelle, NY. Please send messages of Mazel Tov to firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, January 28
Judaism has unique traditions and a rich heritage. I love celebrating the holidays with my family and learning how my mom and her family celebrated when she was growing up. Becoming a Bar Mitzvah shows how I have developed character, commitment, and patience. Our Jewish tradition teaches that my Bar Mitzvah makes me a Jewish adult in the eyes of the community. One thing I have learned is that it is important for me to keep learning about my Jewish faith. Learning how to read and chant Torah and Haftarah has been an exciting challenge. It amazes me how much I have learned and how much I have yet to learn about our faith. I look forward to contributing my energy to help our community. As a Jewish adult, I plan to keep learning and living with Judaism by staying active and celebrating and learning about all of our holidays.
For my Bar Mitzvah project I chose to volunteer as an assistant for the Jewish Community Center youth basketball program. I helped little kids learn about the sport I love the most. It was so much fun seeing young athletes get excited about basketball like I did when I was little. I am so excited about becoming a Bar Mitzvah and can’t wait to see what is ahead of me in my Jewish life.
Cole is the son of Todd and Stacey Schanzlin. He is the brother of Michael and Ava. He is the grandson of Ronald and Sharon Kaplan who live in Harrisburg, PA and Donald and Patricia Schanzlin who live in Phillipsburg, NJ. Words of Mazel Tov can be sent to email@example.com.
Saturday, January 7
My favorite part about being Jewish is celebrating Jewish holidays with my family. It’s fun to be surrounded by family. Chanukah is my favorite because you get gifts and the food is great. To me, becoming a bar mitzvah means becoming a man: to be grown up, to be mature, to keep trying even when it seems really hard, and to help family out when they need it.
For my Mitzvah Project, I helped the elderly at Walden Wood – I spent time with them, cheering them up and helping them be happy. We visited their homes and helped keep them company. We danced and went to concerts together. Spending time with them made me feel good. It was nice to help them feel better.
Joey Padow is the son of Amy and Richard Padow. He is the grandson of Grandma Ricki, Papa Jan, and Grandma Sandy. Notes of mazel tov can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.