B’nei Mitzvah Archive

June 2018

Alexander Carmichael

Parashat Chukat
Saturday, June 23

My favorite thing about being Jewish is celebrating the holidays with my family. It is special to carry on the traditions that Jewish people have been celebrating for centuries. Becoming a Bar Mitzvah is important to me because it means that I am taking on more responsibilities and is a big milestone to lead the congregation in prayer. It has taken a great deal of work to become a Bar Mitzvah and this taught me that I can achieve whatever goals I want to accomplish. Also, in Sheva, I have learned how I can lead a Jewish life and that is important to me.

I did a few different activities for my mitzvah project. First, I sang to the elderly in nursing homes. I was really surprised how happy it made the residents feel to have me sing for them. I really enjoyed making them smile. My second activity was preparing meals for the hungry people in Guatemala through Servants with a Heart. I was shocked how just a little bit of the right amount of food could provide nutritious meals for so many people. My last project was preparing and serving a meal to the people staying at the Hospitality House of Charlotte. It felt really nice to help people whose loved ones are in the hospital. I can’t imagine how stressful that must be for them and I was happy to help prepare a home cooked meal for them.

I plan to continue living a Jewish life by continuing to attend services and celebrate holidays with my family. Being Jewish is important to me and I plan to carry on the traditions with my own family one day.

Alex is the son of Melissa Coates and Chad Carmichael. He is the brother of Sabrina Carmichael. He is the grandson of Judy and Richard Coates of Waxhaw, NC and James Carmichael z”l and Shirley Carmichael z”l. Send notes of congratulations.

Nina Geller

Parashat Chukat
Saturday, June 23 in Israel

My favorite thing about being Jewish is the opportunity to learn another language on the pathway to becoming a Jewish adult. A good knish on the streets of New York is also a delicious part of being Jewish. I love the shared experience of a good Jewish meal and how it connects us as a culture and as a family.

To become a Bat Mitzvah means that I understand and accept my responsibilities as a Jewish adult. It is especially meaningful to me that I am becoming a Bat Mitzvah in Israel. Three years ago, I watched my brother, JD, become a Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem and it means so much to me to be following in his footsteps. The path to becoming a Bat Mitzvah has been a long one. Though I was overwhelmed at the start, with the help of my tutors I gained confidence and now I feel fully prepared for my Bat Mitzvah. I particularly want to thank Cantor Mary and Rabbi Klass for their time and patience.

For my mitzvah project, I volunteered to help at Brookdale Senior Living Center. By working there, I aided my Bubbe Elaine, who also lives at the center. I always think that the Bubbes and Zadies there are so adorable, and I enjoy spending time with them. The best part was putting a smile on my Bubbe’s face whenever I came into Brookdale. Since I am now a Jewish adult, I plan to continue living with Judaism throughout my life and carrying on the Jewish traditions in my future family.

Nina is the daughter of Daniela and Harley Geller of Charlotte, NC and the sister to Joseph. Nina is also the granddaughter of Elaine Geller of Charlotte, NC and the granddaughter to Rina and Antonino Russo of San Diego, CA. Send Nina notes of mazel tov.

Rachel Potier

Parashat Chukat
Saturday, June 23 in Israel

My favorite thing about being Jewish is all of the friends I’ve made and all of the experiences. I met my best friend at the Jewish preschool, and I’ve also made many other special friends through Hebrew school. I enjoy spending time with them, because we share something so great in common, being Jewish. I also love all the experiences such as Bat Mitzvah services/parties, and many of the fun holidays. To me, becoming a Bat Mitzvah means “graduating” into Jewish adulthood. This process has made me more responsible and mature, by having to practice my prayers every day, even when sometimes I don’t really want to. I have learned that I can succeed at anything I want to as long as I put my full effort into it.

For my mitzvah project, I took my dog, Sadie to a nursing home/assisted living facility. There, we walked from room to room, allowing for seniors to meet and pet my dog. I chose to do this project, because my dog is so special and makes me so happy, therefore, I wanted to spread the love to people who truly needed it. It was amazing seeing the smiles from the seniors, and seeing the great joy that Sadie brought them. A few days after, I got an email from the nursing home stating that they had received a letter from a nurse saying that “they noticed a remarkable difference in one of the male residents while having a visit with Sadie”. This made me beyond ecstatic, because I had now known that meeting Sadie brought great joy and change in personality to a man that greeted her. In the future, I will keep learning about Judaism through attending services and events at the temple. I will also continue on with BBYO where I hope to learn and grow as a Jewish adult.

Noah Black

Parashat Korach
Saturday, June 16

My favorite thing about being Jewish is celebrating holidays like Hanukkah, Purim, and Passover.  During these times, my family gets together and makes special memories and carries on the traditions of my relatives before me.  To become a Bar Mitzvah means that I am growing up and having more responsibilities in the Jewish religion.  I will be treated more like an adult and will be expected to take ownership of how I practice and celebrate Judaism.  In preparing for my Bar Mitzvah, I have learned that there is so much meaning behind the prayers that I have been studying.  Although these prayers were written hundreds of years ago, they are still very relatable and have special meaning even today.

My mitzvah project focused on helping those in need, including collecting and making care packages of clothes, food and toys for the needy.  I chose this because I wanted to help people who are less fortunate than I am.  I am very thankful for the things that I have that others do not.  Although I am now a Bar Mitzvah, I know that my learning does not stop here.  I will continue to attend services at temple and serve as a role model for my brother as he prepares for his Bar Mitzvah.

Noah is the son of Leslee and Matt and the brother of Carter, the grandson of Paul and Lynette Diener of Raleigh, NC, Rona Black of Philadelphia, PA and Steve and Francee Black of Delray Beach, FL.  Messages of congratulations can be sent to his parents.

Lauren Loss

Parashat Korach
Saturday, June 16

I am becoming a Bat Mitzvah because it is Jewish tradition. I have been going to Hebrew school since the 3rd grade. I started out when I lived in Florida and when I moved to Charlotte in 2013, my family joined Temple Beth El and I started to attend Hebrew school here. Everyone in my family has become a B’nei Mitzvah so far. In the Fall, I plan on attending Hebrew High as well as continuing my Jewish Education.

For my mitzvah project, I was fortunate to do a couple of different things. First, I was able to lend my time to the South Charlotte Dog Rescue. It was so much fun to hang out with the dogs and make sure they go to the right “furever” homes. I also had the ability to help out with and organization called Bright Blessings. They help underprivileged and homeless children celebrate their birthday that they otherwise would not have been able to do. I am planning on continuing to help with both of these throughout the summer as well as help to teach gymnastics to children involved with Special Olympics at my gymnastics club. I am lucky enough to be able to train for competitions and I want to help those who need a bit of extra help.

Lauren is the daughter of Becca and Bill Loss and sister of Rachael (15).  She is the granddaughter of Wendy and Arnold Rosenthal of Boynton Beach, FL and Linda and Bill Loss of Niagara Falls, NY. Send words of mazel tov.

Doron Gundersheim

Parashat Sh'lach L'cha
Saturday, June 9

One of my favorite things about being Jewish is all the amazing food. Another thing I love about being Jewish is celebrating holidays with friends and family. Becoming a bar mitzvah means that I grow out of the child phase of being Jewish and start looking at life in a whole different way. In preparing to become a bar mitzvah, I learned that working hard is important, and the process of becoming a bar mitzvah is kinda fun.

For my mitzvah project, I helped collect shoes for Second Harvest Food Bank to give to children in Africa and Asia. I liked doing this project because I got to see my friends more, and I helped a good cause. I will also be reading to children during Freedom School. Freedom School is a summer program for at-risk children. I keep planning to learn about Judaism by participating in BBYO next year, as well as going to services and celebrating holidays with my family.

Doron is the son of Susan Cherin Gundersheim and Stephen Gundersheim. He is the brother of Hannah and Rebecca Gundersheim. He is the grandson of Herbert Cherin z’’l and Carol Cherin of Charlotte NC, and Marilyn and Julius Gundersheim of Hadley, MA. Please send messages of Mazel Tov here.

Joseph Taras

Parashat Sh'lach L'cha
Saturday, June 9

My favorite thing about being Jewish is feeling like I can connect to other Jewish people without even speaking. Becoming a Bar Mitzvah means to me that I learned what it takes to make something amazing happen. Through hard work, a lot of time and practice, I can do anything.

For my mitzvah project, I volunteered at the Crisis Assistance Ministry. I chose this project so I can help with the community of Charlotte. They help people with clothing and household stuff. It made me appreciate what I have that people don’t.  I have clothes, a nice home and other stuff people take for granted.

Joey is the son of Albert and Teri Taras. He is the brother of Samantha Taras. He is the grandson of Gail Adelman, z’’l and David Adelman of Aventura, Florida and Joseph and Ricki Taras of Rancho Mirage, CA.

Gabe Stein

Parashat B’haalot’cha
Saturday, June 2

My favorite thing about being Jewish is that we have a sense of community and caring that no other religion can compare to. Becoming a Bar Mitzvah means to me that I have gained a sense of responsibility or ahrayut. I have learned that it takes small things to make something bigger and that everything starts small and starts with a spark.

My mitzvah project was working at the Carolinas Aviation Museum and volunteering to help instruct young aviation enthusiasts learn about airport design. I got teamwork and helpfulness out of the mitzvah project. As I will be a Jewish adult soon, I plan on continuing my education by going to services and reading prayers.

Gabe is the son of Robyn and Jonathan. He is the oldest brother of Anna, Callie, and Zach. He is the grandson of Rochelle Barr and Sanford Lakin of Detroit, MI, Gilbert Stein of Memphis, TN and Joanne Seblatnigg of Naples, FL. Send notes of mazel tov to Gabe.

May 2018

Shayna Strasser

Parashat Naso
Saturday, May 26

My favorite part about being Jewish is the community. I love feeling like I am a part of something. I have made many friends through the Jewish community, and I am so thankful for that. To me, becoming a bat mitzvah means becoming a Jewish adult. I will become more mature and treated like an adult. While I was preparing for my bat mitzvah, I learned a lot about my Jewish culture by studying Torah. I also learned that to become a bat mitzvah takes a lot of hard work and dedication. As a Jewish adult, I plan to join Jewish youth groups to further my study of Judaism.

My mitzvah project was to bring cookies and a personalized note to some of my past teachers. I chose this project to make sure that my teachers know how much they have impacted my life. They have helped develop my love of learning, which will be a part of me forever. Delivering the cookies and notes made me an feel amazing because my teachers felt special and appreciated.

Shayna is the daughter of Amy and Jeff Strasser. She is the sister of Zachary and Lindsay Strasser. She is the granddaughter of Penny Krieger of Charlotte NC, Stanley Krieger of Miami FL, and Andy and Beverly Strasser of Boca Raton FL. Please send emails of Mazel Tov.

Hannah Weiss

Parashat Naso
Saturday, May 26

My favorite thing about being Jewish is that we get to connect with other Jewish people. Becoming a Bat Mitzvah means joining the Jewish community as an adult. For me, this means increased opportunities to learn, to teach as a madricha in Religious School, and participate in Hebrew High School and BBYO. I have really appreciated learning in Sheva because I have been able to be myself, allowed to joke around and have fun.

For part of my Mitzvah Project, I helped with Mitzvah Day. We packed bags full of school supplies and books for children at Sterling Elementary School. The bags contained a book, activities, and snacks. I learned that we can be grateful for the things we have and we can help give to others.

Hannah is the daughter Nina Weiss-Alicea and Gerald Alicea. She is the sister of Rayna and the step-sister Caitlyn. She is the granddaughter of Peter and Gail Rubenstein of Charlotte. Send notes of mazel tov.

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.

April 2018

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

March 2018

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.

Alex Fabrikant

Yom Rishon shel Pesach
Saturday, March 31

My favorite thing about being Jewish is the food and being different than almost everyone in my school. For me, having a bar mitzvah, or in this case a b’nei mitzvah, means becoming a man. What I learned in preparing for my bar mitzvah is that it is hard work, but it all pays out at the end.

My Mitzvah project was helping the people who don’t have a lot – I did things like passing out breakfast, providing warm jackets for the winter and playing soccer with kids in the community. I chose this for my Mitzvah project because I enjoy helping people and thought it would be great experience to go into the community and understand how some people struggle and have very little. We also fixed up their soccer field to make it safer for the kids. I love giving to people because it makes me happy to see the smiles on their faces, especially the kid’s faces when we played soccer.

As an adult, I would like to visit Israel often to see the Holy Land and experience the culture of my ancestors. I think this would be an incredible experience and one I could pass down to my children.

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

Ethan Schneiderman

Parashat Tzav
Saturday, March 24

For me, becoming a Bar Mitzvah means I will be adult-ish and get more responsibilities. I learned Torah and prayers and more prayers, and even what some of them mean. Now that I have gone to so many services, I actually have some idea of what is going on. After my Bar Mitzvah, I would like to try Hebrew High, and BBYO.

For my mitzvah project I volunteered with the Urban Eagles. The Urban Eagles are a charity division of the Eagles soccer club. I was able to support refugee children from Vietnam, Thailand, and China who are living in Charlotte. I participated in block parties where we provided dinner and played in pick up soccer games. In addition, I volunteered and lead some Urban Eagles soccer team practices and small group soccer drills. Lastly, I raised money to support the Urban Eagles. I chose my mitzvah project to help kids less fortunate than me who play soccer and to give back to all the people who have supported my soccer.

Ethan is the son of Anna and Michael Schneiderman. He is the brother of Kiera Schneiderman. Ethan is the grandson of Sandra Schneiderman of Sarasota, FL and Freddie Waddell of Carbondale, IL. Email messages of Mazel Tov to Ethan.

Zachary Bandel

Parashat Tzav
Saturday, March 24

I love being Jewish because I love to help the senior citizens in our community and I love to spread my Jewish stories to others so they can learn about my religion. I think to become a Bar Mitzvah means that I’m a man and people think I’m more mature. It has been a struggle to become a real man in the Jewish religion and it takes time and effort to realize the responsibilities of being a Jewish adult.

The project that I really think that changed me was helping the seniors at Brookdale Senior Living. They have been telling me their stories and we have gotten the opportunity to create a lot of great memories with them. I always look forward to visiting with them and they seem happy when they see me. The reason I chose this project is because I remember spending time with my Great Grandmother and how she told stories about when she was a little girl. I wanted to make her proud of me by spending time with the elderly and bringing them the joy that they need. After becoming a Jewish adult, I plan to go to High Holiday and Shabbat services, celebrate all Jewish holidays and always continue to learn about Torah. I will attend future bar and bat Mitzvahs.

Zach is the son of Holly and Steve Bandel. He is the sister of Hannah Bandel. He is the grandson of Anne and Alan Bandel of Odessa, FL and Sandra Waddell of Clover, SC. Send messages of Mazel Tov to Zachary.