B’nei Mitzvah Archive

April 2018

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.

Naomi Biber-Bishop

Parashat Vayikra
Saturday, March 17

My favorite thing about being Jewish is celebrating the different holidays and coming to services with my family. My family and I usually come to services the first Friday of every month, and then we go get ice cream. This has become our tradition, and we get to spend time together. Becoming a Bat Mitzvah, means to me that I am becoming a Jewish adult. I will be able to be more involved in services and traditions. I have enjoyed learning to read Hebrew and will be able to keep practicing and learning. Through all of the preparation for becoming a Bat Mitzvah, I have learned more about the blessings and prayers and what they mean. I am more familiar with our services and how to participate.

For my mitzvah project, my family and I cooked dinner at the Ronald McDonald House. I chose this project because I wanted  to help people and I like to cook. My older brother, Eli, did the same mitzvah project, and it’s nice that it’s something my family can do together. I have also helped at my old elementary school with their literacy program, and volunteered with my parents in the Temple Beth El gift shop. I feel good that I have been able to help others.

Naomi is the daughter of Caroline Biber and Chris Bishop.  She has 2 brothers, Eli and Aron, and a rescue dog, Bo. Her grandparents, Dan and Judy Biber, live here in Charlotte.  Messages of Mazel Tov can be sent to the Biber-Bishop Family.

Sofia Rubenstein

Parashat Vayikra
Saturday, March 17

My favorite thing about being Jewish is that I get to become a bat mitzvah. Not many other religions offer this opportunity. After my bat mitzvah, I will get to do more things as a Jewish person, like have an aliyah. In a few years, when my younger siblings become b’nei mitzvah, I will be able to stand on the bima and offer a blessing at their service.

In preparing to become a bat mitzvah, I have learned that I can learn more and do more than I thought I could – I didn’t think I would actually be able to read from the Torah, but I studied hard and now I know I can!

I had two mitzvah projects and got to do them with my friend Ivy Daitch. First, we put together a bake sale – we donated most of the money we raised to Hurricane Harvey victims, and spent the rest on materials to make hats for children at Levine Children’s Hospital. We also went to the Ronald McDonald House and led bingo for the guests staying at the house. It felt good to help people who don’t have as much as we do and to help people feel better when they’re going through hard times.

You never know about the future, but I am thinking I would like to become a madricha, and even do b’nei mitzvah tutoring.

Sofia Rubenstein is the daughter of Ilyssa and Brian. She is the sister of Jack and Carly. She is the granddaughter of Ellen and Alan Lubiner of New Jersey and great-granddaughter of Ruth Lubiner. Send messages of Mazel Tov to Sofia.

Everett Collman

Parashat Ki Tisa
Saturday, March 3

My favorite thing about being Jewish is that I am part of a community that I love. Also, I get to take part in holidays and celebrations that are fun and meaningful. To become a Bar Mitzvah means that I am taking a step into the life of Jewish adulthood, and growing up.

In my preparations for my Bar Mitzvah I have learned that I CAN learn all the prayers and my Torah portion. When I first got my work I was flabbergasted of how much it was, but when I took it piece by piece it was pretty balanced out.

My Mitzvah project was collecting and delivering donations to the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte. I collected donations from people in my neighborhood such as shirts, pants, shampoo, and other necessities. I chose this project because I recognize how lucky I am to have these things and that I can’t take that for granted. All humans should have dignity. As my life continues I plan to keep learning about Judaism by going to services. I would like to consider being a madrich at Religious School and helping other kids learn about Judaism.

Everett is the son of Jonathan and Jennifer Collman and brother to Hollis and August. His grandparents are Gloria Collman of Raleigh, NC, and Jerry and Connie Carney of Cordele, GA. Please send messages of Mazel Tov to Everett.

Mara Levin

Parashat Ki Tisa
Saturday, March 3

My favorite thing about being Jewish is the community. I have met so many friends though Hebrew School and other Jewish activities. We connect through our shared beliefs, the holidays we celebrate, and the relationships we have formed. To me, becoming a Bat Mitzvah means taking responsibility and becoming a Jewish adult. Studying for my Bat Mitzvah has taught me how to be more responsible and how to manage my time.

For my mitzvah project, I volunteered at Second Harvest Food Bank. I also made blankets for the dogs and cats at the Humane Society. I chose to volunteer at Second Harvest because I believe that everyone should have food, medicine, and hygiene products available to them. I volunteered for Humane Society because I love animals and I think that all animals should have a safe and comfortable place to live. Preparing for my Bat Mitzvah has made me think about what I will continue to do as a Jewish adult. I plan to keep celebrating holidays, attending services, and giving back to the world.

Mara is the daughter of Jennifer and Ross Levin. She is the sister of Lauren, a senior at Providence Day School, and Adam, a freshman at Manus Academy. She is the granddaughter of Janice and Raymond Eutsler of Billings, Missouri, Bonnie Levy and the late Melvin Levy of Baltimore, Maryland, and Stephen Levin of Miami Beach, Florida. Notes of congratulations can be sent to Jennifer and Ross.

February 2018

Katherine Posnanski

Parashat T'tzaveh
Saturday, February 24

My favorite thing about being Jewish is celebrating the holidays. I love eating all the fun foods, lighting the candles, and most importantly spending time with my family. My favorite Jewish holidays are Passover and Hanukkah. On the first day of Passover, we always go to my grandparents’ house to eat amazing foods, such as charoset and matzah. On Hanukkah, I love lighting the candles, playing dreidel, and eating chocolate gelt. It is during all the Jewish holidays that I feel closest to my faith. To me becoming a Bat Mitzvah means new responsibilities and more opportunities. I will make my own decisions and be more confident in what I do. When I was preparing for my Bat Mitzvah, I learned that with confidence and good time management, I could accomplish anything.

For my mitzvah project, I helped at Classroom Central and Freedom School, which are both organizations that help supply and support low income schools. I chose this as my project because I believe that everyone should have the best opportunity to get an education. After I finished my projects, I felt so proud that I helped students all over Charlotte. I will always remember that small changes can lead to a big impact. I want to continue growing as a Jewish adult. I plan to be a madricha and a tutor. I also plan to continue attending services and going to Hebrew High. I am very excited to become a Jewish adult.

Notes of congratulations can be sent to Katie’s parents, Margo and Joe Posnanski.

Ella Simi Zolot

Parashat T'rumah
Saturday, February 17

My favorite thing about being Jewish is that I have a community of friends that will always be there for me when I need them. To become a Bat Mitzvah means to take on the responsibility to practice the Jewish religion on your own. I have learned that Hebrew is very complicated to read and requires a lot of studying to learn. My mitzvah project is about volunteering at non-profit businesses that help children in the foster care system. This has helped gain a deeper understanding of the process and struggles a foster kid goes through. And I can’t imagine what it must feel like to leave your parents and move from place to place constantly. I plan on keeping Judaism in my life by celebrating most of the holidays. I am also thinking about attending Hebrew High and serving as a madricha.

Ella is the daughter of Miranda and Kevin Zolot. She is the sister of Dylan, a fourth grader at Eastover Elementary School. She is the granddaughter of Kay and Alex Mitchell of Saint Augustine, Florida and Andrea Lazarus and Warren Zolot of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Notes of congratulations can be sent to Miranda and Kevin.

Ivy Daitch

Parashat T'rumah
Saturday, February 17

My name is Ivy Daitch. I am thirteen years old and I LOVE goats! I go to Camp Bluestar, and my favorite thing about being Jewish is meeting friends (and goats) that I will know forever because of camp.

Becoming a Bat Mitzvah will mean a lot to me. I will finally be an “adult” religiously and because of all the work I have been doing, I have a greater understanding of my ancestors. While preparing for my Bat Mitzvah, I learned which prayers I like and are meaningful to me and which prayers I hate. I also learned that the right dress is very important and that you really have to go chhhhuuuuh when saying the kaf vowel or else it is completely wrong.

For my Mitzvah project my friend Sofia and I (she is becoming a Bat Mitzvah later this year) had a bake sale and raised money to donate to the Levine Children’s Hospital, Hurricane Harvey relief, and money to get supplies to make some hats for the kids at the hospital. We also volunteered at the Ronald McDonald house and played many games of bingo for the families staying there, with prizes and everything! I will continue to build on my Judaism by going to camp, and celebrating the holidays (especially Hanukkah).

Ivy is the daughter of Jessica and Matthew Daitch. She is the sister of Logan Daitch. Her dog’s name is Brandi and her guinea pig’s name is Smores. She is the granddaughter of Shelly Koslowe of Charlotte, NC and Paul and Marilyn Daitch, who split their time between New Jersey and Florida. Notes of mazel tov can be sent to Jessica.

Talia Hitt

Parashat Yitro
Saturday, February 3

My favorite thing about being Jewish is celebrating the holidays with my family and learning about the traditions that come from both my mom and my dad’s sides of the family. To become a Bat Mitzvah means to take on the responsibility and practice of being Jewish and to be recognized as an adult in the Jewish community. In preparing for my Bat Mitzvah, I have been very disciplined in learning my Hebrew and balancing my love of gymnastics, my dedication to school and my commitment to Judaism. This has been challenging and I am grateful to have a few less things on my plate moving forward.

My mitzvah project was about helping others less fortunate than me. I collected and donated blankets, hats and gloves to the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte. Doing this has helped me gain a deeper appreciation for what I have and not take what I have for granted. I cannot imagine what it must feel like to live on the streets, to not have your own home and not have your own privacy. Helping others is an important part of who I am.

I will continue practicing Judaism by celebrating the holidays and traditions of my family. I am going to be a camper at the inaugural summer at the URJ Creative Arts Camp. I am looking forward to making lifelong Jewish friends at camp, while pursuing my interest in the arts.

Talia is the daughter of Deborah and Brian Hitt. She is the sister of Lanie, a senior at Ardrey Kell High School. She is the granddaughter of Linda and Arthur Starr of West Palm Beach, Florida and Maxine and Steve Horowitz of Charlotte, NC. Notes of mazel tov can be sent to Talia.

Ellis Small

Parashat Yitro
Saturday, February 3

I love being Jewish, but my favorite thing is the food. It is so delicious! My favorite food is matzah ball soup. I also love latkes, they are great as well.

I have learned so much stuff in preparation for my bar mitzvah. I learned trope and new prayers.

Doing my mitzvah project was really fun, I chose to volunteer at The Relatives, which is an organization that my family and I feel deeply about. It is a house where children from all ages come to be safe. Some children have run away and some have been taken out of their home by CPS in order to keep them safe. They stay at The Relatives for up to two weeks and then they go into a foster home. Spending time with the kids at The Relatives was a lot of fun.
After my bar mitzvah, I plan to keep attending temple so that I can keep all of the knowledge that I have about Judaism and so that I can learn more.

Ellis is the son of Franny Goshtasbpour and Stephen Small. He is the brother of Emma Small. He is the grandson of Homayoun Goshtasbpour of Toronto, Canada and Patty and Gus Small of Atlanta, Georgia. Notes of mazel tov can be sent to Ellis.

January 2018

Sage Kanofsky

Parashat Va'eira
Saturday, January 13

My favorite thing about being Jewish would be the amazing foods. My favorite food would have to be the challah or the hamantashen on Purim. I also love the holidays. They are so much fun and have such fun ways in which to celebrate them. I also like that when holidays come, so does family. I love spending time with my family. It’s nice to see everyone and hear their stories. Becoming a Bat Mitzvah means that I will take on new responsibilities and start to take risks. I will stop asking as many questions, and chose my own path. In my Bat Mitzvah preparation, I learned that if I try my hardest, I can exceed expectations.

For my mitzvah project, I tutored at a title one school and participated in the Friendship Circle. I chose those projects in particular because I love working with people. I enjoy building connections within my community and getting to know those outside of my school group. I got to see to many different perspectives throughout my mitzvah projects. I hope to continue helping the community in the future. As a Jewish adult, I want to continue learning about Judaism. I would like to be a tutor and a madricha. I will continue to observe Shabbat and attend services whenever I can. I am so excited to begin the next stage of my life.

December 2017

Ayla Andrews

Parashat Vayishlach
Saturday, December 2

My favorite thing about being Jewish is the community. I love being in a Jewish community because I have made so many good friends through Hebrew school and other Jewish activities. I also like how at school events though there aren’t that many of us, there are some Jewish kids in my grade. To me, becoming a Bat Mitzvah means becoming a Jewish adult and being more responsible for myself. In Sheva, I have learned that I work best in groups – even if it isn’t with my best of friends.

My mitzvah project was feeding the homeless and those in need. I chose to feed people because I love to cook, I love seeing other people happy, and I like helping people face to face. I worked at the Ronald McDonald House, The Village Temple soup kitchen, and the HUC Soup Kitchen. I learned that everyone is entitled to their own preferences no matter their circumstances. I plan to keep coming to services, to go to Hebrew High, and to become a madricha on Sundays to keep up with learning about Judaism.
Notes of congratulations can be sent to Ayla’s parents, Amy and Marc Andrews.

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.