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B’nei Mitzvah Archive

October 2018

Ethan Dippold

Parashat Noach
Saturday, October 13

My favorite thing about being Jewish is being part of a community and celebrating holidays together.  I enjoyed being part of a “chavurah” growing up that celebrated Havdalah together once a month. Becoming a bar mitzvah means becoming a more responsible member of the community and giving back to that community. I enjoyed working with Jewish Family Services to meet the needs of members of our community and welcoming Shabbat with Jewish residents of the Carriage Club.

As I have prepared for my Bar Mitzvah I learned that I am able to accomplish whatever I set my mind to.  Learning my Torah portion was challenging but I persevered and accomplished my goal. As I become an adult, I look forward to creating my own Jewish community and finding ways to express my Jewish identity.

Ethan is the son of John and Talli Dippold. He is the brother of Anya and Sasha Dippold. He is the grandson of Esther Pollack of Beer Sheva, Israel, Mary Dippold of Bow, New Hampshire, and Joshua and Michal of Los Angeles, California. Send Mazel Tov messages.

Sasha Dippold

Parashat Noach
Saturday, October 13

My favorite thing about being Jewish is the sense of community and celebrating holidays with friends and family. Becoming a Bat Mitzvah means that I am taking on a bigger role in the Jewish community and giving back. The preparation for becoming a Bat Mitzvah has made me appreciate my surroundings more. For my Bat Mitzvah project, I collected and served food to the homeless. This experience made me realize that we need to work together to help others who are in need.

One of my favorite experiences is attending Jewish camp each summer.  Particularly, I love Shabbat at camp! Everyone wears white and honors the holiday with songs and a festive meal, including the famous Apple Brown Betty. My favorite part is when all of the counselors surround us and bless us all.

As an adult, I look forward to continuing the traditions that I learned at home and at camp by creating a Jewish home and being part of a Jewish community.

Sasha is the daughter of John and Talli Dippold. She is the sister of Anya and Ethan Dippold. She is the granddaughter of Esther Pollack of Beer Sheva, Israel, Mary Dippold of Bow, New Hampshire, and Joshua and Michal of Los Angeles, California. Send Mazel Tov messages.

Hannah Benson

Parashat B'reishit
Saturday, October 6

My favorite part about being Jewish is the sense of community. Everyone this there for one another to support and uplift each other through the good and bad times. To me becoming a Bat Mitzvah means gaining to responsibilities and experiences. Now that I am an adult I must take on new task that are difficult, and I get to try new things. In preparing for my Bat Mitzvah, I have learned that it is important to have a group of people who support and help you when you are struggling. I have also learned that I am a little bit of a procrastinator.

For my mitzvah project I volunteered at loaves and fishes and helped make sandwiches for the homeless. I choose this project because I know that I am fortunate and I want to give to those who are in need. Though I have completed this journey, I plan to keep learning about Judaism. I will do this by coming to services, taking in part in one of the youth groups, and Hebrew High.

My parents names are Tara and Doug Benson, and I have one sibling named Emily Benson. My grandparents are Mark and Stefanie Benson, they live in Rockland County, New York. My other set of Grandparents are Jeanette and Spencer Chapman and they live in  Edwardsville, Illinois. Send messages of Mazal Tov to Hannah.

Lilly Pesakoff

Parashat B'reishit
Saturday, October 6

My favorite thing about being Jewish is the food. I love the challah at Shabbat, the hamantaschen on Purim, and all of the other amazing meals. To me, becoming a Bat Mitzvah means that I am considered an adult in the Jewish community. I get all of the same privileges as all of the other adults such as being able to have Aliyah to the Torah, light the candles at Shabbat, being able to fast on Yom Kippur, and being able to take responsibility for my actions.

While preparing for my Bat Mitzvah, I have learned that the Jewish culture and religion is very important to me. It is an important step in life to become a Bat Mitzvah. For my mitzvah project, I made pillows for kids at Freedom School for their reading time. I chose this because I wanted to make their reading time better and more enjoyable for them because I love to read. I learned that I am very lucky to have all that I have. I plan to keep living with Judaism by going to Temple on holidays and to keep learning.

Lilly is the daughter of Beth and Bobby Pesakoff. She is the middle sister of Sophie and Ruby. She is the granddaughter of Diggie and Lee Pesakoff and George Johnson of Charlotte, NC and the late Julie Honey of Cary, NC. Send a Bat Mitzvah Mazal Tov.

September 2018

Sam McRary

Chol HaMo-eid Sukkot
Saturday, September 29

My favorite thing about being Jewish is that I am very unique. I also really enjoy celebrating holidays like Hanukkah and Passover. My family creates special memories during the holidays. I love a lot of the Jewish food like challah and the falafel at camp. Becoming a Bar Mitzvah, means that I have to take responsibility for my own actions. I am going to be an adult in the Jewish community, and be able to make a bigger change in the world.

For my mitzvah project, I decided to help out at Sterling Elementary School. I like to help people that are not as fortunate as I am. I love to help people and I want to make a difference in the world. We collected tons of school supplies for Sterling Elementary, since a lot of the kids that go there, cannot afford to buy their own supplies. We are also reading to some of the Kindergarten kids, as well as doing other projects to help out at the school.

Congratulations to my sister for becoming a Bat Mitzvah. She was a great partner, and is an amazing twin sister. It was fun working with her on this, even if she was difficult at times. Just kidding. After my Bar Mitzvah, I will keep going to services and helping out in the Jewish Community. I will also keep going to 6 Points, a Jewish sleep away camp.

Sarah and Sam are the children of Robert and Naomi. Send notes of congratulations.

Sarah McRary

Chol HaMo-eid Sukkot
Saturday, September 29

My favorite part about being Jewish is that I get to stand out, and be different than everyone else. I also enjoy learning about the history of Judaism and celebrating the Jewish holidays. My favorite holiday is Hanukkah because I enjoy lighting the candles each night and I love eating latkes. For me, becoming a Bat Mitzvah means that I am growing up and I can soon start to make my own decisions. I am also becoming more independent and I have more responsibilities.

For my mitzvah project, we collected school supplies for Sterling Elementary. I chose this as my mitzvah project because I know everybody is going back to school around this time, and that most people get to go shopping for new school supplies for the upcoming year. But there are many kids who don’t get that privilege. I wanted to make some students happy by giving nice, new school supplies so they could be successful throughout the year. Doing this taught me to be grateful for everything that I have because many people overlook how lucky they are and I am going to start thinking about that in my everyday life.

Mazel Tov to Sam on becoming a Bar Mitzvah. I loved having my twin brother as my partner throughout this process. After my Bat Mitzvah, I want to help prepare others to do just what I did today, because I know I could not have done this without all of the tutors who helped me. I will continue to learn about Judaism in Sheva. I will also continue to go to Camp Coleman, where I can learn more about my religion, while having lots of fun with my friends.

Sarah and Sam are the children of Robert and Naomi. Send notes of congratulations.

Logan Berger

Parashat Haazinu
Saturday, September 22

My favorite thing about being Jewish is all of the special holidays that we celebrate. To me becoming a bar mitzvah is putting together everything I that learned through Hebrew school and practicing Torah and reciting prayers to achieve this significant milestone in my life and Judaism. While studying for my bar mitzvah, I learned a lot more about what the different prayers mean and more about our Jewish tradition.

For my mitzvah project, I volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House. The Ronald McDonald House provides families a place to call home so they can stay close to their hospitalized child or children at little to no cost.  We bought food, cooked, and served meals to families who were staying at the Ronald McDonald House. I felt really good about helping these families and I could see the smiles on their faces. What I got out of my experience was that a few people can make a big difference in other people’s lives. After my bar mitzvah, I plan to continue being Jewish by attending services, celebrating Shabbat, living life as instructed by God in the commandments, and remaining active at the JCC.

Logan is the son of Amy and Seth Berger. He is the older brother of Colin Berger. He is the grandson of Ferne and Bill Berger from Boca Raton, Florida and Cindy and Jenelle Lizotte from Tupper Lake, New York. Send messages of mazel tov.

Olivia Patt

Parashat Haazinu
Saturday, September 22

My favorite thing about being Jewish is the sense of connection in the Jewish community. Becoming a Bat Mitzvah means that I am committing myself to Judaism for my adulthood. While preparing for my Bat Mitzvah, I have learned that I can do anything I set my mind to.

My mitzvah project was with Freedom School. I volunteered with kids whose parents can’t afford childcare and will most likely be left at home for the summer. Many of these children are at risk of loss of academic skills. I read with some kids, I helped at book fairs, and volunteered at a family game night. I also did some volunteer hours for the Ronald McDonald House by making get well cards and making welcome packages.

Now that I am a Bat Mitzvah, I plan on teaching my siblings about Judaism and teaching them how to read Hebrew to keep on learning and living with Judaism.

Olivia is the daughter of Joshua and Rhonda Patt. She is the sister of Eliana and Brayton. She is the granddaughter of Althea and Richard Patt of Castle Rock, Colorado and Elaine and Fred Pennington of Charlotte, North Carolina. Send messages of mazel tov.

Konur Handy

Parashat Ki Tavo
Saturday, September 1

My favorite thing about being Jewish is probably the people because most of the Jewish people I meet are nice kind people and they care about each other, and it’s nice to be part of a people like that. I also like the food. For me, becoming a bar mitzvah means having more responsibilities because to become a bar mitzvah means to become an adult. As a kid, you kind of expect your parents do most things for you – but as an adult you do most things for yourself. Even though I’m not going to be an actual adult because I still won’t be able to drive or go out on my own and I’m only 13, going through this process means beginning to do more things for myself.

In preparing for my bar mitzvah, I’ve learned that I pick up languages quicker than I thought I would. I’ve also learned that this was a harder process than I thought it was going to be – and that I can still do it.

For my mitzvah project, I taught activities at cub scout camp. Back when I was a cub scout and I saw the staff, it looked like it would be fun to teach kids like me – I wanted to know enough to be able to help teach other kids. Participating in this project allowed me to do that! It was a good feeling to help kids learn how to do cool things safely. After my bar mitzvah, I plan to keep coming to services, and I am signing up for Hebrew High!

Konur Handy is the son of Sandra Layman and Rob Layman. He is the grandson of Marlyn Watson of Charlotte, North Carolina and Hadley Watson of Paducah, Kentucky. Send notes of mazel tov.

August 2018

Zachary Katz

Parashat Ki Teitzei
Saturday, August 25

Throughout my childhood my parents have instilled Jewish values within me. These include an emphasis on family, community, traditions and beliefs. Judaism teaches me to value my education and that it is important to be a positive influence on my friends and family. Judaism teaches me that it is my responsibility to try and make the world a better place. My bar mitzvah is the most significant event in my life so far. It means I am responsible for my own actions, and that I have more responsibility in the Jewish community. During my bar mitzvah studies, I learned that I don’t really like to sing but I enjoy learning more about my religion and the history of the Torah. I also learned some valuable life lessons including the value of helping those in need.

For my bar mitzvah project, I chose to stuff and give backpacks full of school supplies to Camino Community Center. I chose this project to help the less fortunate people in Charlotte get the supplies they need to go to school. During my studies, I realized the importance of education and I wanted to make it possible for all kids to get a quality education. As I get older, I hope to continue my Jewish education and continue to live by the Jewish values that are such a big part of my life.

Zach is the son Seth and Crystal Katz. He is the brother of Isabelle and Alex. His grandparents, Rita and Alan Katz of Wilmington, NC and Kay and Marshall Duncan of St. Petersburg, FL. Send notes of congratulations.

Luke Zolotorofe

Parashat Ki Teitzei
Saturday, August 25

My favorite thing about being Jewish is the food. When I visit NYC, hamantaschen is the first food I look for, and I like challah anywhere. Becoming a bar mitzvah means that I have more responsibility and freedom. I am now considered a “man” in the Jewish community and I am trusted more. During bar mitzvah tutoring, I learned the importance and meaning of each prayer. Before this, I had no clue what the prayers meant and I would chant them for no reason.

For my mitzvah project, I went Uptown and made chili cheese dogs with The Dream Center. My family and I constructed over one hundred hot dogs with chili on top. Afterward, another set of volunteers distributed them to homeless people in Charlotte. We helped out so many people by doing an easy task. It felt good after we did it and we are definitely going back to help out again soon. I also spent a week volunteering with K through second-graders, helping them improve their basketball skills. I enjoyed working with the kids more than I expected.

I  plan to keep learning about Judaism in the future by enrolling in BBYO this year. Many people I know love it, and it is a way to keep me in touch with Judaism.

Luke is the son of Nancy and Marc Zolotorofe. He is the brother of Sydney. He is the grandson of Nannette and the late Lewis Zolotorofe of Boynton Beach, Florida, and Patricia Houghton-Rones and the late Arnie Rones of Mineola, New York. Please send notes of congratulations.

Emma Paige Miller

Parashat Shoftim
Saturday, August 18

My favorite thing about being Jewish is learning about the history of Judaism and celebrating the religious holidays. My favorite holiday is Hanukkah because I enjoy lighting the candles each night and reciting the prayers. I also love the delicious foods especially latkes and jelly doughnuts!

Becoming a Bat Mitzvah means that I am an adult in the Jewish community.  As a result, I will take on more responsibilities and further my Judaic studies. I am looking forward to learning more about Jewish history and growing my ability to read Hebrew. While on my journey to becoming a Bat Mitzvah, I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned the meaning and value of hard work. I learned that through study and preparation, I can read Hebrew. I have also learned that as a member of the Jewish community, it is a mitzvah to help others that may be less fortunate than me.

For my Mitzvah Project, I decided to help the homeless. I was inspired to do this after participating in the “Walk in My Shoes” Girl Scout event, where I experienced what members of the homeless community in Charlotte, North Carolina have to go through in order to survive. To help make a difference, I started a club at Community House Middle School called “The Homeless Helpers Club.” At this club, that meets weekly, my friends and I make sandwiches to donate to The Urban Ministries Center to help the homeless not go hungry. We also make cards to give to the homeless, in order to provide some inspirational and kind words to help them work through their situation. I also volunteered at Temple Beth El’s Mitzvah Day. During this event, my family and I volunteered to help organize the food pantry. We also made bags of food to help the students that attend The Freedom School over the summer. Each bag, filled with the ingredients for a dinner, went home with one of the summer camp kids. The Freedom School is a camp for children that are less fortunate. These students attend camp at Temple Beth El and have the opportunity to continue their learning while making new friends. The reasons why I decided to do these projects is because I love to help people and I want to make a difference in the world. I believe that everyone deserves to have the necessities in life, like shelter, plenty of food, and some warm, quality clothing. Through this project I have learned that many people may not be as lucky as I am. I am blessed to have a warm home, plenty of food, clothing, books and materials for school, electronics, and money. I have learned that I should appreciate what I have.

After my Bat Mitzvah, I plan to continue my studies by going to Sheva, attending services and become an active member of the Temple. I would like to help future Bar and Bat Mitzvah students with their preparations and I would like to continue helping the less fortunate by donating food to the food pantry or by volunteering at Urban Ministries.

Emma Paige is the daughter of Barry and Danielle Miller. She is the granddaughter of Bernie and Carol Miller of Monroe Township, New Jersey; granddaughter of the late, Andrea Quartararo, of Reston, Virginia; and grand niece of Jim and Alicia Bendernagel of Reston, Virginia. Send notes of congratulations.

Rachel Veen

Parashat Shoftim
Saturday, August 18

My favorite thing about being Jewish is celebrating the different holidays with the people you care about and eating all the different foods you might not eat on a regular basis. What it means to me to become Bat Mitzvah is that I have learned the importance of what it means to be a good Jew. What I’ve learned about myself is that I can accomplish anything I really set my mind to do.

My mitzvah project was working at Bright Blessings. Bright Blessings is an organization that helps children in poverty get some of the things they need in life. The organization also helps children celebrate their birthdays, which is meaningful because their parents often do not have enough resources. I helped make gifts and organize the educational supplies to give to the children in the shelters. Working at Bright Blessings taught me that helping people in need can make a big impact on them and it really makes me feel good as well. I plan on learning about Judaism by continuing to attend services and celebrate holiday traditions with my family.

Rachel’s parents are Michelle and Chad Veen. She is the granddaughter of Lene Zalla of Leesburg, Florida and Elonne and Lorne Veen from Gary, South Dakota. Send notes of congratulations.

Emma Eccleston

Parashat R'eih
Saturday, August 11

My favorite thing about being Jewish is being able to meet other people who are Jewish and making Jewish friends. I get to make these Jewish friends at Temple and Hebrew school. I’m glad to become a Bat Mitzvah because it means I will have more responsibilities and I will be able to do more in the world because I am a Jewish adult. What I have learned about myself in preparing for my Bat Mitzvah is that if I work hard and study I can learn how to read from the Torah.

For my mitzvah project I held a drive and collected items for the homeless. I raised money and bought even more items. I put toiletries, clothes, hats, umbrellas, ponchos, and tissues in bags and brought them to a homeless shelter. I chose to do this because I think it’s important to help people who don’t have everything they need. It made me feel happy because I got the chance to help people and I have always wanted to do that. To keep learning about Judaism and living with Judaism I will go to Hebrew High and be involved with youth group events. I am also going to be a B’nei Mitzvah tutor.

Emma is the daughter of Randi and Jon Eccleston. She is the sister of Hannah Eccleston. She is the granddaughter of Vicki and Irwin Smolin of Charlotte, NC and Georgiann Eccleston of Glenburn, PA and the late Jon W. Eccleston. Send messages of congratulations.

Abbie Jackowitz

Parashat R'eih
Saturday, August 11

There are many things that come with being Jewish. One of my favorites is the tradition of lighting the candles on a Chanukiah during Chanukah. Becoming a Bat Mitzvah has many meanings to me.  One of these meanings is continuing to immerse myself in Jewish culture. I will continue learning about Judaism by going to Jewish summer camps, services, giving tzedakah out of my own money, and participating in youth groups. Throughout my journey of becoming a Bat Mitzvah I have learned that I really enjoy going to Sheva and Friday night services and learning new prayers and traditions that I can use throughout my life.

For my Mitzvah project I have the honor and the privilege of working with special needs students at my school. There’s nothing I love more than playing games, talking, and having lunch with them; because in the end they’re no different than any of us and because of this my Mitzvah project is something that I will continue to take part in forever.

Abbie is the daughter of Ilene and Jason Jackowitz. She is the sister of Jared. She is the granddaughter of Bob Jackowitz of Levittown, New York and Joan Bram of West Palm Beach, Florida. She feels blessed that everyone is here today. Send notes of Mazel Tov.

Amanda Buckler

Parashat Eikev
Saturday, August 4

My favorite thing about being Jewish is having the opportunity to surround myself with other Jewish kids and adults that all share a common knowledge about this religion. All Jews are one big community that share the same traditions and beliefs. To me, becoming a bat mitzvah means that I have more responsibilities and the right to make more and more of my own decisions. During Sheva and tutoring, I have learned more about my religion, and how I fit into it.

My mitzvah project was helping out with The Friendship Circle, where kids and adults with special needs get to make friends and have fun. I also volunteered during Mitzvah Day, where we packed up bags full of little toys and books that all goes to Sterling Elementary School to kids for the summer. Lastly, I volunteered with the Carolina Thread Trail Association to raise money for environmental preservation and trail maintenance. Now that I have become a Bat Mitzvah, and a Jewish adult, I plan to keep my Jewish education alive by tutoring other kids for their bar or bat mitzvah, and continuing to learn by participating in either Hebrew High or BBYO.

Amanda Buckler is the daughter of Bryan and Robin Buckler. She is the sister of Adam and Sophie Buckler. She is the granddaughter of Linda Buckler of Chattanooga TN and Amy and Peter Brenner of Greensville, SC. Send notes of mazel tov.

July 2018

Garrett Waldman

Parashat Va-et'chanan
Saturday, July 28

My favorite thing about being Jewish is celebrating all of the holidays with my family and friends and learning new things about my religion. For me, becoming a bar mitzvah means taking on more responsibility for things and becoming a man according to Jewish law.

Throughout this process, I’ve learned that I had to take responsibility for preparing for my bar mitzvah and studying the torah portion, because if I didn’t, no one else could do it for me.

For my mitzvah project, I weeded. In removing weeds, I made room for the desired plants, trees, and grass to grow.

Now that I am a bar mitzvah, I will continue to go to services and celebrate each holiday.

Tyler Waldman

Parashat Va-et'chanan
Saturday, July 28

My favorite things about being Jewish are the holidays and history. I enjoy the holidays because they have history, and I like coming together with community to celebrate holidays and pray to God. We have had to overcome a lot of challenges throughout the centuries and we are one of the oldest religions to make it this far. For me, becoming a bar mitzvah means to become a Jewish man and make sure I follow the customs and be an example for younger people.

In Sheva we talked a lot about history and customs, and prayed a lot together, which gave me time to spend in community with my peers.

For my mitzvah project, I went to a soup kitchen in Uptown Charlotte where they feed the homeless every Tuesday and Friday. My mom and I went to the soup kitchen to pass out food and box up food to give to people to take with them. It felt good to help people out and to see how thankful they were.

Now that I am a Jewish adult, I will continue to practice my Judaism with my parents, and one day with my own family.

Violet Goldberg

Parashat D'varim
Saturday, July 21

My favorite thing about being Jewish is our religion’s emphasis on doing good for our world. Our belief in Tikkun Olam not only means repairing the physical world, but also means standing up for others and for social justice.

When preparing for my Bat Mitzvah, I had to interact with a lot of people I didn’t know before. I learned that the best way for me to be comfortable around people I don’t know very well is to be okay with myself, to feel that my opinions matter, and that it’s okay to share them when I need to.

For my mitzvah project, I worked at Frank Liske Park, removing non-native species of plants to make the park prettier and to promote the growth of native plants. I also volunteered to clean up the outside of a house owned by a local church used for community events and programs. My volunteering helped to make the work easier for the staff at the park and the church, and made those places more enjoyable for the people who visit there.

Now that I am a Jewish adult, I plan to continue to attend services and participate in Jewish traditions with my family. I want to travel to Israel and learn about the people that live there and my Jewish heritage. Also, I will help my little sister Rosie when she starts to prepare for her Bat Mitzvah.

Violet is the daughter of Ross and Deanne Goldberg. She is the sister of Rosie Goldberg. Her grandparents are Marc and Suzie Goldberg of Durham, NC, JoAnn Mixson of Concord, NC, and Jim and Lori Mixson of Great Meadows, NJ. Send messages of Mazel Tovs.

Maeli Zhiss

Parashat D'varim
Saturday, July 21

My favorite thing about being Jewish is celebrating the holidays with my family and the eating special foods. I LOVE potato latkas with applesauce, hamantaschen, and matzah ball soup! I am proud of being Jewish because I am part of a community and it also makes me feel unique in places where I am one of the only Jews. By completing my Bat Mitzvah, I am considered an adult in the Jewish community. As a Jewish adult, I think I would be most interested in being involved in social justice or community service projects. I have been a Girl Scout since kindergarten and love being involved in things that help others because it makes me feel good that I have helped someone.

For my Mitzvah Project I tried out two different places so I could experience the type of programs that are out there. I spent time with senior citizens at the JCC Oasis group by serving them meals, helping with an exercise class, setting up activities, and just talking with them. I also spent time in the classroom for special needs middle school kids at my school (SAC kids) and discovered how much I enjoyed spending time with them and helping them raise money for their sister classroom in Africa. For my birthday, I celebrated with the SAC kids (my new friends) and brought a few of my other friends along to share cupcakes and conversation. Some kids were afraid of the SAC kids because they were different, but by bringing them together over food to celebrate, it broke the ice for them to meet and get to know them like I do.

Maeli is the daughter of Ron and Melissa Zhiss and sister to Parker Zhiss. She is the granddaughter of Gene and Geri Zhiss and Art and Jane Hayes of Decatur, Michigan. Send messages of Mazel Tovs.