B’nei Mitzvah Archive

October 2019

Sydney Adamo

Ha'azinu
Saturday, October 12

My favorite things about being Jewish are the food and being part of the community. Ever since preschool at CJP, I have loved Challah. Potato latkes are pretty good too! I have made such amazing friends at Religious School and at my camp, 6 Points Sports Academy.

Becoming a Bat Mitzvah taught me that I can do anything when I put my mind to something and work hard. Now that I am a Jewish adult, I plan to go Hebrew High, attend more NFTY events and continue to go to my camp, to live my Jewish values.

When I was in second grade, my Religious School class visited the Sunrise community. We sang with the residents and it made my day to see them so happy. Ever since that day, I always told my parents that for my Mitzvah project, I wanted to volunteer with seniors so that is what I did!  I spent time at the Oasis Senior Center. I had a lot of fun, laughing with them and playing games. They even taught me how to play Rummy Q.

Sydney is the daughter of Nancy and Joe Adamo and the sister of Emily. Her grandparents are Gloria and the late Herb Zorn of Indian Trail, NC and Loraine and Angelo Adamo of Stallings, NC.  Send notes of mazel tov.

September 2019

Jaime Burrell

Ki Tavo
Saturday, September 21

My favorite thing about being Jewish is celebrating Chanukah (because I like getting presents!) The rest of the holidays are cool, too. To me, becoming a bat mitzvah means I am a Jewish adult, which means I have my own responsibilities in the Jewish community now, like helping others in need and getting a little more serious about how I celebrate the holidays.

I learned that becoming a bat mitzvah is hard – practicing Hebrew every day took more time and energy than I had thought it would. I liked hanging out with people during Sheva – they’re pretty funny.

For my mitzvah project, I donated food and blankets to the Humane Society. I really like animals and wanted to find a way to help make sure they were comfortable and that they always had something to eat. I felt happy that I got to contribute to the animals the Human Society is keeping safe.

Jaime Burrell is the daughter of Rachel and Jeff Burrell. She is the sister of Ryan Burrell. She is the granddaughter of Diane Axelrod and Bob Lindenbaum of Philadelphia, PA.  Send notes of mazal tov

Megan Reif

Ki Tavo
Saturday, September 21

When I was younger, I wasn’t very involved in the Jewish community, but as I got older, I became very interested in Judaism. I decided that becoming a bat mitzvah would be the perfect way to learn more about Hebrew and the history of our people.

I believe that everyone has a chance to shine and should be able to, and I see my bat mitzvah as one of those times. I really wanted to work hard and show that I could do it, even though I started learning Hebrew later than other b’nei mitzvah students. The bat mitzvah process has taught me many things. For example: you should always be prepared, it is fun to learn new things, and I like being able to understand what everyone is talking about. I know those things will help me shine during my bat mitzvah.

For my service hours I volunteered for the SPCA and Charlotte Family Housing. I played with children while their parents were in meetings. When I worked for the SPCA I got to make sure every dog shined and helped them find an owner. Overall, this entire bat mitzvah process has been a new experience that I will keep with me forever.

Megan Reif is the daughter of Susan and Michael Reif. She is the sister of Jennifer Reif. She is the granddaughter of Sara Leopold of Chicago IL. Send notes of mazal tov.

Ryan Stokes

Ki Teitzei
Saturday, September 14

My favorite part about being Jewish are the holidays. I really like Chanukah because of the games we play and the food. I also enjoy having a connection with Temple Beth El. I have been going to this Temple for literally my entire life, all the way from my brit milah to this Bar Mitzvah moment. Whenever my mother introduces me to a person at Temple,  I ask her whether or not he or she held me as a baby.  Ninety-three percent of the time she says yes. For me, being Jewish means family. It means taking care of each other as my family has done for me my entire life.

For my Bar Mitzvah project I helped out at the Relatives. The Relatives is a safe place for runaway kids.  I played with the kids and ate meals with them. Helping at the Relatives opened my eyes to the truth that some kids are not as fortunate as you and I, and we can help them feel better. Not only that, but I had a great time – it was really fun! Take some time out of your day to help someone else.

Now that I am a Bar Mitzvah, I want to be a Madrich at the Religious School.  I really enjoy working with the younger kids and look forward to doing that in the coming years.

Ayla Gale

Shoftim
Saturday, September 7

My favorite things about being Jewish are the traditions and holidays. The holidays are fun and they give me time to be with family and friends which I enjoy! My favorite Jewish holiday is Chanukah. I like this holiday because of all of the good food we eat like latkes and jelly doughnuts. To me, becoming a bat mitzvah means that I have more responsibility in the world and I have a bigger impact on bigger decisions since I have become a Jewish adult. As I approach my bat mitzvah date, I am looking forward to becoming a Jewish adult. My hard work over the years that I have been studying for this day will pay off when I recite my prayers and chant from the Torah.

For my mitzvah project, I volunteered at Bright Blessings, an organization that helps out kids who can’t have birthday parties and bring cupcakes to school like the other kids. Bright Blessings also helps with the homeless and less fortunate newborns. I prepared packages for less fortunate kids who could really use it. I also helped make goodie bags for classroom celebrations, so birthday kids feel special, even if their parents cannot send cupcakes to school on their birthday.  I also volunteered at a group home operated by InReach, an organization that provides housing and vocational services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. InReach provides quality support and services to children and adults who suffer from disabilities in residential and community settings. At the group home we helped set up an outdoor patio swing and made dinner with them. Doing my mitzvah project made me open my eyes and see how fortunate I am. Now that I am a bat mitzvah I plan to keep learning about Judaism by going to Friday night services, going to Hebrew High, and being a madricha.

Ayla Gale is the daughter of Dawn and Anthony Gale. She is the sister of Isaac Gale. Send notes of mazal tov.

Ava Schanzlin

Shoftim
Saturday, September 7

My favorite thing about being Jewish is enjoying the holidays with my family and the food (especially latkes)! In preparing for my Bat Mitzvah, I learned that hard work and practice pays off. I was nervous at first to read from the Torah but after 6 months of practice, I knew I could do it! Now that I am a Jewish adult, I plan to continue going to services with my Mom and keep learning about the history of Judaism and Israel.

For my mitzvah project, I did two volunteer projects. I read with a 7-year-old at the Freedom School and I volunteered at a horseback riding camp. I chose to do these two projects because I love to read and horseback ride. It was so much fun to share my two passions with little kids. It was great to see them get excited about reading and riding!

Ava is the daughter of Todd and Stacey Schanzlin.  She is the sister of Michael and Cole.  She is the granddaughter of Ronald and Sharon Kaplan who live in Harrisburg, PA and Donald and Patricia Schanzlin who live in Phillipsburg, NJ.  Send notes of mazal tov.

August 2019

Delanie Hill

Eikev
Saturday, August 24

My favorite thing about being Jewish is all of the special holidays that we celebrate. Discussing the meaning of the holidays each time reignites my excitement about my religion.  Also, being Jewish gives me a sense of community and belonging and reminds me that no matter where I go in the world, all Jewish people welcome each other with open arms.  Becoming a bat mitzvah is the culmination of Hebrew school, Sheva and studying the Torah.  With all this knowledge, I can now move forward into adulthood with a greater love of Judaism.  As a Jewish adult, I will continue to remind myself of the importance of being Jewish and to keep it close to my heart.

The most obvious reason I chose my mitzvah project is my love of sports, specifically basketball.  I have been so fortunate to receive group and private training year round as well as play on a travel team and my school team.  Many children are not as lucky.  Therefore, together with my travel team coach, Coach Randall, I helped less fortunate kids become better basketball players by training them with all the knowledge that I have been given.  It made me happy to see their faces when they got the lay up right or make a foul shot.  I hope to continue volunteering, as I get older.

Delanie is the daughter of Richard and Caren Hill.  She is the sister of Bayleigh and Ethan Hill. She is the granddaughter of the late Jack and Marlene Levins of Great Neck, NY as well as Eleanor and the late  Benjamin Hill of Peabody, MA.  Send notes of mazal tov to Caren Hill and/or Richard Hill.

Molly Houser

Va-et'chanan
Saturday, August 17

My favorite thing about being Jewish is celebrating the holidays, and of course the food. I love getting together with my family to celebrate the Jewish holidays such as Passover and Chanukah.  Some of my favorite Jewish foods are challah French toast, and my grandma’s delicious Matzo ball soup. To me, becoming a bat mitzvah means becoming a Jewish adult and taking on more responsibilities in my everyday life.

For my mitzvah project, I chose to work with the elderly at Oasis Senior Enrichment Program. While volunteering at Oasis, I did arts and crafts with the seniors, helped them with their technology, and learned and played games with them. Volunteering there, I got to meet and get to know a lot of kind people. It was so fun to go and hang out with them and I made lots of new friends. They taught me to live life to the fullest and to enjoy everything I do. Now that I am a bat mitzvah, I am going to continue practicing Judaism by continuing to observe and celebrate the Jewish holidays, go to services, and I am going to continue to work with the people at Oasis.

Molly Houser is the daughter of Alison Houser and Lindsey Houser. She is the sister of Jack Houser. She is the granddaughter of Cindy and Richard Schneider of Sun City, South Carolina and Richard and Jane Anne Houser of Annapolis, Maryland. Send notes of mazal tov.

Emily Schenkel

D'varim
Saturday, August 10

My favorite part of being Jewish is participating in services because when I do, I always feel connected to all the other people in the room and I just feel more alive during services. Becoming a Bat Mitzvah shows me that I have grown through my Jewish education, even though there is more education to come. It doesn’t tell me that I am an adult, it tells me that in Jewish settings I can feel like an adult, from helping in services to everything else. Going through all my Bat Mitzvah training, I have learned that I’m a lot more patient than I thought.

My mitzvah project was serving as a junior counselor at Camp K.C, my summer camp. I chose to be a junior counselor at Camp K.C. because the camp is like my second home and I’ve always wanted to be a helper there. I also am a year round volunteer at the Temple Beth El gift shop. I went on three offsites with the gift shop and have always helped out during the religious school year. I plan to keep going to services as much as I can and celebrating all the Jewish holidays throughout the year to keep Judaism in my life.

Emily Schenkel is the daughter of Merril and Richard Schenkel. She is the sister of Jonathan Schenkel. She is the granddaughter of Jeffrey and Susan Rettig of Charlotte, NC.  Send notes of mazal tov.

Emily Lederer

Matot-Mas-ei
Saturday, August 3

My favorite thing about being Jewish is learning a different language, the culture and the food. I also like how we can ask questions about everything, like God, the stories in the Torah and more.

To become a Bat Mitzvah means that you are transitioning to adulthood.  That means more responsibilities, a little bit more freedom, and most of all, you get to choose about being Jewish. During Sheva, I liked learning about respecting people of different faiths and those who have different backgrounds.

My mitzvah project was making bags of food and dinner for the homeless at Room at the Inn.  We also cleaned up and made the beds after they left the JCC.  I choose to do this for my mitzvah project because it goes with my Torah portion, how we should help people who are in need or that are less fortunate than us. What I got out of my mitzvah project was that we forget about people who are less fortunate than us, and we take our own lives for granted.  For example, always wanting more of stuff. Even though we have all that we need, we still want more.  We still spend our money on things that we don’t even need.  We need to really think about how we should use our money and make wise decisions about how we are or what we are spending it on.

After my Bat Mitzvah, I plan to still go to Friday night services and learn more about our culture, and what we believe in.  I’m going to celebrate the holidays and have a Shabbat dinner sometimes. I’m also going to Hebrew High next year and I plan on being a madricha in the Religious School.

Emily is the daughter of Eric and Tracey Lederer.  She is the sister of Mia Lederer.  She is the grandaughter of Dale Lederer of Charlotte, Pam Murtland of Beech Mountain, NC and Martin Lederer of San Diego, CA.  Send notes of mazal tov.

Mia Lederer

Matot-Mas-ei
Saturday, August 3

My favorite things about being Jewish are the holidays, food and the culture. I love celebrating the holidays because it is a happy time of year to get together with friends and family. I also enjoy the food! My favorite is matzo ball soup and I could eat it for all of my meals! It is fun for me to learn about new cultures of other places, but even more important to learn more about Judaism.

To me, becoming a Bat Mitzvah means I am more independent. When you are younger your parents do a lot for you but becoming a Bat Mitzvah means taking a large step towards adulthood. It also means you can continue more advanced Jewish education, and experience more outside your comfort zone.

Sheva and my preparation for my Bat Mitzvah has taught me a lot about myself as a Jewish person. Through Sheva I have learned about different ways I portray myself. I learned that there are different “faces” of each person. This means that what you see on the outside may not be the same person on the inside. We learned about how to be confident about our identity and being Jewish.

One of my mitzvah projects was bringing food to the homeless. I decorated, and packed food bags for people staying at Room at the Inn and cleaned up after their stay. I chose this because I think it is important that everyone on this Earth should have a home. It is unfair to me that we are destroying trees to build houses, but there are too many houses and not enough people in them. I understand the struggle of the people I visited went through, and it is sad to think that some people have to go through this. I want to continue doing things like this and giving people hope for a better future.  I also had a wonderful time spending Shabbat with the Jewish seniors at Sunrise Assisted Living.

I would like to continue my Jewish education. I plan on going to Hebrew High next year, being a madricha, and maybe soon I’ll get to travel to Israel.

Mia is the daughter of Eric and Tracey Lederer.  She is the sister of Emily Lederer.  She is the grandaughter of Dale Lederer of Charlotte, Pam Murtland of Beech Mountain, NC and Martin Lederer of San Diego, CA.  Send notes of mazal tov.

July 2019

Dylan Effren

Pinchas
Saturday, July 27

My favorite thing about being Jewish is learning how our ancestors kept our religion alive and how they helped us get to be here today. I also love how we celebrate the holidays with all my family, and of course delicious food. But most of all, I love how being Jewish is all about passing traditions down from one generation to another. Becoming a Bar Mitzvah means that I am becoming a Jewish adult. I now have responsibilities to my faith and my community.

For my mitzvah project I am going to be working with an organization called Sandbox. It’s an organization where I volunteer my time to help out families that have children with severe illnesses. I chose the Sandbox because I have seen first-hand what this organization does to help those in need. They have come out several times to my neighbor’s house to work on their house, (painting, yard work, etc.) while they were in Philadelphia with their daughter who right now is at CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia). As I get older, I plan to keep Judaism close to me by attending services, celebrating Shabbat and the other Jewish holidays. I also plan to become a member of AZA.

Dylan is the son of David and Ruthanne Effren. He is the brother of Joey Effren. He is the grandson of Donald and Shiffie Effren, Yvonne Amato and Cheryl Effren, all of whom live in the Charlotte area! Send notes of mazal tov.

June 2019

Alexander Sherman

Sh'lach L'cha
Saturday, June 29

My favorite thing about being Jewish is celebrating Chanukah with all of my family and eating latkes. Becoming a Bar Mitzvah means I am growing into a young adult. I learned that I can accomplish great things if I work hard.

For my mitzvah project I did several tasks. First, I worked on an Eagle Scout project at Weddington High School. Second, my family and I participated in mitzvah day at the Jewish cemetery. Lastly, I volunteered at the Jewish Family Services food pantry. They were all rewarding as I was able to help people in many different ways.

Now that I am a Bar Mitzvah, I plan on continuing to go to services and help my sister with her future Bat Mitzvah studies.

Alex is the son of Eric and Linda Sherman. He is the brother of Anna. He is the grandson of Jay and Sharen Sherman of Pawleys Island, SC and Ted and Florence Schaffer of Sandusky, OH.  Send notes of mazal tov.

Jaden Auslander

B'haalot'cha
Saturday, June 22

My favorite thing about being Jewish is being proud of our beautiful religion, culture, and heritage.  In my life, most of my friends aren’t Jewish, so when I talk about Jewish things, or invite them to Temple Beth El, it gives me a sense of uniqueness.  To further my Jewish life, I hope to attend Hebrew High through 12th grade.  As I continue to go throughout my Jewish life, I hope to join a Jewish fraternity in college, and teach my children when I become an adult.

My Bar Mitzvah project was Everybody Counts for Disability Awareness, a program that allows people to experience what it is like to have fine or gross motor impairments.  I chose this because it seemed like a great way to advocate for disabilities.  I learned that experiencing someone else’s reality can be a very powerful and educational experience.

To me, becoming a Bar Mitzvah means that you have become a Jewish adult.  You become mature and are seen as an adult in the eyes of the temple.  You are held to higher standards, and are expected to behave maturely.   When I entered Sheva, I realized that it connects to modern life.  I have enjoyed my year as a Sheva student and have discovered a newfound love of Jewish learning.

Jaden Auslander is the son of Dan and Jessica Auslander. He is the brother of Lillie and Nicholas.  He is the grandson of Robin and Cal Levy who live in Waxhaw NC, and Eta and Randy Auslander who live in Toledo, OH.  Send notes of mazal tov.

Luis Yaquian

Naso
Saturday, June 15

My favorite thing about being Jewish is eating falafel, especially the pita bread. I also like Israeli salad – tomatoes and cucumbers, plain and simple. I also like going to Temple because there are lots of fun activities to do here, like services, and Mitzvah Day, and hanging out with friends at NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth) events. For me, becoming a bar mitzvah means being invited to be treated like an adult in the Jewish community. So far, this seems to mean helping out more often and going to lots of meetings.

In preparing for my bar mitzvah, I learned how important it is to practice and to do everything on time, which is something I have been working on recently. For my mitzvah project, I am working with the elderly – I think they’re cool and fun to hang out with. Once I become a bar mitzvah, I will stay involved with the Jewish community through NFTY, maybe BBYO, and by attending Hebrew High.

Jack Stein

Naso
Saturday, June 15 in Israel

I think my favorite part of being Jewish has to be the celebrations with friends and family, and well, um, the food (I could go on all day about the wonders of latkes and matzo ball soup!) Also, I it feels cool to be able to stand out and teach other kids about my religion as well. Becoming a Bar Mitzvah for me is kind of that first event that tells you that you are growing up. My Mitzvah Project will be volunteering at the Freedom School, however that will be July, so I can’t tell you about it yet. I do plan on continuing my Judaism as an adult by attending Hebrew High next year!

Jack Stein is the son of Eric and Laura Stein. He is the brother of Scott Stein, and the human owner of Shadow the dog. He is the grandson of Steven and Karen (who will be joining him in Israel for his Bar Mitzvah!) of New Jersey. Unfortunately, his other grandparents, Richard and Patricia, are not with us anymore to be able to celebrate this momentous occasion.

Sophie Frank

Naso
Saturday, June 15 in Israel

My favorite part about being Jewish is the family, traditions, and food! My family makes me proud of being Jewish. I also love our traditions – all the way from singing HaMotzi at camp before we eat to singing the Shema right before bed. Also of course, food. Nothing makes me happier than mom’s haroset and my dad’s matzo ball soup for Passover and my dad’s famous dreidel cake every Chanukah! There are so many memories it’s hard to keep track. I just know that I am proud of being Jewish and want to keep our traditions as I grow up!

Becoming a Bat Mitzvah means that I just finished a big step in Judaism and I still have much more to learn and experience as I grow older. I have learned that anything you persevere through, you can do. Also I have learned to always be proud and never forget who I am. Just like my dad always says “Be kind, be smart, be Jewish!”

During Sheva next year I will focus on my Mitzvah project. I want to help children through an organization called Friendship Circle. The organization interacts with children with special needs. One of my favorite things is to make someone smile/laugh and brighten their day. I can’t wait to try out this project!

Through the rest of my journey as a Jew I will (of course) keep going to Jewish summer camp, participating in Shabbat services, and keeping our traditions.

Sophie is the daughter of Alain Frank and Audrey Afflerbach. She is the sister of Clara Frank. She is the granddaughter of Hugo Frank of Bodio, Switzerland and Cristina Bordoli-Tau of Zug, Switzerland and of Robert and Regina Afflerbach of Lynchburg, VA. Send notes of mazel tov.

Madison DeSantis

B'chukotai
Saturday, June 1

I love being Jewish because of all the holidays we celebrate.  Chanukah is my favorite because I love singing the blessings when we light candles, eating latkes and playing dreidel with my brother.  Becoming a Bat Mitzvah is important to me because I am giving back to God all of the things he has given me.  As I’ve studied for this day I’ve learned that I am a lot better at Hebrew than I thought I was because it’s always been hard for me.  I also discovered that I know a lot more prayers than I thought I did.  Finding this out made me super happy because it made me feel more confident about being able to prepare more easily.

For my Mitzvah project I volunteered at the Sunrise assisted living center.  I chose this because not all of the older people get visitors so I wanted to make their days happier.  We played Othello, went on walks and planted some flowers.  I really liked doing this because they had a really good time and they liked the vibrant colored flowers that I brought with me.  Now that I am becoming a Bat Mitzvah I plan to continue coming to Temple on Friday nights and Saturday mornings as much as I can.  I’m going to bring some of my friends because they are interested in learning about Judaism and services are a lot of fun.

Madison DeSantis is the daughter of Adam and Susan Desantis.  She is the sister of Matthew DeSantis, the stepsister of Josh Miller, Brady Miller, Chris Miller and Chelsea Brown and the stepdaughter of Heather DeSantis.  She is the granddaughter of Ruth Katz of Long Island NY and Herb and Bonnie Katz of Scarsdale NY.  Send notes of mazel tov.

May 2019

Nina Solar

B'har
Saturday, May 25

My favorite part about being Jewish is the family, friends, and food! During the Jewish holidays my family gets together and I have so much fun with them and they make me proud of being Jewish. I have met so many friends through Sheva and even when I was tiny at CJP. I have tons of great memories! I also love the food! Being Jewish means you get to feast on things like latkes, challah, and hamantashen!

Becoming a Bat Mitzvah means that I have embraced Jewish traditions and plan to continue to learn more. In Sheva and in the process of becoming a Bat Mitzvah I learned that I should be proud of my Judaism.

For my mitzvah project, I cheered special needs kids on before their performance with Playing For Others. I also spent some time clearing brush and picking up trash with the Parks and Rec Department at Colonel Beatty Park. My favorite part of my mitzvah project was collecting board books and presenting them to a wonderful girl named Lila, who has some medical complications. Seeing how happy she was to receive all the new books made me feel good. As I become a Jewish adult, I want to take on more responsibility in the Jewish community and pass on all the good food and traditions to my future family!

Nina is the daughter of David and Sara Solar. She is the sister of Aaron Solar. She is the granddaughter of Vicki Hopkins of Charlotte, North Carolina.  Send notes of mazel tov.

Toryn Nichols

Parashat Emor
Saturday, May 18

My favorite thing about being Jewish is the food. On different holidays we have different foods. For example, on Passover, we have matzo ball soup, charoset, and grape juice, and for Chanukah we have gelt, latkes, and so much more. To me, becoming a Bat Mitzvah means starting a new journey and making my own decisions involving Judaism and the way I choose to express it in my life. In preparing for my Bat Mitzvah, I learned that I know more about Judaism than I thought.

My mitzvah project was helping out with children and teens with mental disabilities through an organization called Friendship Circle. I chose this organization because I love children, and I had never worked with children with disabilities. We did many different activities like performing improv at the Acting Out studio and making pottery at the Charlotte Jewish Preschool. I learned about different mental disabilities including autism and Asperger’s, cerebral palsy, and Down Syndrome. We talked about the differences in the disabilities, and how people may act differently when triggered. I enjoyed this project a lot because we really got to interact with the teens and do fun activities with them.

Throughout my journey as a Jewish adult, I will continue to go to Jewish summer camp, and I will also work as a madricha in the religious school to help other kids learn about Judaism.

Toryn is the daughter of Matthew Nichols and Katrina Burton Nichols. She is the sister of Kaya and Liya. She is the granddaughter of Eve and Nick Nichols of Lexington, MA, and Katherine and Howard Burton of Brooklyn, NY. Send notes of mazel tov.