Saturday, December 21
My favorite thing about being Jewish is the community that we have. Whenever I am at temple, or at the religious school retreat, and around my Jewish friends, I am always so happy and feel like myself. Being Jewish is a part of me that will never leave me.
To me, becoming a Bat Mitzvah means growing up and becoming a Jewish adult. Being a Jewish adult means I am supposed to follow all the commandments and want to go to temple, not be forced to by my parents (even though my parents never had to force me to go). In this process, I learned that even though at one point I was nervous and scared for this day to come, the closer I got, the less stress I had for it, and I became more excited – my tutors and teachers and everyone who helped me get here helped me realize that.
My mitzvah project was feeding the homeless and helping those in need. For my birthday party, instead of having gifts I asked people to bring water and toothbrushes and things everyone needs, and we made blessing bags for those who are less fortunate and passed them out. Through that process, I learned that sometimes, helping other people find happy moments and seeing them happy is the extra step we need to find happiness ourselves.
To continue learning about Judaism and living with it, I will keep going to services, apply to be a madricha next year, and join Jewish youth organizations.
Eve Weiss is the daughter of Brian and Brooke Weiss. She is the sister of Hannah Rose and Sarah Helen Weiss. She is the granddaughter of Allen and Honorine Weiss of Jackson, MS and James and Ruth Gianelloni of New Orleans, LA, and Larry and Stephanie Hawke of Tuscon, AZ. Send notes of mazal tov.
Saturday, November 23
My favorite things about being Jewish include spending time with family on Jewish holidays and eating very good food, especially my Mom’s food. To me becoming a Bar Mitzvah means that I have new responsibilities in my community. I know I need to be more responsible.
While studying for my Bar Mitzvah, I have learned that preparing for big things can be difficult but going through this experience has made me a better person and more appreciative of being Jewish.
For my Mitzvah Project, I decided to work at Friendship Trays. Friendship Trays is an organization that provides cooked food for people that are not able to get out of their house. We make sure that the homebound are able to have good meals, every day. Through volunteering I met many different kinds of people that I may not have met otherwise. Many had special needs, and some had other issues including not being able to find job so they could support themselves. I plan to keep active in Temple Beth El and in the Jewish community by becoming a madrich in the Hebrew school. I also plan to learn more about Judaism through my parents, Grandparents and being active at Temple.
Oliver is the son of Andrew and Jill Halverstam and the brother of Ivey. Send notes of mazal tov.
Saturday, November 9
Celebrating Chanukah is my favorite thing about being Jewish, because I get to spend time with my family and I get to sing the blessing when we light the candles. I also like latkes. I enjoy going to Saturday morning services because I know all of the prayers and the tunes to go along with them, so I am able to fully participate in the service.
I am looking forward to becoming a Bat Mitzvah because it is a day I get to share with all of the important people in my life. It feels good to be able to stand in front of the community and know that people trust me enough to lead them through the service.
One of the things that surprised me during my bat mitzvah preparation was how much I ended up liking services. In the beginning, I didn’t think I would enjoy going to services, but as I continued going to tutoring, it got better, and I got better, and I was able to participate more and more, and it got more fun.
For my Mitzvah Project, I volunteered to read with the little kids at Freedom School. At first I didn’t think I’d have fun with them, but as I got to know them, and realized that I could relate to them about all sorts of things, I ended up having a good time. I also learned how to be better at communicating – the longer I was there, the more comfortable I became interacting with the scholars, which made it easier to communicate and motivated me to keep coming back.
Now that I am a Bat Mitzvah, I plan to continue my Jewish education by celebrating holidays, coming to services once in awhile, and I am considering joining a youth group!
Alison is the daughter of Adam and Shannon Berliner. She is the sister of Carolyn Berliner. She is the granddaughter of Adrienne and Alan Berliner, and Linda Church, who all live in Florida. Send notes of mazal tov.
Saturday, November 9
My favorite thing about being Jewish is the way all Jews see each other as family. I love that everyone includes people who aren’t family and are all very supportive and loving. I also love the food.
Becoming a Bat Mitzvah is something I’ve always been looking forward to. To me, becoming a Bat Mitzvah means that you are a grown up and have more “grown-up” responsibilities. Even though I don’t think it’s possible to instantaneously become a Jewish adult, I think the whole process shows that you are responsible, especially if you are well prepared.
While preparing for my Bat Mitzvah, I went to Sheva. In Sheva, I think I learned that I am really sensitive and thoughtful. I mean that whenever I do something, I always put my whole heart into it and make it as amazing as I can.
For my mitzvah project, I met with migrants seeking asylum in America at a bus stop. They have been traveling for such a long time so I prepared bags with basic necessities for them to keep for their journey. The bags had food, water, toiletries, socks, and news articles.
Throughout the process, I learned to not take what I have for granted. Personally, I’m always wanting new things. Whether it’s a new pair of shoes or paint supplies or whatever I might want, meeting the buses helped me realize that I really didn’t appreciate what I had. These migrants have the clothes on their back and maybe a small bag. They don’t have new shoes or paint supplies but they are trying their hardest to make a new life for themselves in America.
After I become a Bat Mitzvah, I will continue my Judaism by attending temple, celebrating holidays and living my life while keeping the Torah and Commandments in mind.
Jessie Adams is the daughter of Tracey and Josh Adams. She is the sister of Abby Adams. She is the granddaughter of Josie Adams of North Carolina and Sigrid Schatvet of Connecticut. Send notes of mazal tov.
Saturday, November 2
My favorite thing about being Jewish is that there are not a lot of Jewish people so we are a very close community. Becoming a Bar Mitzvah is important because it means I have become a Jewish adult and have to follow all of the Jewish laws and commandments. Preparing for such a big event is a lot of hard work. This process helped me improve my time management skills and work more efficiently.
For my mitzvah project, I volunteered at Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts as an apprentice. I chose this project because I like theater and working with children, so the apprenticeship was a win-win. I learned how to lead a group through a day of rehearsal and I also learned what it is like to be at the bottom, doing jobs no one else likes to, like taking out the trash.
Now that I am a Bar Mitzvah, I plan to continue my Jewish education by attending Hebrew High.
Jacob Schwartz is the son of Marsi and Jeff Schwartz and brother of Zachary and Joshua. He is the grandson of Kenneth and Gail Goldberg of Charlotte, NC and Elliott and Marjory Schwartz of Indian Trail, NC. Send notes of mazal tov.
Saturday, November 2
My favorite thing about being Jewish is learning about interesting stories about our history and ancestors. Learning these stories made it more interesting for me to go to services and Hebrew school. What I love most about these stories is getting to tell all my little cousins and also even older people about them!
Becoming a Bar Mitzvah means that I’m going to have to make mature decisions and also become a role model for younger kids that look up to me. The thing I learned while studying for my Bar Mitzvah is that I’m very hard on myself and that if it’s not perfect, I have to do it again and again.
My mitzvah project was getting food and supplies for foster children. I chose this project because my Pop Pop does something similar for Hope Street Food Pantry. The most important thing I learned was to always be grateful for what I have and for the people that love and take care of me. I realized how lucky I am that I have a family that loves me.
After my Bar Mitzvah I plan to participate in Hebrew High and BBYO which will let me spend more time with my friends and learn more about Hebrew and the stories I have not learned yet.
Kyle is the son of Ken and Kim Katz. He is the brother of Alex Katz. He is the grandson of Lita Katz and Sidney & Susan Doobrow of Charlotte, North Carolina. Send notes of mazal tov.
Saturday, October 26
One of my favorite things about being Jewish is getting to go to temple instead of school on Jewish holidays. I also think it’s really cool that we have made it to today even though so many people have tried to hurt us over the years. For me, becoming a bar mitzvah means becoming more of an adult – taking on more responsibilities, both in Judaism and in the rest of my life. For example, it means I will now count as part of a minyan when people are working to gather enough people for certain prayers. Moving forward, I plan to participate in Hebrew High and am thinking about being a part of the madrichim program.
In preparing for my Bar Mitzvah, I learned that it is a lot harder than previously expected. At first, I thought it was just going to be memorizing a couple of lines and saying them out loud for people – but it’s much more about learning them than memorizing them, and meant that I had to practice a lot, not just during tutoring sessions.
For my mitzvah project, I am planning to work with younger kids – reading to them and hanging out with them. I am good with younger kids and like working with them; they don’t judge me and they just want to have fun – and, it is nice to have someone looking up to me!
Saturday, October 26
My favorite thing about being Jewish has been learning how to read an ancient language. It makes me feel connected to the past and my ancestors. Becoming a Bar Mitzvah means that I have become a mature young adult that will be ready for everything life throws at me. In preparing for my Bar Mitzvah, I learned that breaking things down into small chunks makes a large task easier.
For my mitzvah project, I performed card magic for kids at the Relatives. It’s a safe home that helps children and youth find shelter and support. I chose this mitzvah project because I enjoy learning and performing card magic and I love to make people happy. My mitzvah project taught me that one small gesture can really make someone’s day. Each time I left the Relatives I smiled and was so glad I could make their day brighter. I plan to keep learning about Judaism and living with Judaism by continuing to live a Jewish life and celebrate the holidays with my family to keep the traditions alive.
Miles is the son of Noah and Linda Humphrey. He is the older brother of Reid Humphrey. He is the grandson of Roberta & Herb Schneiderman of Bluffton, SC and Joyce Humphrey & Geoffrey Posner of Philadelphia, PA. Send notes of mazal tov.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.