bar & bat mitzvah planner
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B2 Bar & Bat Mitzvah PlannerNovember 1, 2012 Washington Jewish Week
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B3Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner Washington Jewish Week November 1, 2012
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B4 Bar & Bat Mitzvah PlannerNovember 1, 2012 Washington Jewish Week
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B7Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner Washington Jewish Week November 1, 2012
Table of Contents Electronic invitations .....................................................................................................B8
Bat Mitzvah reflections..................................................................................................B9
Bnai Mitzvah in the tropics.........................................................................................B10
Finding your mitzvah ...................................................................................................B13
Writing thank you notes ..............................................................................................B14
Starting the process ....................................................................................................B15
Advice from rabbis.......................................................................................................B15
Bnai Mitzvah in Italy ...................................................................................................B16
A family Torah ..............................................................................................................B17
Surviving Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah...............................................................................B19
Mars and Venus turn 13...............................................................................................B20
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by Suzanne Kurtz
WASHINGTON (JTA) My bat mitz-vah invitation had bright purple embossedtext on a hot pink card with my name en-larged in decorative script at the top anddaisies adorning the bottom.
Twenty-plus years later, I remember ea-gerly waiting for my friends to receive theinvitations and running home weeks laterto check the mailbox for the return of theRSVP envelopes. Secured in a scrapbook,the invitation is a treasured memento.
Today, however, a rising trend in simchainvites may be changing the run to themailbox into a dash for the email inbox andthe card stock mementos into computerprintouts.
No longer for holiday parties and happyhours only, electronic invitations are be-coming an acceptable way for some to an-nounce major life-cycle events, includingbnai mitzvah celebrations and weddings.
When Jason Horowitz, a marketing ex-ecutive in New York, and his partner, Carl,were planning their February wedding,electronic invitations became the solution
for one major concern: ey were short ontime.
With more than 200 invitations to send,the couple didnt want to sacrice style forhaste.
Paperless Post, a website launched by a20-something brother-and-sister team in2008, was the perfect answer, saidHorowitz, 41.
e wedding was very much plannedlast minute, but we still wanted to giveguests 30 days to RSVP, he said. Horowitzadded that using electronic invitations"saved money and it's environmentallyfriendly.
Paperless Post invitations are sent byemail (or through a social networking sitesuch as Facebook or Twitter) with an imageof an envelope appearing on screen. eguests name can be written on the outsideof the envelope in a typeset of your choice,and the inside can include a lining to givethe computer image a paper look.
e invitation itself can be designed withthe assistance of graphic designers or se-lected from existing templates.
Having received similar invitations from
friends for less formal occasions, Horowitzsaid, I loved the concept and thought theaesthetics were much better than Evite.
Unlike Evite, Paperless Post invitationsare not free, but there are also no pop-upads.
Margery Klausner, an attorney in South-eld, Mich., used an electronic invitationas a follow-up to the paper invitation forher son Nathans June bar mitzvah. Klaus-ner, 41, used the image of the paper invita-tion for the electronic version.
While all local guests and family mem-bers received both the paper and electronicinvitations, she exclusively sent electronicinvitations to guests whom she wanted toinclude but wasnt 100 percent sure thatthey could come, like those [living] in Is-rael.
Dealing with dierent postage rates anddelivery time, she said, was another factorin opting for an electronic invitation.
One of the main advantages to using theelectronic invitations was the quick arrivalof the responses, said Klausner.
Two hours aer hitting the send buttonon her computer, I received 57 RSVPs,she said. Additionally, Klausner was able totrack the guests who didnt open the emailand contact them directly to nd out ifthere was a problem.
It was beyond awesome, she said. Itsreally impressive.
Since Paperless Post launched, co-founder James Hirschfeld said, more than10,000 bnai mitzvah and 40,000 weddinginvitations have been sent over the site.
Calligraphers and engravers shouldntworry too much, however. Traditionalpaper invitations are still very much invogue, said Wendy Katzen, a Washington-area event planner.
She said that of the dozen or so weddingsand bnai mitzvah celebrations she plans forclients each year, not one has opted for anelectronic invitation.
For Melissa Kanter, 49, the paper invita-tions for the December bnot mitzvah ofher twin daughters, Emily and Rachel, willset the tone for the aair.
Its an accessory, like the bracelet to theoutt. It pulls the whole thing together,said Kanter, an occupational therapist inShort Hills, N.J.
e invitation will reect the personali-ties of her daughters, said Kanter, whoworked with a graphic designer.
e RSVPs will be with a response card not directed to an email address andshell create a special postage stamp for the
invitations and cards. Aer the aair, the invitation will be
framed in a shadow box and used to makegis for the girls jewelry boxes and pil-lows.
Id rather have the tradition of a paperinvitation, Kanter said. It will be a keep-sake that Ill put in their baby book.
Katzen says that in planning a life-cycleevent, it's important to keep in mind thatguest lists are oen multigenerational andyou want to take care not to insult anyone.
ere are still [people] who think aBlackBerry is a fruit, she said. You wantto keep those guests in the loop, too.
at wasnt an issue for Horowitz evenhis guests in their 80s had email addresses.
Days before the wedding, he sent a mes-sage through the site clarifying the starttime of the ceremony. e exibility of anelectronic invitation made it much easier,he said, otherwise I would have had tomake a hundred phone calls.
With a guest list of more than 1,500,Rabbi Batya Steinlauf, 48, also went theelectronic route for her son Noahs barmitzvah last December aer it was sug-gested by another mother.
It was brilliant and made it possible,said Steinlauf, whose husband, Gil, is therabbi at Adas Israel Congregation in Wash-ington.
e entire congregation was invited tothe bar mitzvah and subsequent kiddushlunch.
e Steinlaufs also went the electronicroute for a separate Friday-night dinner forfamily members and a party on Saturdayevening for children.
Can you imagine sending out 1,500paper invitations? Steinlauf asked. Itsaved a fortune and saved many trees.ere's no question, I can't imagine an-other way to have done this.
B8 Bar & Bat Mitzvah PlannerNovember 1, 2012 Washington Jewish Week
Electronic invitations a growing trend, butmany still want traditional paper keepsakes
By Emily Jacobs
On November 24, 2001I celebrated becom-ing a bat mitzvah with amelave malkah (reception)in the social hall of myschool, Yeshivat Rambam,in Baltimore. Amidstlavender table clothes, pur-ple ice skate key chains andlasagna, I announced to thecommunity that I was en-tering the world of adult-hood and was ready to takeon more responsibilities asa Jewish woman. Elevenyears later, I reflect on whatthose responsibilities havecome to mean in my life, asa now almost 23-year-old. I vividly remember when
the planning for the big daybegan. What invitationswould I want? What wouldmy mitzvah project be?And, most important toany 12-year-old girl, whatin the world was I going to wear? In theend, my invitations were gorgeous. Iwore a black suit laden with crystals, andmy hair was half up in curls. For my mitzvah project, I wanted to
incorporate my favorite Jewish holidayof Purim with my favorite mitzvah oftzedakah. My parents and I decided thatit would be fitting to contact a sofer andhave a Megillat Esther written and do-nated to our familys synagogue. Whilemy 12-year-old self didnt realize howsymbolic it was to donate a Megillat Es-ther, which tells the story of how a
strong Jewish woman saved her nation,every year after my bat mitzvah comePurim time my pride and identity as aJewish woman would intensify uponhearing the words written in themegillah, my megillah, read out loud tothe congregation. As the post bat mitzvah glow faded
and the PBMD (post bat mitzvah de-pression- as my friends and I termed it)set in, I came to realize that there wasmore to becoming a Jewish adult thansimcha dancing and making a speech.With the help of my mother, grand-
mother and older sister, I was able to seehow they had taken the traditional re-sponsibilities and molded them intotheir own, personal mitzvot. For exam-ple, I have watched the women in my lifelight the Shabbat candles every week. Mymother wears a beautiful shawl over herhead and sings the blessings out loud,sometimes accompanied by my visitingsister who now lives in Connecticut withher husband and son. While I probablytook the beauty of this mitzvah forgranted when I was a teenager, I am pos-itive that when I get married (just over180 days from now- but whos counting)I too will take on this mitzvah and putmy own spin on it. I guess what Im trying to say is that
the beauty of Judaism, with its thou-sands of mitzvot and traditions, can becrafted to be your own, thereby makingit even more special and meaningful foryou, no matter where you are in your Ju-daism. As someone who attended an Or-thodox day school at the time of my batmitzvah, I was taught to believe that the
rules or commandments were black andwhite. There was no wiggle room.Eleven years later, my life experiencesand wonderful people Ive met havetaught me that in fact Judaism is whatyou make of it and is something youshould cherish, and not resent becauseof something it doesnt allow you todo. Part of me wishes that I could share
these reflections with the bat mitzvahgirl who was lifted on the chair duringthe hora and actually had to ask her dadfor a tissue during her bat mitzvahspeech (I had a cold!). The other partknows that it took my eleven year jour-ney to where I am now to realize howspecial and unique my own Judaism is,and how I cant wait to pass on my fam-ilys unique traditions to my future chil-dren. As I get ready to become a kallah and
embark on my next journey in life, Iknow the bat mitzvah girl in me is proudof the woman she has become, 11 yearslater.
B9Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner Washington Jewish Week November 1, 2012
Bat Mitzvah reections, 11 years later
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Sand on the oor. Coconuts on thetrees. Ocean breeze in the air. Sounds likea Bar Mitzvah.
For many families, the idea of havingtheir child become a Bar or Bat mitzvahin the St. omas Synagogue, surroundedby close family and friends, is paradise.
e historic synagogue in CharlotteAmalie on the island of Saint omas inthe U.S. Virgin Islands was built in 1833.Originally known as Beracha VeshalomVegmiluth Hasidim, the synagogue is thelongest in continuous use now under theAmerican ag.
Both Max and Charlie Greenblatt ofPotomac became Bar Mitzvah in St.omas. It was a trip to St. omas byparents Jane and Drew and a tourist stopat the synagogue that set the ball in mo-tion. We went to St. omas and saw thesynagogue and were oored by howbeautiful and intimate it is and were in-spired by the history, explains JaneGreenblatt. We asked Max if he wantedto have his Bar Mitzvah there.
Greenblatt explains that they worriedabout Max not having the big party, butall he wanted was to be around familyand close friends. It was easier than goingto Israel, easier and more accessible. Wetalked to the grandparents and said howdo you feel about going and they saidWere in! e rabbi at the time, who hassince le St. omas and was replaced byRabbi Moch, told the Greenblatts that ifthey were able to secure a date during va-cation time, people would come.
e synagogue, with its sand oor,suited the casual style of the Greenblatts.But she cautions, ere is a compromise.
Your child is not celebrating with every-body. Hes not brought in [to a party] withbig to do. Hes giving up a huge party.
And the parents compromise too, giv-ing up the opportunity of celebrating withthe larger community. And, while somefamilies chose to have a second, largerparty, for family and friends who couldnot join them on the island, the Green-blatts chose to leave it with just the island.We liked it the way it was. Neither of ourkids felt need for morethey loved cele-brating with cousins and best friends. Westill did t-shirts and montages and all thestu they would have had at a biggerparty, but on a smalller scale.
She explains another drawback is thecost. Traveling to St. omas is expensive.Youre asking a lot from people. Andthen you feel personally responsibile foreveryones vacation. If something goeswrong, you feel like its your responsibilityto x. In fact, the resorts air conditioningbroke during their son Charlies Bar Mitz-vah. Waiting for replacement parts tocome in from the mainland took days.We felt responsible and spent a lot oftime in the managers oce negotiatingthe rates and making sure everyone hada fan.
Arranging an island mitzvah is easierthan you may think. Simply call the syn-agogue and secure a date. e Greenblattswere given the choice of anksgiving orwinter break. ey decided winter breakfor both of their boys to give their gueststhe option of a longer vacation. Aanksgiving date would only allow for along weekend and conicted with someof the cousins school schedules.
Both the synagogue and hotels havelists of vendorsphotographers, caterers,orists, party planners. ese islands are
set up to doevents like this.When you callfrom Marylandand say I needthis and that, itsdone, saidGreenblatt.
She does cau-tion, Be waryitruns on islandtime. Everyone isvery relaxedabout returningphone calls. Halfof our vendorsdidnt have con-tracts. ey justsay yep, I haveyou down andyou have to gowith that.
For Maxs, Iwent down earlyto check out ho-tels and tryrestaurants, but itreally wasnt nec-essaryeveryonecame through.We also calledpeople who haddone this and gotr e c o m m e n d a -tions. At no timedid a vendor notcome through.But you have tolet that control part go.
e boys prepared through the Green-blatts synagogue, going through the reg-ular tutoring that all the other kids wentthrough, the same trope class with their
friends, everything was the same. esynagogue even gave the boys aliyot when
Bnai Mitzvah in the tropics
See ST. THOMAS, next page
St. omas Synagogue.Photos by Blue Glass Photography.
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they returned and announced their hav-ing become Bar Mitzvah to the congrega-tion.
She does oer this advice: make surethe tutor and the cantor here communi-cate with the rabbi there to make suretheir expectations for your child are thesame. She recommends arranging foryour child to have phone calls or Skypewith Rabbi Moch in St. omas severaltimes before the Bar Mitzvah. And thenondenominational synagogue will acco-modate any practice, if youre Reform,the rabbi will do less Hebrew. If you wantyour child to run the entire service in He-brew, hell do that.
But this is no Vegas-wedding chapel. Tohave a simcha in the St. omas Syna-gogue, it is required that you are mem-bers of a synagogue in the United Statesand understand the meaning of a BarMitzvah, You cant walk in o the streetsand say, I want to be Bar Mitzvahdtoday, she jokes.
And know that there will be membersof the congregation as well as touristswalking in and out.
For Maxs, she remembers, someonefrom a cruise ship came in and took tonsof pictures. We ended up exchangingemails and they sent us copies. DuringCharlies the cruise ship tourists whostopped by during rehearsals containedfamily friends, who just happened to be
passing through.Guests for Maxs Bar Mitzvah stayed at
the Ritz Carlton. Festivities began onursday night with a Par Mitzvah golftournament at the Mahogany Run GolfCourse, hosted by Maxs aunt and uncle.On Friday, the hotel arranged a BeachOlympics. e Greenblatts 40 guestswere split into four groups and competedin silly games, boating and sand castlebuilding. A funny awards ceremony fol-lowed the days events.
Friday night brought Shabbat servicesat the synagogue and dinner at RoomWith a View restaurant, sponsored by thegrandparents.
Saturdays morning Bar Mitzvah serv-ice was followed by a luncheon at anearby restaurant. e Greenblatts pro-
vided transportation to all events for theirguests. Aer the luncheon, some guestswent back to the hotel, while others choseto stay and shop in town.
e beach party Saturday night featureda Jimmy Buet-type band and a bonrewith smores. Dress was island casualcargo shorts, maxi dress and no shoes.
Before the Bar Mitzvah, the Bar Mitz-
B11Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner Washington Jewish Week November 1, 2012
See ST. THOMAS, next page
from previous page
Guests at Charlies Bar Mitzvah competed in an Amazing Race around the resort.
Charlie and his friends and family leave for an aernoon of parasailing.
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vah mom ran around Rockville lookingfor fake shells and tropical linens to createcenterpieces. It was a hassle she didnt re-peat for her second sons event. e rsttime, I focused on centerpieces and dec-orations and things you focus on here.But you dont need it. e orists thereknow how to play it up. With the palmtrees and ocean and sand, all you need arevotive candles. I was looking for tropicallinens for the table, but youre in the trop-ics, you dont need linens to show that.
She added, Its not a banquet hall thatneeds to be dressed up. Its done for you -its naturally beautiful.
Even thought Charlie wanted the sameSt. omas experience as his big brother,parents Jane and Drew wanted to makehis a little dierent.
Again, 40 guests attended, but thistime, the group stayed at the Sugar BayResort. His Bar Mitzvah was on a urs-day, so timing was dierent. e rstnight, guests enjoyed dinner in one of theresorts restaurants by the pool.
e next day, the Greenblatts plannedan Amazing Race type eventa scav-enger hunt that took teams throughout
the resort. Some of the questions wereCharlie based and some were island andhotel based. We thought that would be agood way for people to get to know thehotel, explains Greenblatt.
Guests then had time to enjoy the re-sort activities. Parents relaxed at thebeach. e kids went parasailing andsnorkling and played beach volleyball.
Wednesday night, the grandparentshosted dinner at Pesce restaurant in RedHook. is was the opportunity to showthe montage and make speeches (whichwas another tip learned from Maxs.en, they showed the montage outsideduring the evening beach party and thewinds kept blowing down the screen.)
Following the Bar Mitzvah ursdaymorning, guests had a catered lunch at thehistoric building the synagogue ownsacross the street. A jazz guitarist set theperfect tone to the gorgeous views from theterrace of the town of Charlotte Amalie.
For the party, they wanted to do some-thing dierent. Using Charlies love of seaturtles, the Greenblatts rented out CoralWorld, a nature preserve and aquarium.e cocktail hour featured a steel drumband and tropical drinks. Guests signedpostcards to Charlie that his mom laterturned into a collage that hangs in his
bedroom. (Tip: postcards are easier thana large sign-in board to bring home in asuitcase.)
Coral World marine biologists gaveguests a meet and greet with a sea lionand baby sea turtles. As his mitzvah proj-ect, Charlie sold wrist bands and col-lected money that he donated to CoralWorlds turtle rescue project. Funds wereused to purchase medical supplies for in-jured turtles.
e next day, the Bar Mitzvah boysfamily and friends enjoyed a private snor-keling trip on the Daydreamer catamaranthat launched from the hotel beach.
Guests who stayed through New Years
Eve brought in 2012 at the hotels party.The mom who has been there and
done that twice now offers, Whatevergiveaways you provide, make suretheyre easy to bring home - you dontwant to give people spectator chairs. Wegave beach bags and t-shirts, thinkingpeople would use them.
The main takeaway, she says, It wasvery intimate, it felt like summer camp.Its intergenerational. Everyone gets toknow each other, like summer camp.You give up having a big party. Yourchild has to give up having a big partyand getting lots of gifts. But for my guys,it was perfect.
B12 Bar & Bat Mitzvah PlannerNovember 1, 2012 Washington Jewish Week
from previous page
Charlie reads from the Torah during his Bar Mitzvah services.
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The Hebrew phrase, Tikkun Olam, isdened as repairing the world.When you reach the age of a bar or batmitzvah, you take on the obligation toparticipate in the repairs.
When approaching their bnai mitzvah,children oen wrestle with many ideas ofwhich charity, organization or group ofpeople they want to help. When makingthis decision, their personal interestscome into play. Whether they are passion-ate about animals, Israel, sports or helpingthe homeless, teenagers nd many dier-ent creative ways to connect tikkun olamwith themselves.
If your level of interest in your cause isstrong, you may decide to continue inyour eorts of supporting it.
My Bar Mitzvah project isnt over be-cause camp Naaleh, once the recession hit,lost a lot of money and it might be closingdown, Joseph Gelula, a seventh grader atthe Charles E. Smith Jewish Day Schoolsaid. Im still collecting money to save it.
Camp Naaleh, based in New York, isgeared toward helping Jewish teens andchildren nd their Jewish identity in theworld. Gelula has a sincere interest in this he attends Moshava in Maryland, oneof the seven branches of the camp inNorth America.
Some pre-bnai mitzvah yound adultsare interested in helping Israel on an in-ternational level.
Yael Green is a junior at CESJDS, sheand her younger brother, Noah Green,who is in eighth grade, both helped chil-dren suering from posttraumatic stressdisorder in Sderot, Israel for their bnaimitzvah projects. To this end, Yael madepillow cases and sent them to the children
in Sderot. Noah sponsored a day out for kids with
Operation Embrace, a non-prot organi-zation that helps victims of terror in Israelto recover both nancially and emotion-ally. On his trip to Israel, they went to aninstitute of science in Rehovot and thenwent go-karting.
It was really cool to see pictures of [thekids] when they got the pillowcases, YaelGreen said. And just to make themhappy, made me feel even more happierthan they probably did.
If you have issues nding a cause to sup-port based on your interests, ponderabout an issue through which you couldmake a dierence.
Denitely do something that is goingto make you happy and help other peoplein need, because thats what counts,CESJDS freshman Ariela Diamond said.
Diamond went to a local shelter for thehomeless and cooked dinner for residents.
It made me feel so good because whenI was handing them out, they were all sonice and so loving and so thankful foreverything we were giving them, she said.
If you are interested in animals, con-sider helping your local animal shelter orsomething else that benets your commu-nity. Matthew Ost, an eighth grader atCESJDS, volunteered with a non-protorganization that rescues stray dogs,nurses them back to health and ndsthem a home.
[You should] nd something that youlike and think about how you can use it tohelp make a dierence in your commu-nity, he said.
Whatever your interests may be, youcan discover a way to take your part intikkun olam and repair the world as youtake the next step in your Jewish life andbecome a bnai mitzvah.
B13Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner Washington Jewish Week November 1, 2012
Finding your mitzvah
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Lets be honest thank you notes arestressful. Its stressful to have to nudgeyour child to write them. You worry thatthe handwriting is illegible. Or worse,that the card wasnt sent out before yourmother called to tell you that Harriet, herbest friend, called to ask if Jake got hercheck because she hasnt received a thankyou note yet. Which probably results inpoor Jake getting yelled at for not writinghis thank you notes.
Relax. Im here to help. Here is my fool-proof way of managing the thank younote writing with the least amount ofstress and tears.
Organizee process begins when you create
your guest list. Buy a pack of 3 x 5 cardsand a small le box to hold them. Writethe name and address of each guest on acard.
PrioritizeAer the bar mitzvah party, as your
child opens his gis, record the gi on thegivers card (this also creates a useful re-source when its time to reciprocate fortheir child).
Once this is nished, prioritize thecards for your child. Here is my suggestedorder feel free to change to suit yourparticular situation:
Grandparents always, always rst.Unless there are great-grandparents, andthen they are rst. Its a matter of respect.
Great aunts and uncles again, its aseniority thing. Also, this generation wasraised with better manners no emails,phone calls or text messages with smileyfaces for this group. ey wrote thankyou notes, they still write thank you notes
and they expect hand writ-ten thank you notes.
Friends of grandparents you will get calls fromyour mother if these do notgo out quickly. Trust me. Iwas even tempted to putthis group rst.
e rabbi, cantor, tutor having your child write anote to them is a really nicetouch. Teach your child thatwe dont only thank for amaterial gi, but for whatthese professionals gave tohim through their teaching.
Aunts, uncles andcousinsalthough there is agood chance this group isalso going through the bnaimitzvah circuit and under-stands when notes taketime.
Friends of parents they, like your siblings and cousins willunderstand.
Friends of the child important sotheir parents know that their child didntlose the gi, but remembered to put it onthe gi table.
ScheduleWhen your child sees the stack of
cards, it may seem overwhelming. Helphim by creating a schedule. Sit down andcount the number of notes (remember,this will be less than the number ofguests. Even if there were four membersof a family invited, they only need to re-ceive one thank you note.) en, divideby 30 (assuming your child will writenotes 5 days each week with the goal ofnishing in 6 weeks). You will get thenumber of notes he needs to write eachnight. For example, if he needs to write
150 thank you notes, he should write 5each night. A very manageable number.
WriteWhen you order your invitations, order
thank you note cards. Order the singleside cards and not the ones that fold over.Why? Because these are bigger (and alsoconfusing for the child who may unfoldthe card and begin writing at the top ofthe unfolded card and not below thefold.) You dont need this much room. Itonly complicates the writing process.
Which brings me to the next point do not write long cards. My husband tellsthe story of how terribly long it took himto write all of his thank you notes. He ad-mits that he poured over each note, care-fully writing a meaningful message toeach and every person. Lovely, in theory,but long and painful in actuality.
Heres the deal, the purpose of thethank you note is to let the giver knowthat you received their gi. e check wasnot lost, the silver necklace in the Tianybag wasnt stolen from the table in thehallway outside of the hotel ballroom,and the box with the menorah wasopened in time to use for Hanukkah.
So, stick to the basics. In fact, help yourchild out and write a sample note for himto follow. Here are some ideas:
ank you for the generous check. Imsaving to buy an electric guitar and this re-ally helps out! ank you also for comingto my bar mitzvah. It meant a lot to meand my family. Love, Jake
ank you for the beautiful necklace! Ilove it! I wore it to school Monday and Igot so many compliments. ank you forcoming to my bat mitzvah. It meant a lotto me and my family. Love, Sarah
(In the above example, please noticethe exclamation points. I always felt thatthe girls really liked my gi if they usedexclamation points.)
ank you for the tzedekah box. Its re-ally meaningful. Im trying to put some ofmy allowance aside each week to donate toMitzvah Heroes. Im sorry you werent ableto come to my bar mitzvah, but I hope tosee you soon. Love, Max
(Please remind your child that even ifhe would have rather received an iPodthan Judaica, he should write a note as ifhe loves the tzedekah box.)
Or, keep it super simple:ank you so much for your generous
gi. I am so glad that you could celebratewith me. Many thanks, Rachel
RecordAsk your child to show you the cards
before putting them into envelopes. Youcan then put a check mark on the 3 x 5card with the date the thank you note wasmailed. en, if your childs handwrittingis, shall we say, not great, you address,seal and stamp the envelope to mail.
ere you have it a stress-free guideto writing notes. And, dont worry, theresno need to thank me.
B14 Bar & Bat Mitzvah PlannerNovember 1, 2012 Washington Jewish Week
A stress-free guide to writing thank you notes
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B15Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner Washington Jewish Week November 1, 2012
by William TregerSta Writer
In academic coordinator Liane Aaronspre-Bnai Mitzvah trope class at Congre-gation Bnai Tzedek in Potomac, Boris isvery excited for his Bar Mitzvah.
When I found out my Bar Mitzvah date,I also found out that it was four days beforemy birthday, so its two dierent excitingdays, kind of like a doubleheader; its goingto be four days of epic-ness.
Carly was looking forward to her big dayas well. When I received my date, I was ex-cited and scared, excited to have a party, butscared because reading the Torah in frontof a lot of people is kind of scary. I wasthinking about the ceremony, getting up onthe Bima.
Isaac has two older brothers, so hes seenit, been there.
When I got my date, he says, I was justthinking that I was much closer to the cer-emony than I thought, and then straight tothe party yeah party! And I just want tosay to my older brothers, I proved youwrong, I can get through this what do youthink about that?!
With even more cause to celebrate, Rileyand Ellie are having their Bat Mitzvahs to-
gether. According to Riley, Im really ex-cited to share my Bat Mitzvah with Ellie.
While the content of academic coordi-nator Aarons class is focused on learningtrope, the class is also socially progressiveand the students will celebrate one an-others Bnai Mitzvahs as a group. As Can-tor Marshall Kapell likes to point out, thelearning aspect and the social aspect of theclass are closely interrelated.
Here, the kids are introduced to theworld of being comfortable on the bima,and being a part of the congregationalcommunity, says Aaron.
e kids get really excited to see theirpeers go through the Bnai Mitzvahprocess. But there is a reality to it by put-ting them in trope class together, they sharetheir nervousness and their excitement bybeing with [their peers] the weeks beforeand aer.
We encourage the kids to interact, saysAaron. is is not a silent experience. Weencourage them to share stories aboutbeing in synagogue and religious school.As the students discuss these questions,they become aware that they are a part of acommunity, she says.
Aarons focus is to get the kids comfort-able with trope. Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt of
Bnai Tzedek also sees all of his students aspotential Torah readers.
According to Aaron, A lot of kids dowell at it and like to come back. Many kidscome back.
In addition to trope, the future Bar andBat Mitzvahs are also beginning to thinkabout their tzedekah projects.
Recently, Boris was walking throughBethesda and encountered an artisan mak-ing jewelry and backpacks out of recyclablegoods. He wants to collect recyclables andreusable materials and donate them to thiswoman.
Isaac wants to donate a bunch ofmoney to the charity Smile Train, so chil-dren with cle palates can receive surgery.
A lot of people in my family work onbreast cancer awareness issues, says Alex.Alex was thinking of staging a sports eventto raise money for breast cancer awareness.
Lindsey has great ideas, too. She lovesdogs, and wants to donate chew toys toshelters.
Aaron tries to keep her class less focusedon the partyting and more focused on theceremony.
We all need to remember, she says, thestar of the show is Torah, and you are fo-cused on the lessons before you.
Starting the process
How many 12 or 13 year old girlsand boys in any culture stand beforehundreds of people, chant from an an-cient scroll, lead prayers in a foreignlanguage, and deliver a thoughtful dis-course to a largely adult audience? Thebar or bat mitzvah experience is noth-ing less than an extraordinary rite ofpassage! Every Bar or Bat mitzvahshould realize just how much the Jew-ish community values and respectsthem by celebrating their coming ofage in such a prominent, public way. Rabbi Adam J. RaskinCongregation Har Shalom, Potomac
Take this opportunity to feel prideand gratitude as you see the adult thatyour child is becoming before youreyes. Rabbi Gil SteinlaufAdas Israel Congregation, Washing-
Its not really about the party. Thereis a lot that goes into planning the cel-ebration, but make sure that the family
takes the full journey together at-tending services as a family, giving sup-port to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah in his orher study, engaging in the Jewish com-munity so that your child sees thatthere is a richness to Jewish life beyondreligious school. With all that goes intoBar/Bat Mitzvah preparation, the stu-dent deserves a nice reward at the end but keep in perspective that the partyis the reward, the service is the event. Rabbi Daniel PlotkinBeth Shalom Congregation, Columbia
Each Bar Mitzvah should connect to aliving Torah and to a Jewish community. Rabbi Lyle FishmanOhr Kodesh Congregation, Chevy
Remember that the Bar Mitzvah isthe 1st step in a lifetime of Jewishlearning, committment, and involve-ment. Enjoy every minute of the prepa-ration and take the lessons to heart. Rabbi Michael J. SafraBnai Israel Congregation, Rockville
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Using 21st century technology, fam-ilies are discovering a new way andplace to celebrate an ancient tradition their son or daughters bar or bat mitz-vah, in Italy.Travel consultant Ellen Paderson asks,
What can be more exciting for a young-ster who reaches this milestone and theirfamily, to read passages from ancientTorah scrolls, standing at a 220 year-oldhand-carved table at the center of a 400year-old synagogue in the town of Cal-abria, home to a Jewish community dat-ing back two millennia.Using Skype technology, Italian-
American Rabbi Barbara Aiello (RabbiBarbara), Italys first woman Rabbi (andfirst non-Orthodox one) who has Cal-abrian roots dating back hundreds ofyears -- is teaching Bar and Bat Mitzvahstudents their parts so when they cele-brate the milestone in the historic syna-gogue in Calabria, other familymembers can participate no matterwhere they are. Coordinating travel
arrangements and logistics with theRabbi is Ellen Paderson, founder of Bar/ Bat Mitzvah Vacations (www.barmitz-vahvacations).The idea was a Godsend (pun in-
tended) for the Rabin family of Mary-land. The Rabbi trained Zachary for thebig day via Skype. In Italy, just his dadAdam and one grandparent and auntcould attend in person. But with Skype,Zachs mom was able to participate inthe service which made it even morespecial. While mom watched live fromMaryland, a set of grandparents watchedfrom Florida.After the trip, Rabbi Barbara, who
worked with a videographer in Italy, toldthe Rabins, Im glad you were all able tojoin us each step of the way. I know howmuch you enjoyed it when we passed theTorah to you via Skype and wrapped you(via computer) in the tallit (prayershawl) for the family blessing. It was amoment most special. You've done awonderful thing making the Bar Mitz-vah happen for Zach and the whole fam-ily. The Bernstein family of Illinois also wanted to celebrate their son Ethans Bar
Mitzvah in Italy. His mom, MaryAnnBernstein, says, My Internet search fordestination Bar Mitzvahs led me toEllen Padersons website. They createdexactly the type of experience we envi-sioned. We chose Italy as the site of richJewish and world history. Another at-traction was having the Rabbi handleadvance bar mitzvah training (viaSkype) and plan behind-the-scenestours. It was so nice when 20 local resi-dents came to the service.Rabbi Barbara heads Ner Tamid del
Sud, the first active synagogue in Cal-abria in over 500 years. (The synagoguesname is Hebrew and Italian for EternalLight of the South). Her father, AntonioAbramo Aiello was raised in Serras-tretta, the village where the synagogue islocated and her great grandfather, Save-rio Scalise, led prayers in a room thatlater became the synagogue itself. Rabbi Barbara gave the Bernsteins a
tour of Timpone, the Jewish quarter incity of Nicostro in the Lamezia Termeregion. In Venice, the family enjoyed aHebraic heritage tour that included Jew-ish ghettos and synagogues, plus a gon-dola serenade and visit to the Muranoglass factory. There were day trips toPisa, Lucca and Vinci. In Rome, the
Bernsteins toured an ancient synagogue,the Coliseum, Vatican, and SistineChapel.MaryAnn says, Ellen was responsive
to our needs and helped us create a cus-tom itinerary to reach our goal of learn-ing about Jewish heritage in Europe. Shetook care of every detail and tracked ourprogress throughout. She helped us cre-ate an experience, not just a vacation.We look forward to my next son's barmitzvah trip -- and so does he. I thinkthat says it all.For families interested in other venue
choices in Italy, Rabbi Barbara can offi-ciate at Bar/Bat Mitzvahs aboard cruiseships, in villas, country houses or in ahotel setting in Rome, Venice or Flo-rence, for example.
Ellen Padersons agency, Smiles andMiles Travel (of which Bar/Bat MitzvahVacations is a division), recently won theprestigious Golden Egg Award from theNetwork of Entrepreneurs Selling Travel(NEST), as one of the top 15 home-basedagencies within NESTs 500 membersacross the U.S. She is a member of the Ed-itorial Advisory Board of Travel MarketReport and of The Affluent Traveler Col-lection. For more information, contactEllen Paderson at [email protected] or call 508-238-4088.
B16 Bar & Bat Mitzvah PlannerNovember 1, 2012 Washington Jewish Week
Bnai Mitzvah in Italy
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by Edmon J. Rodman JTA News and Features
It was the Night of Broken Glass inGermany, Kristallnacht a nationalpogrom of death and destruction ofJewish property and the rounding up ofJews and Dietrich (David) Ham-burger was in hiding.Hamburger was the leader of a small
congregation that met in his home inFuerstenau, a countryside village inwhat now is the province of Niedersach-sen. Someone had warned him aboutthe coming onslaught, and on Nov. 9,1938 he went into hiding in the localCatholic hospital.The cover story was that he was in
for a hernia, said Edith Strauss Kod-mur, his granddaughter and the familyshistorian.This spring 75 years later and a
continent away at a Californian wineryKodmurs granddaughter will haveher bat mitzvah. And Charlotte RuthSmith on that day will read from theTorah scroll that her great-great-grand-father rescued soon after that tragicnight.But Hamburger would need to escape
Germany and the Torah would need tofind its way back to his family.By prior arrangement, one of his
hired hands met him in the hospital gar-den while the nuns were at Mass, Kod-mur recalled from detailed notes. Hedrove Dietrich back to his home wherehe packed, taking an oil portrait of wifeRosa [he was a widower] and the com-munity Torah with him.Kodmur thought Hamburger had re-
moved the rollers, or etz chaim, to makethe Torah easier to transport.He then boarded the train to Hol-
land, to Winterswijk, to his daughter
Bette, said Kodmur, whose family aswell as her uncle Siegried, Hamburgersson, had left Germany for the UnitedStates in 1938.Kodmur as a small child had visited
her grandfather frequently, she said, re-calling that he would sit in the gardenwith his children on the Sabbath, read-ing to them and discussing the Bible.He was very adventuresome, and
well-dressed. Involved with the horseand cattle trade business, she said.A memorial book for the Holocaust
victims of Winterswijk titled We OnceKnew Them All uses quotes from thepeople who lived in the eastern Hollandtown to tell what happened to Ham-burger and his family.My parents had a Jewish person in
hiding during the last year of the war, aMister Hamburger. We called him by hisalias, Uncle Derk, a community mem-ber recalls in the book. His daughter,son-in-law and their children died inthe concentration camps. He also had ason in America.Once we were threatened by a post-
ing of German soldiers at our home.Uncle Derk hid behind a wardrobe. Ob-viously we noticed that Mr. Hamburgerwas very afraid of being discovered. MyFather told Uncle Derk to act differ-ently, otherwise everyone might be ar-rested.On the morning of liberation, I woke
up Uncle Derk. He was so shaken by myexcited talk that his false teeth fell out:into the chamber pot!From another community member:
Father Hamburger stayed a while inWinterswijk after the war. My, my howthat man cried over his grandchildren.After the war, while Siegfried was vis-
iting his father in Holland, Hamburgergave him the Torah scroll to bring back
to his home in Redwood City, Calif. Itstayed there until Siegfried died.Kodmur, who lives in the San Diego
area, knew that Siegfried had given theTorah to his son Steven. But she had lost
touch with that part of the family andwas uncertain of its whereabouts.In 1996, Kodmur's daughter Julie Ann
B17Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner Washington Jewish Week November 1, 2012
Rescued from Kristallnacht, a family Torah reaches a new generation
Charlotte Smith and Rabbi Jerry Levy at the dedication of the family Torah scroll rescuedby her great-great-grandfather, at AlmaVia, a senior residence community in San Rafael,Calif., October 2012.
Julie Ann Kodmur
See torah, next page
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and her fiancee, Stu-art Smith, attended apre-wedding coun-seling session withRabbi Jerry Winstonin San Anselmo,Calif. The rabbi men-tioned that he had of-ficiated at themarriage of JulieAnns cousin.
Julie Ann hadheard the stories ofher great-grandfa-thers escape with theTorah and its un-known whereabouts,and in the whirr ofJewish geography andfamily history thatensued, both Julie Ann and Winstonsoon realized that Steven Hamburgerhad given the rescued Torah to therabbi.
I didnt even think to ask him for it,said Julie Ann, thinking back on thatmeeting.
In 2000, Winston officiated at thebaby naming for her daughter Char-lotte, but Julie Ann and the rabbi wouldlose touch.
It was more than a decade later, whenJulie Ann began thinking about herdaughters bat mitzvah, that herthoughts again turned to the Torah. Be-ginning a search last year, she soon dis-covered that Winston had died and thesmall congregation he led had dis-banded. Could he have given the Torahto another synagogue?
She called the big synagogue in theSan Francisco Bay Area's Marin County,Rodef Shalom, and the historic syna-gogue in San Francisco, Temple Emanu-El, and many others leaving messages.Then she received a call back.
The woman had a German accentand said she was a friend of Rabbi Win-stons. She told me that his sons hadgiven the Torah away, to Rabbi AlanLevinson of Sausalito, rememberedJulie Ann, who lives with her husband,Stuart, and Charlotte in the small townof St. Helena, Calif., near the family-owned Smith-Madrone Winery.
After contacting Levinson, who hadbeen a longtime friend of Winstons,they quickly exchanged what each knewof the provenance of the scroll. It was
the one. His plan was to give it to an-other synagogue, said Julie Ann.
Meanwhile, Julie Ann also was look-ing for a rabbi to prepare Charlotte forher bat mitzvah. She connected withRabbi Jerry Levy, who worked with stu-dents via Skype. She had known Levygrowing up in San Diego; he had beenthe rabbi at her brother Davids barmitzvah.
Levy also was the chaplain at Al-maVia, a faith-based elder care commu-nity in San Rafael, Calif., whereaccording to the rabbi, 18 to 20 of the120 residents are Jewish. Julie Ann in-quired if Levinson would consider giv-ing the Torah to Levy for use in hiscommunity. Levinson agreed and thismonth, Levy held a dedication at Al-maVia.
With Levinson, Julie Ann and Char-lotte present she helped roll the scrollto the correct reading the scroll to beknown as the Hamburger/FuerstenauTorah was dedicated.
They were kvelling, said Levy of theAlmaVia residents on hand.
Speaking at the ceremony, Charlotterecounted her great-great-grandfather'sescape on Kristallnacht and the Torahstravels.
We found it, and not only would I beable to use it for my bat mitzvah, wecould give it a home here at AlmaVia,she said.
This coming spring, I will borrowthe Torah from all of you here at Al-maVia for my bat mitzvah. And thestory will continue.
from previous page
Dietrich (David) Hamburger, who rescued the community Torahof Fuerstenau, Germany, days aer Kristallnacht in 1938, isshown in a 1948 photo taken in Winterswijk, the Dutch town inwhich he hid from the Nazis.
Photo courtesy of JTA News and Features
VOTED & NOMINATEDFOR BEST OF BETHESDA
B19Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner Washington Jewish Week November 1, 2012
By Simone EllinSpecial to WJW
Cantor Matt Axelrodsnew guide, SurvivingYour Bar/Bat Mitzvah: TheUltimate Insiders Guide(Jason Aronson, 2012) iswritten primarily for kids,but how I wish it wasaround when I was plan-ning my daughters batmitzvah. For parents likeme with little Jewish ed-ucation the cantors sim-ple explanations,conversational style, andattention to even the mostobvious details of the bnaimitzvah process surewould have come in handy.That being said, SurvivingYour Bar/Bat Mitzvahdoes have passages desig-nated especially for par-ents, and may even appealto those hard to please,eye-rolling young teenswho are actually experiencing the riteof passage. And one other thing un-like so many books about bar and batmitzvahs that spend so much timetalking about the party, this book man-ages to be fun while only focusing onthe religious aspects of the ritual.
The topics covered here range fromWhy am I having a bar or bat mitz-
vah, to The Trouble with Trope, toRevenge of the Bar or Bat MitzvahKid to Help! My Parents are DrivingMe Crazy. Your child might not admitit, but if you left it on his bed, he justmight check it out. If not, you canread it yourself.
Simone Ellin is a reporter for our sis-ter publication, Baltimore JewishTimes.
Surviving Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah: e Ultimate Insiders Guide
My son, the future of your great, mar-tyred people lies in your hands!
Rabbi Isaac Halevi Herzog
By Dr. Erica BrownJNS.org
When your father says this to you atyour bar mitzvah, its a prettyheavy message. Its one thing to say yourea man to a kid who hasnt started shavingand whose voice cracks when he speaks.Its another to lay the entire Jewish futurein his hands. But this was no ordinary barmitzvah, either.
is was said by the rst Ashkenazichief rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Isaac Herzog(who held the position from 1936 to1959) to his son. e Herzog child tookthis message to heart and Chaim Herzog,the son he spoke to, became the sixthpresident of the state of Israel, thus takingthe future of the Jewish people to heart.It's remarkable what one good bar mitz-vah sermon can accomplish!
Rabbi Herzogs message might havebeen more weighty than most, but itsessence is something we tell our childrenall of the time in dierent ways. ey area continuation of an amazing legacy. Ourpeople use the expression ldor va-dorfrom generation to generationliketagline candy. Its ubiquitous. And wemean it when we say it. We believestrongly that children are our future. Her-zog articulated it beautifully: My son,strive to know yourself, to know and un-derstand your Judaism, your wonderfuland unique history, the inseparable con-nection of your people with the patriarchsand the prophets...
So if we truly believe that our childrenare our future and Judaisms future, howcan we understand the day school teacherwho was just arrested for possession ofchild pornography? How can we readfront-page stories in national newspapersabout the cover-up of child abuse in reli-gious communities? Are we doingenough to protect our future?
It is all indefensible. We do have to domore to protect our children. e worldof technology has empowered kids withadult information and access but also dis-empowered them as victims of stalkersand abusers whoin another universemay have restrained their perverse incli-nations. But when pictures of
compromised children are only a clickaway, too many people give in to theirbasest desires.
Child abuse hurts everyone. It hurtsour community, too. Published nationalchild abuse statistics include:
A report of child abuse is made everyten seconds.
More than ve children die every dayas a result of child abuse.
Approximately 80% of children thatdie from abuse are under the age of 4.
More than 90% of juvenile sexualabuse victims know their perpetrator insome way.
14% of all men in prison in the USAwere abused as children.
36% of all women in prison wereabused as children.
Children who experience child abuseand neglect are 59% more likely to be ar-rested as a juvenile, 28% more likely to bearrested as an adult, and 30% more likelyto commit violent crime.
Child abuse occurs at every socioeco-nomic level, across ethnic and culturallines, within all religions and at all levelsof education.
Organizations like Darkness to Light,JCADA and local domestic abuse aware-ness organizations oer prevention pro-grams to help us recognize the dangersigns. ey need our support, but theyalso need us to take advantage of theirprogramming and counseling opportuni-ties in our schools, synagogues and areainstitutions.
Rabbi Herzog ended his speech to hisson with these words of hope: May youbecome a source of blessing to yourself,to those dear to you, and to the entirehouse of Israel, Amen. May all of ourchildren be loved, blessed and protectedso that they, too, can continue our legacyand create one of their own. Amen.
Dr. Erica Brown is a writer and educatorwho works as the scholar-in-residence forthe Jewish Federation of Greater Washing-ton and consults for the Jewish Agency andother Jewish non-profits. She is the authorof In the Narrow Places (OU Press/Mag-gid); Inspired Jewish Leadership, a Na-tional Jewish Book Award finalist;Spiritual Boredom; and Confronting Scan-dal.
Editors note: is article is distributedwith permission of Dr. Erica Brown. Sub-scribe to her Weekly Jewish Wisdom listat http://leadingwithmeaning.com.
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By Rona Sue London
If men are from Mars and women arefrom Venus then where do 13-year-old boys and girls come from? Perhapsthey evolve from black holes, nebulas oralien planets. Seventh grade holds unan-ticipated surprises, both dreadful anddelightful, and they are different for boysthan for girls. It is the year our young-sters declare to the Jewish community,Today I am an adult. And you think,Yeah, right, as if!Thirteen-year-old kids hover precari-
ously between being children and youngadults. If you are living with one, youknow what I mean. Sometimes you aredealing with a mature young man orwoman with startlingly brilliant insights;other times you are confronted with theincarnation of the devil.
As the seventh grade year gets underway, the bnai mitzvah circuit takes cen-ter stage. The production includes elab-orate outfits with uncomfortable shoes,hours sitting in synagogue services, par-ties that rock until the wee hours of thenight and the increasing drama of socialexpectations until you have a pressurecooker. Boys and girls tend to react dif-ferently to these stressors. Boys seem totake it all in stride. Girls may get giddy.Everyone is breathless, bracing for theonslaught. It all begins with the prepara-tions.
If you get a boy to take a shower itsa miracle. With a girl, getting ready is anevent in itself. The biggest decision Jakehad to make was which of two ties hewas going to wear. With Miriam, it wasa weekly extravaganza, where the prepa-
ration was just as important as the af-fair, sadi Toni Greenberg, mother toJake, 18, and Miriam, 13. For Jake Ibought the obligatory blue sports jacketand gray slacks. One trip and we weredone. With Miriam we went on five dif-ferent shopping trips in search of theperfect dresses. She had at least six dif-ferent ones; the synagogue dress, theparty after services dress, the day timeparty dress, the fancy night time dress,the fancier night time dress, and ofcourse her own bat mitzvah dress. Andthen each week I had girls over myhouse spending two to three hours get-ting ready, giggling, trading dresses.They took over my bathroom withmakeup, curling irons and hair prod-ucts.
In most families, there are emotion-ally charged discussions (and sometimesslammed doors,) regarding what consti-tutes appropriate attire for shul and par-ties. For girls it is the issue of short skirtsand strapless dresses for a religious cer-emony, for boys dressing up and wearingan uncomfortably stiff shirt and tie arethe problem. Karen Desser, mother ofAaron and Talia (college students,) andEthan, 13, who attends Pikesville MiddleSchool, feels the fashion issue is non-ne-gotiable. She and her husband, Morris,members of Chizuk Amuno, feelstrongly that there is a proper way todress in synagogue. Desser says, Withboys its easy. I think Aaron and Ethanaccepted that it was the one time theyhad to dress in suits and ties. With girlshowever, it is a challenge. Finding a dressthat is conservative, not too short andwith sleeves was difficult, but I was will-
ing to let Talia get mad at me. I believe itis the time to be a mom.
Karen Mazer is the owner of Syn-chronicity Boutique in Pikesville. Thestore carries special occasion outfits andaccessories for teens and tweens. Sheand her husband, Millard, have threechildren. David, their youngest, attendsa local all boys school and was recentlya bar mitzvah at Oheb Shalom in Balti-more. Mazer and her employees workhard to navigate the difficult territorybetween parents and their children. Itis an awkward time for any child as theygo through puberty. Girls are often un-comfortable with their bodies and boyswant to fit in. Mazer believes thateveryone has some physical quality that
makes them beautiful. Whereas mothersmight focus on a daughters figure, it isperhaps better to draw attention to beau-tiful eyes or lovely posture and it is nothard to find something to complementeveryone. When fitting boys, Mazerfinds that boys want to wear what theirfriends are wearing and she is very re-spectful of that. When the kids arehappy, they radiate, and that is what it isall about.
With girls you have the dress, ear-rings, jewelry, hair, makeup, handbagand shoes. With boys it is just the suit,tie and a shirt, said Gilbert Cohen,owner of Cohens Clothiers, the go-to
B20 Bar & Bat Mitzvah PlannerNovember 1, 2012 Washington Jewish Week
Mars and Venus turn 13
See MARS & VENUS, next page
Toni Greenberg looks at the album she made of her daughter Miriams Bat Mitzvah.
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place for bar mitzvah suits. You aredealing with a young fellow and he is notinterested in his appearance except forbasketball shoes, mesh shorts and t-shirts. Most times he doesnt really wantto be here. But we go out of our way totry to help the family relax and look atthe process in a positive way.
Creating positive feelings is importantthroughout the entire bar and bat mitz-vah cycle. This is particularly true whenthe familys own event is on the horizon.In this situation as well, gender differ-ences are apparent. Toni Greenberg re-members that Jake only wanted to pickout his yarmulkes. Miriam wanted ahand in every decision from the invita-tions to the place cards. Greenberg re-marks, Miriam was so involved, sheeven wanted to choose the tablecloths.Jake didnt even know there were sup-posed to be tablecloths! In the Desserfamily, Karen remembers, Talia wasmore interested in getting involved in in-vitations and such. Her son, Ethan, wasa bar mitzvah in August and Desser says,He just didnt care about those things.
For those attending a Jewish dayschool, the year holds a particular kindof pressure. In most cases the whole classis invited to every event. This can meanthat a seventh or eighth grade class willhave been to 50 bar mitzvahs in a littleover a year. Some kids handle the pres-sures well but for others, it presents chal-lenges.
There is novelty in September as thenew crop of students is inaugurated intothe cycle. The children are fascinatedand well-behaved. As the year wears onand they become comfortable in theshul, with the services and each other, itcan become more challenging. ShelleyHendler, middle school head of KriegerSchechter in Baltimore, and mother oftwo daughters and a son, says, It is achallenge for the community. Whenthere is a bar or bat mitzvah every week-end, how can we as teachers, parents andkids make certain this unique day is ap-preciated, that each week is special forthe family and for that child? We workhard to make that happen. Robyn Blum,middle school assistant head of KriegerSchechter and mother of two young chil-dren, agrees. We are constantly having
conversations with each other and thestudents about how to make it kadosh,how to find the holiness. They find thatthe teens rise to the occasion and appre-ciate the solemnity of the service as wellas the delight of the celebration.
Whereas some kids are thrilled toparty every weekend, others find as theyear progresses and burnout threatens,that it is best to pick and choose whichevents to attend so that children havesome weekends without activity. Fami-lies handle the influx of invitations dif-ferently and the distinction here seemsless gender based and more personalitybased. Extroverted children relish theconstant energy and interaction, moreintroverted children less so. KarenMarino says that all the students in her13-year-old son Bens Hebrew schoolclass at Beth Israel Congregation wereinvited to each celebration and the samewent for the Jewish kids in his Boy Scouttroop. Overall, he went to about 30 barmitzvahs and it was a lot, but he wasfairly energetic through it all. He wasleery if his group of friends was notgoing, but loved it when his friends were
B21Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner Washington Jewish Week November 1, 2012
MARS & VENUS
from previous page
See MARS & VENUS, next page
e Marino family pose in their synagogue best.
121 congressional In.rockville, md 20852tel.: (301) 770 5999
8100 boone blvd.vienna, va 22182
tel.: (703) 760 0690www.nostosrestaurant.com
Nostos, from the owners of the twenty year successfulMykonos Grill, is now open in the Tysons Corner area,
specializing in traditional Greek cuisine with an emphasison fresh fish and mezedes small plates.
Best Restaurant Award 2012 Washingtonian Magazine
going. As the prayers and parties draw to a
close, the end of the evening brings itsown drama. Greenberg says, Drivingboys home after an event is mellow.They are half asleep. Girls on the otherhand are doing the gossipy thing. Theyare discussing who was wearing what,who was dancing with whom. Its notheartbreaking things, its more silly stuff.There is no teenage angst. When thegirls suspect Toni is listening in, theyswitch to texting each other even thoughthey are sitting next to each other in thecar.
When Karen and Ken Marino drovetheir daughter, Melanie home from
events, they would get lots of details.Marino says, Melanie would tell me allabout the centerpieces, the D.J. and theroom. I got tons of information fromher. When they drove their son, Ben,home Marino says the contrast wasstriking. I had to pry information outof him because he could have cared less.
The bar mitzvah circuit is not for thefaint of heart. Whether they are fromMars, Venus or some other intergalacticformation, our teens are looking for usto set the tone. Everyone who has beenthrough the process of attending orhosting agrees that it is important tokeep our eyes on the big picture. Withthe pronouncement, Today I am anadult the next generation is joining theranks of our Jewish community, pimples,party dresses and all. Ldor va dor!
November 1, 2012 Washington Jewish Week Bar & Bat Mitzvah PlannerB22
MARS & VENUS
from previous page
Miriam Greenbergs Bat Mitzvah album.
For boys, picking out the outt for the big day comes down to shirt, tie, pants and jacket.
B23Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner Washington Jewish Week November 1, 2012
300 Shady Grove
15720 Shady Grove Rd.Gaithersburg, MD 20877301-948-1390300shadygrove.comDancing the Horah, lighting the candles - nomatter the tradition, it's always more fun at300 Shady Grove. Our onsite event plannerswill help you select the right space, guide youthrough the 300 catering menu and muchmore. And no need to sweat the details, ourprofessional wait staff is on hand for everyframe bowled. Check us out at 300shady-grove.com.
CLydeS oF GaLLery PLaCe
707 7th St.,NWWashington,DC 20001202-349-3700The Piedmont Room accommodates up to200 for cocktail receptions, and up to 140 forseated events. This room has a private balconyand a private bar. Call Tim Gabel at 202-349-3700 or [email protected]
CLyde'S oF TySoNS CorNer
8332 Leesburg PikeVienna,VA [email protected] private rooms that open into one largeballroom to accommodate up to 175 seatedguests. Decorated in Art Deco pastels, Clyde'sOverlook Room is the perfect settingfor Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, as well as other joy-ous occasions. Allow us to assist you in all as-pects of your reception. Please call KristinLarson at (703) 734-1907.
Contact a Bar/Bat Mitzvah Specialist at888.809.7139600 Water St., SWWashington DC 20024www.entertainmentcruises.comEntertainment Cruises sails the Potomac year-round providing guests with a full dining ex-perience on the water complete withentertainment and breathtaking views. Choosethe elegant Odyssey, the festive Spirit of Wash-ington, or the exclusive Capital Elite Yacht forthe perfect event on the water. Ask about ourinclusive event packages!
iL PorTo reSTauraNT
245 Muddy Branch Rd.Gaithersburg, MD301-590-0735www.ilportogaithersburg.comFamily owned since 1996, serving pastas, freshseafood, veal, poultry, pizza, homemade Italianbread and desserts made fresh daily. Carry-outservice available.
7710 Wisconsin Ave.Bethesda, MD 20814301-652-58143133 Wilson Blvd.Arlington, VA 22201703-522-8999www.kabobbazaar.comEnjoy our delicious kabobs that are prepareddaily and cooked right before your eyes on ouropen-fire grill. We offer delicious daily spe-cials. Let us cater your next event!
320 Kent Square Rd.Gaithersburg, MD 20878301-258-6425www.gaithersburgmd.gov/kentlandsmansionKentlands Mansion is perfect for small wed-dings, receptions, rehearsal dinners, Bar/BatMitzvahs, and special occasions. We cater tothe most discriminating taste. It is beautifullylandscaped with manicured lawns, lovely treesand shimmering lakes. Upon entering thisstately Mansion your imagination takesover...22-foot ceilings with dentil molding,dark wood paneling, polished hardwoodfloors, crystal chandeliers and a music roomwith a hand-painted ceiling. Experience the el-egance and charm of a grand estate.
moNTGomery CouNTry CLub
20908 Golf View DriveLaytonsville, MD 20882Valencia Lewis240-912-9515 [email protected] your special day in our bright,newly-renovated ballroom that accommodatesup to 180 guests and offers a breathtaking viewof our golf course. We are a full-service cater-ing facility that provides a number of delight-ful menu selections and a special kids buffet.Our events coordinator, Valencia Lewis, hasmore than 25 years of experience in providingexcellent, attentive service and can workwithin any budget.
121 Congressional LaneRockville, MD 20852301-770-5999Mykonos Greek Restaurant has been noted bythe Washington Post for Greek Cooking at itsbest and by Washingtonian Magazine as oneof its100 Very Best Restaurants. The exten-sive menu offers roast lamb, chicken, Hellenicseafood, vegetarian dishes and daily specialsincluding mezethes, two separate presenta-tions of fifteen unique dishes.
1500 South Capitol St., SEWashington, DC 20003202-640-7368www.nationalsevents.comMore than you expect, everything you canimagine. Nationals Park is a great venue tohold your Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. From enjoyingyour party in one of our premium clubs, togoing on a ballpark tour and taking battingpractice, your options are endless and willhave all the makings of being a homerun!
10710 Falls RdPotomac, MD 20854301-983-8838popovers.comCary G. Prokos, Chef/Proprietor Since 1931.Where the tradition of hot golden popovers andfine country cuisine continues. Nestled in theheart of Potomac, Normandie Farms distinc-tive and rustic French decor creates an unfor-gettable ambiance. Enjoy house specialties thatinclude Beef Wellington, Veal Oscar, GrilledSwordfish and Rack of Lamb. Open Tuesdaythrough Sunday including Sunday Brunch.
8100 Boone Blvd.Vienna, VA 22182703-760-0690www.nostosrestaurant.comNostos, from the owners of the twenty yearsuccessful Mykonos Grill, is now open in theTysons Corner area, specializing in traditionalGreek cuisine with an emphasis on fresh fishand mezedes (small dishes).
The CoNTiNeNTaL eveNT CeNTer
9705 Liberia Ave. Suite 101 Manassas, VA571-208-1208thecontinentalcenter.comThe Continental Event Center is Northern Vir-
ginias premier events venue for weddings, par-ties, business affairs, and other activities thatrequire flexible and ample space, catering andentertainment services, plentiful parking, andprofessional event management service. Com-posed of 3 distinct ballrooms which, depend-ing on event size, can be flexibly connected orseparated. Combined, the center delivers morethan 11,000 square feet of space, convenientlylocated between several major transportationarteries and airports, and is a short drive fromboth the hustle and bustle of downtownWashington as well as the bucolic Blue RidgeMountains.
The FiLLmore SiLver SPriNG
8656 Colesville RdSilver Spring, MD 20910301-960-9991fillmoresilverspring.comThe Fillmore Silver Spring is the newest editionto downtown Silver Springs historical arts com-munity just minutes from Washington D.C.Our venue accommodates 2000 guests or con-certs and 1200 guests for private parties. Weoffer stateof-the-art sound and lighting sys-tems, lush interiors, professional staff and cater-ing services.
36 Vital WaySilver Spring, MD [email protected] offer breakfast, lunch and dinner and anarray of Catering for the Special Event.We also Cater for Kiddush's, Shabbat Dinners,Shiva Platters, Weddings and Bar/Bat mitz-vahs. Every Wednesday and Sunday, spin thewheel and win a prize. Every spin is a win!
CaTeriNG by aLaN weiSS
443-394-8338800-459-0009240-393-9073www.cateringbyalanweiss.comContemporary, traditional and gourmetkosher cuisine all designed to give you an eventfor the ages. Event planning at no additionalcharge. Under the Rabbinical Council and StarK supervision.
GreeN PLaTe CaTeriNG
11307 Elkin St.Wheaton, MD [email protected]g.comGreen Plate Catering specializes in vegan and
bar & bat Mitzvah Listings
B24 Bar & Bat Mitzvah PlannerNovember 1, 2012 Washington Jewish Week
vegetarian cuisine; and features seasonal, local,sustainable and organic food to please allpalates. Owner Kit Wood has been catering ca-sual to elegant events in the DC region for 28years. Signature treats include organic Cajunchicken bites with chipotle lime dipping sauceand mini pumpkin whoopie pies. Call Kit fora customized menu and budget, and watch forGood-To-Go meals, coming soon!
Hoffman & Co.
Caterer of DistinCtion
410-764-6100Toll Free: 888-795-5550New Jersey - New York Area www.lovetocater.comHoffman & Co. is one of the finest kosher catererson the east coast. Focused on satisfying ourclient's every desire. Customized menus rangingfrom traditional to the latest gourmet foodtrends. Artistic, creative, innovative, elegant, af-fordable, and especially personable Fine GourmetCatering That Happens To Be Kosher NationallySupervised By The Orthodox Union OU
tHe KosHer KitCHen Catering Co.
P.O. Box 9252McLean, VA 22102Michael Medina 703-227-7142 [email protected] Under the Vaad Harabanim of Greater Wash-ington/Rabbinical Council.
mr. omeLette Caterers
8600 Dakota DriveGaithersburg, MD 20877(301) 340-2800David & Jennifer Modelwww.mromelettemd.comKosher dairy caterers offering completeparty packages including pasta stations,crepes, pancakes, waffles, mini Frenchpastries, fresh assorted breads, Espresso,cappuccino coffee service and fresh fruitsmoothie bars. Full party rental servicesalso available.Mashgiach services available.
potomaC 18 Caterers
(Formerly Dahan)14670 Southlawn Lane, Suite 1Rockville, MD 20850301-294-8445www.potomac18.com With an all-star team, Potomac 18 is reinvent-ing kosher catering. Potomac 18 understandsthe importance of each event, whether its aformal ceremony, an intimate dinner or agrand celebration.
5724 General Washington DriveAlexandria, VA [email protected] Catering Company is one of DCspremier off-premise caters. Windows culinarycreations are abound with inventive interpre-tations and modern designs based on thefinest traditions of American, regional, and in-ternational cuisine. We offer Kosher andKosher-Style cuisine while combining our ex-quisite food, presentation, and service for yourmemorable event.
2850 Quebec Street NWWashington, DC 20008202-670-4308Karla Rosenfeld Azachi, [email protected] at Yarden Fine Catering believe every eventis a momentous one. Your event should notonly be flawlessly planned and seamlessly ac-complished, but also memorably delicious.Yarden has the experience to bring together anevent from the overall theme to the finest de-tails. We are creative, forward thinking and de-tail oriented with a single focus to deliverunique experiences tailored to your event andyour guests.
(Formerly Strike Bethesda)301-652-0955 x231Fax: 301-652-0957Julie [email protected] party at Bowlmor is lots of fun for everyone,with non-stop bowling, great food and drinksand a whimsical atmosphere. Ideal for familyoutings and childrens birthday parties, Bowl-mor offers several party packages that accom-modate both adults and children. Ourextensive catering menus and party packagesare completely customizable, you can even se-lect premium options, such as a personalizedcake, invitations and a souvenir bowling pinfor the birthday child. Our professional partyplanners will ensure the planning is super easy,so all you'll have to do is sit back, relax, andenjoy! Call us at 301.652.0955 today!
Maryland DC Virginia & beyond301-572-7717Toll Free: 888-590-0039Fax: [email protected] www.CarboneEntertainment.com Airbrushing! Tattoos! FotoBooths & FotoNov-elties! Patch Hats! Fortune Tellers! Actors &Characters! Jewelery Making & Crafts! Carica-tures! Hairwraps! Bling Stations! Face Painters& Balloon Twisters! Plus MUCH MORE! Weadd the FUN to your event!
eartH treKs CLimBing Centers
725 Rockville Pike Rockville, MD 20852 [email protected]mEarth Treks Climbing Centers are state-of-the-art indoor climbing gyms located in Rockville,Columbia, and Timonium, MD. With morethan 38,500 square feet of climbing, ourRockville facility is the largest indoor climbingwall in the country!Earth Treks offers youth programs, competi-tive climbing teams, private parties, summercamps and climbing instruction for all skilllevels. No experience is needed to get started!
[email protected] are your only stop for VA, MD, and DC topArt entertainment. bringing you the highestquality face painters and balloon artists in thearea. These Artist know how to handle acrowd, manage a line, and produce quality Artin a matter of minutes that will Wow anycrowd.
Get Flipped! Washington, [email protected] Flipped! Washington, D.C. is an eventphotography company that specializes in pro-viding premium photo favors LIVE at yourevent. Call Sam at 301-928-2240 to discusshow Get Flipped! Washington D.C can helpyou have the most memorable event possi-ble!!!! Please view our website at www.Get-Flipped.com
KoL CHaYim orCHestra
Gary [email protected] three decades Kol Chayim has been theband of choice for those who want the best en-tertainment, most diverse of music,and themost fun at their affair.Winner of BaltimoreMagazines Bestaward.The most memorableaffairs are possible with entertainment by TheKol Chayim Orchestra.
organiCaLLY groWn parties
301-975-0099www.oggym.comLets Get it Started! Our experienced plannerswill organize whatever you need into onebudget-conscious package. From 1 to 100, youcan include Bounces, Crafts, Prizes, Photogra-phers, food and more. Select one of ourthemes or choose one of your own. Well planit all, from start to glorious finish!
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A Regional Collection of Event Services [email protected]d an MC or DJ? We have more Entertain-ers than anyone else around. Considering aBand? Our Bands come with DJs & all playcurrent music. Want Photo and Video? Selectpros that fit your style & budget. Searching forNovelties? Our website offers hundreds of op-tions to choose from.
Designs BY niCoLe
18115 Georgia Ave.Olney, MD 20832301-570-4720designsbynicoleonline.orgEstablished in 1988, New York trainedNicole and staff can fit any size or shapewith customed designed garments.Tailoring on off the rack clothing will fit