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Page 1: Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner
Page 2: Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner

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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B5Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner Washington Jewish Week • November 1, 2012


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B6 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

B’nai Mitzvah in the tropics.........................................................................................B10

Finding your mitzvah ...................................................................................................B13

Writing thank you notes ..............................................................................................B14

Starting the process ....................................................................................................B15

Advice from rabbis.......................................................................................................B15

B’nai Mitzvah in Italy ...................................................................................................B16

A family Torah ..............................................................................................................B17

Empowering children...................................................................................................B19

“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, includingb’nai 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 didn’t want to sacrifice 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. eguest’s 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-field, Mich., used an electronic invitationas a follow-up to the paper invitation forher son Nathan’s 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 wasn’t 100 percent sure thatthey could come, like those [living] in Is-rael.”

Dealing with different 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 didn’t open the emailand contact them directly to find out ifthere was a problem.

“It was beyond awesome,” she said. “It’sreally impressive.”

Since Paperless Post launched, co-founder James Hirschfeld said, more than10,000 b’nai mitzvah and 40,000 weddinginvitations have been sent over the site.

Calligraphers and engravers shouldn’tworry 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 b’nai 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 b’not mitzvah ofher twin daughters, Emily and Rachel, will“set the tone for the affair.”

“It’s an accessory, like the bracelet to theoutfit. It pulls the whole thing together,”said Kanter, an occupational therapist inShort Hills, N.J.

e invitation will reflect 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 — andshe’ll create a special postage stamp for the

invitations and cards. Aer the affair, the invitation will be

framed in a shadow box and used to makegis for the girls — jewelry boxes and pil-lows.

“I’d rather have the tradition” of a paperinvitation, Kanter said. “It will be a keep-sake that I’ll 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 wasn’t 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 flexibility 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 Noah’s 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

Page 9: Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner

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 family’s synagogue. Whilemy 12-year-old self didn’t 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 who’s counting)I too will take on this mitzvah and putmy own spin on it. I guess what I’m 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 I’ve met havetaught me that in fact Judaism is whatyou make of it and is something youshould cherish, and not resent becauseof something it doesn’t “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 can’t wait to pass on my fam-ily’s 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 reflections, 11 years later

Emily Jacobs

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B10 Bar & Bat Mitzvah PlannerNovember 1, 2012 • Washington Jewish Week

By Meredith JacobsManaging Editor

Sand on the floor. 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 flag.

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 floored 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, but“all 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 said‘We’re 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 floor,suited the casual style of the Greenblatts.But she cautions, “ere is a compromise.

Your child is not celebrating with every-body. He’s not brought in [to a party] withbig to do. He’s 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 more—they loved cele-brating with cousins and best friends. Westill did t-shirts and montages and all thestuff they would have had at a biggerparty, but on a smalller scale.”

She explains another drawback is thecost. Traveling to St. omas is expensive.“You’re asking a lot from people. Andthen you feel personally responsibile foreveryone’s vacation. If something goeswrong, you feel like it’s your responsibilityto fix.” In fact, the resort’s air conditioningbroke during their son Charlie’s Bar Mitz-vah. Waiting for replacement parts tocome in from the mainland took days.“We felt responsible and spent a lot oftime in the manager’s office 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 conflicted with someof the cousins’ school schedules.

Both the synagogue and hotels havelists of vendors—photographers, caterers,florists, party planners. “ese islands are

set up to doevents like this.When you callfrom Marylandand say I needthis and that, it’sdone,” saidGreenblatt.

She does cau-tion, “Be wary—itruns on islandtime. Everyone isvery relaxedabout returningphone calls. Halfof our vendorsdidn’t have con-tracts. ey justsay ‘yep, I haveyou down’ andyou have to gowith that.”

“For Max’s, Iwent down earlyto check out ho-tels and tryrestaurants, but itreally wasn’t nec-essary—everyonecame 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-blatt’s 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

B’nai Mitzvah in the tropics

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Page 11: Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner

they returned and announced their hav-ing become Bar Mitzvah to the congrega-tion.

She does offer 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 you’re Reform,the rabbi will do less Hebrew. If you wantyour child to run the entire service in He-brew, he’ll 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 can’t walk in off the streetsand say, ‘I want to be Bar Mitzvah’dtoday,’” she jokes.

And know that there will be membersof the congregation as well as touristswalking in and out.

“For Max’s,” she remembers, “someonefrom a cruise ship came in and took tonsof pictures. We ended up exchangingemails and they sent us copies.” DuringCharlie’s the cruise ship tourists whostopped by during rehearsals containedfamily friends, who just happened to be

passing through.Guests for Max’s Bar Mitzvah stayed at

the Ritz Carlton. Festivities began onursday night with a “Par Mitzvah” golftournament at the Mahogany Run GolfCourse, hosted by Max’s aunt and uncle.On Friday, the hotel arranged a “BeachOlympics”. e Greenblatt’s 40 guestswere split into four groups and competedin silly games, boating and sand castlebuilding. A funny awards ceremony fol-lowed the day’s events.

Friday night brought Shabbat servicesat the synagogue and dinner at RoomWith a View restaurant, sponsored by thegrandparents.

Saturday’s morning Bar Mitzvah serv-ice was followed by a luncheon at anearby restaurant. e Greenblatt’s 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 Buffet-type band and a bonfirewith s’mores. Dress was island casual—cargo 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 Charlie’s 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 didn’t re-peat for her second son’s event. “e firsttime, I focused on centerpieces and dec-orations and things you focus on here.But you don’t need it. e florists 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 you’re in the trop-ics, you don’t need linens to show that.”

She added, “It’s not a banquet hall thatneeds to be dressed up. It’s done for you -it’s naturally beautiful.”

Even thought Charlie wanted the sameSt. omas experience as his big brother,parents Jane and Drew wanted to makehis a little different.

Again, 40 guests attended, but thistime, the group stayed at the Sugar BayResort. His Bar Mitzvah was on a urs-day, so timing was different. e firstnight, guests enjoyed dinner in one of theresort’s restaurants by the pool.

e next day, the Greenblatt’s plannedan “Amazing Race” type event—a 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 Max’s.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 different. Using Charlie’s love of seaturtles, the Greenblatt’s 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 CoralWorld’s turtle rescue project. Funds wereused to purchase medical supplies for in-jured turtles.

e next day, the Bar Mitzvah boy’sfamily and friends enjoyed a private snor-keling trip on the Daydreamer catamaranthat launched from the hotel beach.

Guests who stayed through New Year’s

Eve brought in 2012 at the hotel’s party.The mom who has been there and

done that twice now offers, “Whatevergiveaways you provide, make surethey’re easy to bring home - you don’twant 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.It’s 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


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by Alexander FlumWJW Intern

The Hebrew phrase, “Tikkun Olam,” isdefined 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 b’nai 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 find many differ-ent creative ways to connect tikkun olamwith themselves.

If your level of interest in your cause isstrong, you may decide to continue inyour efforts of supporting it.

“My Bar Mitzvah project isn’t over be-cause camp Na’aleh, 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. “I’m still collecting money to save it.”

Camp Na’aleh, based in New York, isgeared toward helping Jewish teens andchildren find 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-b’nai 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 suffering from posttraumatic stressdisorder in Sderot, Israel for their b’naimitzvah 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-profit organi-zation that helps victims of terror in Israelto recover both financially 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 finding a cause to sup-port based on your interests, ponderabout an issue through which you couldmake a difference.

“Definitely do something that is goingto make you happy and help other peoplein need, because that’s 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 benefits your commu-nity. Matthew Ost, an eighth grader atCESJDS, volunteered with a non-profitorganization that rescues stray dogs,nurses them back to health and findsthem a home.

“[You should] find something that youlike and think about how you can use it tohelp make a difference 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 b’nai mitzvah.

B13Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner Washington Jewish Week • November 1, 2012

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Page 14: Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner

By Meredith JacobsManaging Editor

Let’s be honest — thank you notes arestressful. It’s stressful to have to nudge

your child to write them. You worry thatthe handwriting is illegible. Or worse,that the card wasn’t sent out before yourmother called to tell you that Harriet, herbest friend, called to ask if Jake got hercheck because she hasn’t received a thankyou note yet. Which probably results inpoor Jake getting yelled at for not writinghis thank you notes.

Relax. I’m 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 file 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 thegiver’s card (this also creates a useful re-source when it’s time to reciprocate fortheir child).

Once this is finished, prioritize thecards for your child. Here is my suggestedorder — feel free to change to suit yourparticular situation:

Grandparents — always, always first.Unless there are great-grandparents, andthen they are first. It’s a matter of respect.

Great aunts and uncles — again, it’s 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 first.

e rabbi, cantor, tutor —having your child write anote to them is a really nicetouch. Teach your child thatwe don’t only thank for amaterial gi, but for whatthese professionals gave tohim through their teaching.

Aunts, uncles andcousins—although there is agood chance this group isalso going through the b’naimitzvah 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 didn’tlose 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 offinishing 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 don’t 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.

Here’s 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 Tiffanybag wasn’t 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. I’msaving 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. It’s re-ally meaningful. I’m trying to put some ofmy allowance aside each week to donate toMitzvah Heroes. I’m sorry you weren’t 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 child’s 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, don’t worry, there’sno need to thank me.

B14 Bar & Bat Mitzvah PlannerNovember 1, 2012 • Washington Jewish Week

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B15Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner Washington Jewish Week • November 1, 2012

by William TregerStaff Writer

In academic coordinator Liane Aaron’spre-B’nai Mitzvah trope class at Congre-

gation B’nai 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 it’s two different excitingdays, kind of like a doubleheader; it’s 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 he’s 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, “I’m really ex-cited to share my Bat Mitzvah with Ellie.”

While the content of academic coordi-nator Aaron’s class is focused on learningtrope, the class is also socially progressiveand the students will celebrate one an-other’s B’nai Mitzvah’s 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 B’nai 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.

Aaron’s focus is to get the kids comfort-able with trope. Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt of

B’nai 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-

ton, D.C.

“It’s 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. SafraB’nai Israel Congregation, Rockville

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Page 16: Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner

By Stanley Hurwitz Special to WJW

Using 21st century technology, fam-ilies are discovering a new way and

place to celebrate an ancient tradition —their son or daughter’s 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’), Italy’s 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,Zach’s 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, “I’m 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 Ethan’s Bar

Mitzvah in Italy. His mom, MaryAnnBernstein, says, “My Internet search for‘destination Bar Mitzvahs’ led me toEllen Paderson’s 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 synagogue’sname 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 Paderson’s 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 NEST’s 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

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Washington’s Hilarious Whodunit


Page 17: Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner

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 family’shistorian.This spring — 75 years later and a

continent away at a Californian winery—Kodmur’s 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, Hamburger’sson, 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

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B18 Bar & Bat Mitzvah PlannerNovember 1, 2012 • Washington Jewish Week

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 JulieAnn’s cousin.

Julie Ann hadheard the stories ofher great-grandfa-ther’s 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 didn’t 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 herdaughter’s 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-ston’s. 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 Winston’s,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 David’s 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 Torah’stravels.

“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


2007-2008, 2009-2010,2011-2012

Page 19: Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner

B19Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner Washington Jewish Week • November 1, 2012

By Simone EllinSpecial to WJW

Cantor Matt Axelrod’snew guide, Surviving

Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah: TheUltimate Insider’s Guide(Jason Aronson, 2012) iswritten primarily for kids,but how I wish it wasaround when I was plan-ning my daughter’s batmitzvah. For parents likeme – with little Jewish ed-ucation – the cantor’s sim-ple explanations,conversational style, andattention to even the mostobvious details of the b’naimitzvah process surewould have come in handy.That being said, “SurvivingYour Bar/Bat Mitzvah”does 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 from“Why am I having a bar or bat mitz-

vah,” to “The Trouble with Trope,” to“Revenge 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 Insider’s Guide”

“My son, the future of your great, mar-tyred people lies in your hands!”

—Rabbi Isaac Halevi Herzog

By Dr. Erica

When your father says this to you atyour bar mitzvah, it’s a pretty

heavy message. It’s one thing to say you’rea man to a kid who hasn’t started shavingand whose voice cracks when he speaks.It’s another to lay the entire Jewish futurein his hands. But this was no ordinary barmitzvah, either.

is was said by the first 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 Herzog’s message might havebeen more weighty than most, but itsessence is something we tell our childrenall of the time in different ways. ey area continuation of an amazing legacy. Ourpeople use the expression “l’dor va-dor”—from generation to generation—liketagline candy. It’s 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 Judaism’s 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 who—in another universe—may 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 five 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 offer 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.

Editor’s note: is article is distributedwith permission of Dr. Erica Brown. Sub-scribe to her “Weekly Jewish Wisdom” listat

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Page 20: Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner

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 b’nai 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 it’sa 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 it’s 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 daughter’s 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 Cohen’s 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 Miriam’s Bat Mitzvah.

�nvi�a��ns & �alli�rap� Exceptional and Personalized One-on-One Service Unique and Special Bar/Bat Mitzvah Invitations Calligraphic Addressing of Envelopes and Place Cards 3-D Customized Sign-in Albums, Hospitality Bags, Napkins

LETTERING BY LYNNE 703-548-5427 [email protected]

Page 21: Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner

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 doesn’t 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 family’s 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 didn’t 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 didn’t 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 Ben’s 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


from previous page

See MARS & VENUS, next page

e Marino family pose in their synagogue best.

Best Restaurant Award 2012 —Washingtonian Magazine

Page 22: Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner

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. It’s notheartbreaking things, it’s 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. L’dor va dor!

November 1, 2012 • Washington Jewish Week Bar & Bat Mitzvah PlannerB22


from previous page

Miriam Greenberg’s Bat Mitzvah album.

For boys, picking out the outfit for the big day comes down to shirt, tie, pants and jacket.

Page 23: Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner

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

CLyde’S 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.

eNTerTaiNmeNT CruiSeS

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.

Kabob bazaar

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 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 its“100 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.

NaTioNaLS ParK

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!

NormaNdie Farm

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 Farm’s 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-

ginia’s 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 Spring’s 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 state–of-the-art sound and lighting sys-tems, lush interiors, professional staff and cater-ing services.


The baGeLry

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 20902www.greenplatecatering.com301-949-7601kit@greenplatecatering.comGreen Plate Catering specializes in vegan and

bar & bat Mitzvah Listings

Page 24: Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner

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 With an all-star team, Potomac 18 is reinvent-ing kosher catering. Potomac 18 understandsthe importance of each event, whether it’s aformal ceremony, an intimate dinner or agrand celebration.

WinDoWs Catering

5724 General Washington DriveAlexandria, VA [email protected] Catering Company is one of DC’spremier 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.

YarDen Catering

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.


BoWLmor Lanes

(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 children’s 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!

CarBone entertainment

Maryland — DC — Virginia & beyond301-572-7717Toll Free: 888-590-0039Fax: [email protected] 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 240-283-9942www.earthtreksclimbing.cominfo@earthtreksclimbing.comEarth 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!

festive effeCts

[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.

fotograpHix proDuCtions

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

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 BaltimoreMagazine’s “Best”award.The most memorableaffairs are possible with entertainment by TheKol Chayim Orchestra.

organiCaLLY groWn parties

301-975-0099www.oggym.comLet’s 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. We’ll planit all, from start to glorious finish!

WasHington taLent agenCY

A Regional Collection of Event Services www.washingtontalent.cominfo@washingtontalent.com301-762-1800Need 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

like a dream, from bridal to men's suits.Fabulous fashion jewelry and eveningpurses will finish your look. Call formore details.

saLon fusion

1401 Rockville PikeRockville, MD 20852240-430-0415 salonfusionrockville.comAt Salon Fusion, we are delighted to have theopportunity to lift your spirits while attendingto your personal care needs. We pride ourselvesin taking the time to listen to our clients whiletaking into account personality, life style andmaintenance. Our goal is to create a salonwhere not only do you leave looking and feelinggreat, but where great things happen because ofit! Through integrity, commitment to educa-tion, and dedication to our team, we at SalonFusion are determined to give you the serviceyou deserve and look forward to meeting you!Come visit us before your next simcha!



Beltsville Store:11300 Baltimore Ave.Beltsville, MD 20705301-937-1100Potomac Store:9545 River Rd.Potomac, MD 20854301-983-9200Behnke’s Florist9545 River Rd.Potomac, MD 20854301-983-4400Planting Service - Beltsville:301-937-1100Potomac:


siLver spring JeWeLrY

9421 Georgia Ave and11205 New Hampshire Ave240-432-4946silverspringjewelers.comAre you in the market for Jewelry? Choose Sil-ver Spring Jewelry, the only complete jewelrymanufacturer in the DC area. Silver SpringJewelry has been family owned and operatedsince 1971. Silver Spring Jewelry is direct im-porter of EGI and GIA certified diamonds.Save $$$ buying diamonds direct! SilverSpring Jewelry will trade your unwanted goldjewelry for a new piece of jewelry or we canbuy your gold for cash. Jewelry repairs and re-placements of watch batteries can be donewhile you wait. Design Your Own Jewelry- letus help you design the perfect pair of earrings,pendant, or ring using our exceptional certi-fied diamonds. Authorized Watch Dealer forMovado, Accutron, Wittnauer, Bulova, Seiko,Citizen, Caravelle, Pulsar, Kenneth Cole. Nowopen in downtown Silver Spring as well asWhite Oak. Stop in today!

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B25Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner Washington Jewish Week • November 1, 2012


Crowne Plaza roCkville

3 Research Court Rockville, MD 20850301-795-3281The Crowne Plaza Rockville features a beauti-ful, sky-lit terrace and a classic ballroom thataccommodates up to 350 of your guests. Weare known for fresh, deliciously prepared andpresented food, and friendly, professional serv-ice. Our attention to detail and personalizedservice will ensure your Mitzvah is special foryou and your guests. Call us today to startplanning your Mitzvah!

doubletree hilton silver sPring

8727 Colesville Rd.Silver Spring, MD

the FairFax at embassy row

2100 Massachusetts Avenue NWWashington DC, [email protected] elegant Fairfax at Embassy Row is a beau-tiful hotel which is nestled among the statelymansions of Massachusetts Avenue. Located inDupont Circle, one of Washington, D.C.’smost vibrant neighborhoods, the luxury hotel,which offers both ceremony and receptionspaces, embodies the grace and elegance of abygone era.

hilton garden innwashington, dC/bethesda

7301 Waverly St.Bethesda, MD“Allow the Hilton Garden Inn Washington,DC/Bethesda to cater to your out of town guestsfor a special day that will be unforgettable. Withwell appointed guestrooms and meeting spacefor hospitality suites, this is the perfect hotel tosatisfy all needs. Let us help you experience thecelebration you always imagined.”

hilton sPringField

6550 Loisdale RdSpringfield VA 22150Jonathan RossCatering Manager and Event Specialist703-971-8900 x [email protected] your Bar/Bat Mitzvah with us and re-ceive a 10% discount on your menu selection.Come see what a multi-million dollar renova-tion looks like. Experience a world of tastesfrom our trained chef. Plan a carefree eventwith our event consultant, available Tuesday-Friday from 10am-6pm and by AppointmentSaturdays from 1pm-8pm. Ballroom seats 450at rounds. Special Event Guest room rates $99-$119 Thursday-Sunday. Choice of linen colors,Centerpieces, dance floor are complimentary.Complimentary Guestroom night of theevent. We welcome Outside caterers.

hyatt regenCy bethesda

One Bethesda Metro CenterBethesda, MD 20814301-657-1234www.hyattregencybethesda.comshelley.belk@hyatt.comHyatt Regency Bethesda is the perfect host fora wide variety of meetings, social functionsand guest stays. Voted Bethesda Magazines,2010's "Best place for a Bar Mitzvah" and "Bestplace for out-of-town relatives," we offer Au-thentic Hospitality for literally all your busi-ness and event needs.


lettering by lynne

3315 Carolina Pl.Alexandria VA703-548-5427Lynne [email protected] invitations: elegant papers,thermography, engraving letterpressprinting.Hebrew too. Beautiful addressingenvelopes and place cards, picture frames, kip-pot, benchers, ketubot. Customized ceremonyprograms. Beautiful framed seating chart andgold or silver table number stands to rent.Colorful personalized 3-D sign-in books.One-on-one customer interface.


brilliants Fine Jewelry

Cabin John CenterTuckerman Lane(Inside Zohra Salon)Potomac, MD 20854301-983-3177Since 1992 Brilliants has been selling 14K and18K gold jewelry and now is carrying sterlingsilver with and without diamonds - all in thelatest in jewelry design for the fashion forwardwoman and young girl.

leila Jewels ®

Cabin John Shopping Center7737 Tuckerman Lane, Potomac, MD301-299-5675Leila is more than just fabulous jewelry.We can help you choose the perfect gift for anyoccasion: Housewarmings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs,Weddings, Birthdays, Anniversaries, Gradua-tions, and Holidays.


events dC

202-249-3311eventsdc.comConventions and meetings. Sports and enter-tainment. Special Events. If it's an event youdon't want to forget, remember Events DC. It'sgot to be perfect. It's got to be memorable. Ifyou want it to exceed your expectations, makeEvents DC your planning partner. We've gotthe venues to guarantee that your next eventswill be unforgettable. To book an event or formore information, contact us today.

Pizazz ltd.

8611 Forest Street Annandale, VA 22003 703-978-1242 [email protected] As a premier event design and managementcompany in the DC metropolitan area, Pizazzknows the ins and outs of many of the preemi-nent event venues. They have also establisheda personal relationship with the best vendorsand entertainers in the industry! Pizazz un-derstands the importance of bringing theirclients visions to life while managing the logis-tics and budget at the same time. They alwaystake a personal interest in their clients and goabove and beyond to make sure their eventsare an experience of a lifetime!

save the date

[email protected] your event is next week or next year,our awardwinning event planning companycan workout the right plan for you. From invi-tations, favors, theme design, to vendor refer-ral we have all the resources you need tosuccessfully plan your next event.


booth-o-rama Photobooths

Modern Photobooth RentalsSilver Spring, [email protected] are a small family business dedicated toproviding a unique and unforgettable way todocument your event, entertain all, and pro-vide a custom party favor to remember the oc-casion.

simChatograPhy by ben droz

412-805-0087bendroz.comMake Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah a Special Simchawith Simchatography™ by Ben Droz, one ofthe area's most noted event photographers(Washington Life, Washingtonian and privateevents), and offering Special Simcha rates, freephoto albums, candids, portraits and more.Call 412-805-0087 today to see how Sim-chatography can Make Your Simcha Special.


Congregation beth el bethesda

8215 Old Georgetown Rd.Bethesda, MD 20814301-652-2606 ext. 303www.bethelmc.orgCelebrate your Bar/Bat Mitzvah reception inour beautiful social hall with built-in dancefloor and seating for 220. Smaller social hallseats 100. Fully equipped kitchens and a list ofapproved caterers for every style and budget.Other spaces available for cocktails, picturestaking, etc.

WJW Group, LLCAn independent newspaper founded in 1965,

successor to the National Jewish Ledger (1930-1965)

Publisher & Chief Operating Officer

Craig Burke

Executive EditorPhil Jacobs


Managing EditorMeredith Jacobs

Senior WriterDavid Holzel

Copy ChiefAaron Leibel

Staff WritersEmily Jacobs Suzanne PollakWilliam Treger


Director of FinanceLequita Preston

Office ManagerJoan Romano


Advertising Sales ManagerGail Ruppe

Senior Account ExecutivesMichele Mizrahi

Eric Sodee

Account ExecutivesSuzan Richmond

Staci Mendelson SargStacie Shapero

Classified ExecutiveHarley Liebenson


Production ManagerLauren Yoffe

DesignersJenna FanningAndrea Roth

Main Office: 301-230-222211426 Rockville Pike • Suite 236, Rockville, MD 20852Fax: (Edit.) 301-881-6362/(Adv.) 301-881-1994Classified: 301-230-047211426 Rockville Pike • Suite 236, Rockville, MD 20852Circulation: 301-230-2222 ext. 22211426 Rockville Pike • Suite 236, Rockville, MD 20852To advertise in Washington Jewish Week call us at 301-230-1211

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B26 Bar & Bat Mitzvah PlannerNovember 1, 2012 • Washington Jewish Week

Index of Advertisers300 Shady Grove ......................................................B30Behnke’s Nurseries ....................................................B8Booth-O-Rama Photobooths ......................................B28Bowlmor Lanes ........................................................B32Brilliants Fine Jewelry ................................................B9Carbone Entertainment .............................................B14Catering by Alan Weiss ...............................................B6Clyde’s Restaurant Group ..........................................B29Congregation Beth El Bethesda ..................................B25Crowne Plaza Rockville ..............................................B2Designs by Nicole.....................................................B13DoubleTree Hilton Silver Spring ..................................B11Earth Treks Climbing Center ......................................B17Entertainment Cruises ..............................................B27Events DC..................................................................B4Fairfax Embassy Row ...............................................B29Festive Effects ...........................................................B9Fotographix Productions .............................................B3Green Plate Catering .................................................B11Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC/Bethesda ..................B6Hilton Springfield .......................................................B5Hoffman & Co. Caterers...............................................B7Hyatt Regency Bethesda .............................................B4Il Porto Restaurant ...................................................B12Kabob Bazaar ..........................................................B10Kentlands Mansion ...................................................B15Kol Chayim Orchestra ...............................................B13Leila Fine Gifts .........................................................B26Lettering by Lynne ....................................................B20Montgomery Country Club.........................................B30Mr. Omelette Caterers ...............................................B16Mykonos .................................................................B21Nationals Park .........................................................B31Normandie Farm ......................................................B15Nostos ....................................................................B21Organically Grown Parties .........................................B10Pizazz Ltd. ...............................................................B25Potomac 18 Caterers ..................................................B3Salon Fusion ............................................................B17Save the Date ..........................................................B18Shear Madness ........................................................B16Silver Spring Jewelry................................................B19Simchatography by Ben Droz.......................................B7The Bagelry .............................................................B28The Fillmore Silver Spring .........................................B31The Kosher Kitchen Catering Co. ..................................B5The Continental Event Center .....................................B27Washington Talent ....................................................B22Windows Catering ....................................................B26Yarden Catering .........................................................B2

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B27Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner Washington Jewish Week • November 1, 2012

Far from being a faceless corporation, we are an owner-operatedvenue that invests itself personally in every event we host. With morethan 12 years of events management and entertainment experience,we have built the Continental to the exacting standards required tomeet any event need.


With 11,000 square feet of floor space, more than 400 parkingspots, spacious hardwood floors, two catering pantries, and three in-dividual ballrooms that can be combined or separated, the Continen-tal Event Center can accommodate events of virtually any size orformat. Come in for a tour.


Events are the milestones against which we measure our lives.Whether you’re hosting a wedding or a corporate cocktail hour, theseare the occasions everyone remembers. Which is why we treat everyevent that we host as if it were our own. Your daughter isn’t gettingmarried, ours is.


Bar & Bat Mitzvahs






We offer complete packages on the elegant Odyssey and festive Spirit of Washington made especially for occasions as important as this. So let us take

care of the stress of planning and make your child’s monumental day

Your unforgettable Bar or Bat Mitzvah will include:

Ask about special enhancement packages to help make your event a wonderful lasting memory. Contact us today.


Give this momentous day the special attention it deserves with an event on the water.

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B28 Bar & Bat Mitzvah PlannerNovember 1, 2012 • Washington Jewish Week


All Special Occasions • Drop off Catering

The Bagelry

Bar/Bat Mitzvahs • Shabbat Dinner • Kiddushes • Sunday Brunch

[email protected]

voted colesville’s best breakfast 2012

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B29Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planner Washington Jewish Week • November 1, 2012

Events that dazzle.But no one shines brighter than you.

When you plan an event at The Fairfax at Embassy Row, a Starwood LuxuryCollection Hotel, you and your guests become the center of our world. FromBar/Bat Mitzvahs to weddings, our professional staff handles your every whim.Make your day an affair to remember – and one your guests will never forget.


Call our sales team today at 202.293.2100 to learn about our 2012/2013 Special Event Packages.

follow us:

The Fairfax At Embassy Row

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B30 Bar & Bat Mitzvah PlannerNovember 1, 2012 • Washington Jewish Week

BAR MITZVAH: “Even before we lift up our son, Mark, it's clear that his big day is head and shoulders above his expectations.”

Book your next celebration at 300 Shady Grove / 301.948.1390 /

Montgomery Country Club

The ideal venue for Bar/Bat Mitzvahs! Celebrate your special day in our newly-renovated ballroom that offers a breathtaking view of our golf course.

Full-service catering • Accommodates up to 180 guests

20908 Golf View Drive — Laytonsville, MD 20882 — 240-912-9515 x4 —

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