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BAR/BAT MITZVAH
A SUPPLEMENT TO THE JEWISH STANDARD · SUMMER 2019
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o p Ca t er e r o f 2 0 1 8
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a z in e’s
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(201) 891-2000
V ot

813 Franklin Lake Road,


Franklin Lakes, NJ
MarketBasket.com
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Jewish Standard S-3

My three sons......................................... 4
Memories of bar mitzvahs in triplicate
Any way b’nei......................................... 8
Temple Beth Rishon revolutionizes rite of passage
A note of thanks: Bat mitzvah
girl expresses gratitude to all................. 9
Teaching responsibility.......................... 10
Prayers, parenting, and preparing for adulthood
Mitzvah money...................................... 12
Smart ways to stash the cash and grow it
Making a celebration
a meaningful celebration....................... 13
Twice as nice.......................................... 14
Twins donate $122,000 to Israeli organizations
Bar mitzvah at any age......................... 15
Going green.......................................... 16
Making the mitzvah party earth-friendly
Books to help prepare
for the bar and bat mitzvah.................. 18

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Danny is proud to
become a bar mitzvah.

Kenny designed his own bar mitzvah invitations.


Pictured is Major League pitching ace Randy Johnson.

My three sons
Memories of bar mitzvahs in triplicate
Rob stands with his father, Jay.

O
deBoraH BresloW haftorah, committed to memory using The kid’s party on Saturday evening She’d been told she could keep jewel-
her father’s Maxell cassette tapes in her was held at Hawthorne Fire Co. #1, a ry, artwork and other keepsakes, but
n a cold Friday eve- father’s treasured tape recorder, she shared event between the bat mitzvah checks and savings bonds were to be
ning in February 1973, sang with a timid sweetness that made girl and her best friend from a syna- saved for college. The following morn-
a skinny girl in a sim- her front row-seated parents and grand- gogue in Glen Rock where bat mitz- ing, out-of-town guests were invited
ple plaid maxi-dress parents kvell. The oneg following, cour- vahs were held on Saturday mornings. to lunch at the house for sloppy joes
stood terrified behind tesy of the Fair Lawn Jewish Center’s Sis- Keeping the price down by splitting and sides catered by the Kosher Nosh.
a podium on perhaps terhood, offered the typical fare of the the cost of the hall rental, the parents After getting lost in the hubbub of the
the largest bimah in the time: honey cake and assorted pastries, pretended not to stare while awkward previous two evenings, it was at home
history of temple sanctuaries. She was challah, tiny cups of grape juice and young teens danced to tunes by Paul that she was forced to make small talk
unadorned: no make-up or lipstick, hair wine, coffee, tea, non-dairy creamer, Simon, the Beatles, Loggins & Messina, with relatives she hardly knew. The
set in curlers courtesy of her mother, and packets of sugar and saccharin. and Led Zeppelin. The musicians were smile pasted on her face remained un-
tiny pearls around her neck borrowed Color film family portraits were taken a local junior high school band that had til the last guest was hugged, kissed,
from her grandmother. Her ears would by the guests with 35mm cameras. Her
made their mark on the seventh grade thanked and driven to the airport or
not be pierced for another year. “Not older brother’s Polaroid served as the
bar/bat mitzvah circuit. The kids en- the Trailways bus station. Thirty-five
until the eighth grade.” Her mother designated apparatus for instant black
stood firm. Prepared to recite her joyed pizza and cans of Coke delivered years later the self-conscious teen that
and white candids.
by Ness Pizza. The cake, of course, was afraid of her shadow had grown
Deborah Breslow is a freelance writer and college essay coach from Wyckoff. Her three sons, was made by Carvel. Late in the eve- up, married, and had children of her
Rob, 23, Kenny, 22, and Danny, 19, are successful young adults. Ms. Breslow’s published ning, the bat mitzvah girl opened her own. Tasked with the event of the cen-
work appears in local, regional, and national publications focusing on home, family, gifts in the privacy of her bright yellow tury, it was her turn to plan the first of
essay writing, and medical advocacy. Visit Breslow’s website at www.djbreslow.com room with bright yellow shag carpet. three bar mitzvahs.
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Jay and Deborah Breslow walking toward the candle-lighting table. The author, Deborah Breslow, center, at her bat mitzvah in 1973.

“You’ll need a bar mitzvah planner,” my best friend of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
told me. “You mean like a calendar?,” I asked. “No,” With three boys so close in age,
my friend said, rolling her eyes. “A planner. An actual people often asked me how I insured
person to help you plan the affair.” things were different for each of my
“How hard can it be?,” I asked. “Well, besides three sons. “That’s easy,” I tell them.
managing your son’s expectations, the choices are “They’re three different people!” I
endless,” she said. Feeling overwhelmed, I decided think that’s what made each of their
to start by talking to my son. “What kind of bar mitz- bar mitzvah celebrations so special.
vah do you want?” I asked. “Is one of the options Their individual interests and iden-
not to have one at all?” “No,” I replied, silently proud tities drove the tempo for each cele-
bration. While we kept many things
the same, each bar mitzvah taught
us what worked and what didn’t. Our
With three boys so close in oldest son, Rob, had his luncheon
in the social hall of our temple. Our
age, people often asked me party planner introduced us to and

how I insured things were helped us negotiate contracts with ca-


terers, musicians, custom stationers,
different for each of my photographers, and decorators. Her
floral expertise was without parallel
three sons. “That’s easy,” and we still get compliments years
I tell them. “They’re three later on her table arrangements. Just
16 months later, we followed suit for
different people!” Danny with Grandma Gloria, Papa Paul and Grandma Florence.
Kenny’s bar mitzvah, using almost all
of the same vendors. It’s possible with
that he’d at least tried to wiggle out of it. Not the kind requisite bar mitzvah planning meeting at Barnert each event, our guests experienced some deja vu,
of kid to seek attention, he would inevitably require Memorial Temple in Franklin Lakes that reviewed but the change of seasons from January to May, and
some prodding. “Do you have any idea where you’d month by month what was expected of the student the differences in Rob and Kenny’s personalities gave
like to have your party?” “Yup. Dave & Buster’s. Pal- and his family, reality set in. Never having considered each occasion a personal touch. Rob’s invitations
isades Mall.” That was easy. “Do you care what kind a party more elaborate than Chuck E. Cheese’s, The were designed and printed by a lovely shop in Engle-
of affair I plan for our adult guests?” “Nope.” That Strike Zone or Brunswick Lanes, it occurred to me wood. Kenny’s were printed by the same shop, but
was even easier. “So whatever we decide, that will be that I had no idea where to begin. “Call my friend in we used his original artwork: a portrait of a major
OK with you?” “I said I didn’t care.” I’d spoken with Franklin Lakes,” my friend suggested, handing me a league baseball player on the cover. My dear friend
friends who were mothers of girls. Their party plan- business card. “She does flowers and she plans spe- from high school, an expert baker, created the sheet
ning experiences had been much more complicated. cial occasions.” Hoping I was capable of taking this on cakes for all three boys. Different themes, different
Perhaps it was because girls were more invested in myself, I considered the daily and weekly schedules decorations, same scrumptious recipe.
the details. The best part of having boys was that for our family of five. Just looking at the calendar on By the third bar mitzvah for our youngest son, Dan-
their requests were minimal. Other than shopping any given day was overwhelming. Before I knew it, I ny, we were ready to find a new venue. We looked
for suits, shirts, ties, and dress shoes, sport jackets dialed her number. Whatever the cost, it had to be around and settled on lunch following services at
and slacks for Friday night and something casual for worth it. I needed to learn the ropes and consider my the Brickhouse Tavern in Wyckoff. Same musicians,
the party, scheduling haircuts, and confirming and options. Unlike my own bat mitzvah and my broth- similar guest list, different photographer. Without
tightening their guest lists, a bar mitzvah boy’s de- er’s bar mitzvah, times had changed. There were way the need for a caterer, decorations or flowers, the
sire was simply to show up. more choices to make. And in just over a year, I’d be restaurant event had a different flavor. While the
Once the date was confirmed and we attended the planning the next one. Enlisting her support was one candle-lighting recipients were relatively the same
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S-6 Jewish Standard SUMMER 2019 BAR/BAT MITZVAH

as at Robbie and Kenny’s luncheons, each of the boys’ special qualities. I’ll
what was significant was that my father forever cherish my seat at the end of
had passed away just six months prior. the pew, snuggled shoulder to shoul-
Wearing his grandfather’s tallit, Danny der with each of them until the rabbi
would be tasked with reciting a poem instructed all to rise, and then be seat-
for a grandparent who was no longer ed as he was called to read from the
here and lighting a memorial candle on Torah. At each event, our family was
the candelabra. Extremely shy, Danny surrounded by incalculable warmth.
surprised us all by memorizing every In contrast to the simplicity of my
word of Hebrew that was taught to him. bat mitzvah, my son’s extravaganzas
It depends who you ask as to what may have seemed opulent. Conscious
was most special about each of our of the close proximity of each of the
son’s bar mitzvahs. The grandfathers boy’s celebrations, we wanted their
would tell you it was taking each bar mitzvahs to be tasteful and mean-
grandson to Cedar Lane in Teaneck ingful while keeping to a reasonable
to shop for tallit and the intimate mo- budget. Neither my husband nor I, nor
ment of taking the Torah from the Ark our boys would have been comfort-
and passing it down from generation to able with anything grandiose. What
generation. The grandmothers would we as parents are offered now, that my
say it was being called up to the bi- parents weren’t offered then, is just a
mah to chant their aliyot and walking staggering amount of options.
proudly to stand next to their grand- Flipping through dusty photo al-
sons to light a candle following a ten- bums, I wonder how we got through
der candle-lighting poem. My husband the whirlwind. I’m reminded of the
appreciated taking the boys to Syms to arduous and meticulous planning and
buy their first suits, watching as the tai- preparation for three long-awaited cel-
Celebrating lor measured their growing bodies for ebratory weekends that in retrospect
and bat mit a bar
Party Planning Essentials
alterations. My brother would insist it seemed to fly by. Thinking back on ten
$25 per person
zvah Meal (meat or dairy)
was when my oldest son, who near- years past, I’m reminded of the time
at an emunah home Decoration of the dining $275
ly hyperventilated while completing and love put into writing each son’s
room (including paper
his Torah portion, chanted his final meaningful candle-lighting poems,
goods, flowers and
“amen.” “Attaboy, Rob,” my brother the search for photos for memorable
helium balloons)
cried followed by a roaring applause video montages that took my breath
DJ and motivator $700
from the entire congregation. Our rab- away, the endless shopping trips for
Regular DJ $500
bi, getting to know each of our son’s in- the perfect dress, the lengthy menu
Photographer $500
timately during his bar mitzvah train- discussions and appetizer tastings, the
Magnets Photographer $180
In order to en ing, had the pleasure of watching as consideration of songs and musical art-
able families Desserts and candy bar $400
a connection to foster each older brother joined the younger ists that had to be represented by our
with our child * Prices for 15 guests plus 10 Emunah Children.
have put toge
ther many di
ren, we
Additional guests are $15 per person. on the bimah for an aliyot. Our guests trio of talented musicians, the table
package optio fferent
ns to choose appreciated the chance to celebrate compositions (how did we ever decide
We welcome
families and
from. Activity on Campus
who would guests
like to celebr Hip Hop/Zumba Party No fee if the event
simcha with ate their occurs on the day that
our Emunah Basketball/Soccer/Judo
Home! the activity is scheduled
for the children
For families
interested
in having
Sports and dance activi- $220
their even
t on an Em ties with an instructor
Campus, w unah
e offer acti
know child vities we Baking and Cooking $200
ren enjoy!
culminate The visit w
ill
Art/Mosaic Workshop $850
in dinner an
at the Emu
nah home
d dancing Soccer/Basketball $220
children an with our Tournament
d staff!
Chocolate Workshop $680
Headphone Party $200
Inflatable Jumping $650
Activity
Baking Workshop $200
Sushi Workshop $300

or Activity off Campus


Boating at the Ashdod port $2000
Karaoke RoomD $1200
Jeeping $1800
Biking tour $1400
For more information Israel National Trail $850
contact ronnie@emunah.org

www.thejewishstandard.com An invitation insert describing Rob’s bar mitzvah tzedakah project.


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Jewish Standard S-7

who would sit with whom?), the crazy


bus rides (times three!) chaperoning
kids from Franklin Lakes to Nyack’s
Palisades Mall where the deafening
noise of pinball machines and vid-
eo-games pushed 50 middle-schoolers
into overdrive, the endless harping
on the boys to write their thank-you
notes, and so on ad infinitum.
According to Jewish law, we’re told
that once a young boy turns 13 they
become bar mitzvah. They are no
longer boys, but adults responsible
for their actions and they must begin
fulfilling the mitzvot (commandments
of the Torah). This is a rite of passage
from child to adult, with all the duties
and responsibilities that come with it.
While religion tells us so, I’m not cer- Left, Papa Paul and Papa David, make the blessing
tain my three sons felt the impact of over the challah. Above, a proud Papa Paul following
that manhood in 2009, 2010, and 2013 his first grandson’s bar mitzvah.
anymore than I felt I’d entered the no-
vitiate of womanhood in 1973 when
the Temple Men’s Club president life and for the people in it. While each may not be able Russia or Jerusalem to better understand his roots. They’ve
handed me my silver kiddush cup and to recall his respective Torah portion, recite his haftorah, held steadfast to participating in holiday and memorial cus-
gold-plated menorah. sing along with the newest melody from the siddur, or even toms and appreciate the value of community. I’m certain
What I do know is that since coming remember how to read Hebrew without transliteration, the the experience of having a bar mitzvah and becoming a bar
of age, three intelligent, engaging, sen- bar mitzvah ritual yielded a deep respect for Jewish values, mitzvah will resurface on the day he has the pleasure of em-
sitive, inquisitive boys have emerged. traditions, and culture. Each has either traveled to Israel bracing his own child while passing down the Torah to the
Humble and kind, they show up for on Birthright, studied abroad in Tel Aviv, or visited Poland, next generation.

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S-8 Jewish Standard SUMMER 2019 BAR/BAT MITZVAH

Any way b’nei


Temple Beth Rishon revolutionizes rite of passage
Heidi Mae Bratt in 2019? What does Judaism ney. It is an innovative way that a bar and bat mitz-

T
mean in 2019?” vah can celebrate coming into their adulthood.
here’s a revolution going on Lofty questions, yes. But “Every Jew is a Jew by choice,” Reb Beni said. “Jews
at Temple Beth Rishon. answers are on the way. by birth have choices about what they want to do.
It’s a b’nei revolution “Synagogue life in general There are options on how they connect spiritually.”
that is anything but war. is in crisis,” said Reb Beni. Perhaps the idea to customize the bar or bat mitz-
It’s more like peace. Making peace “But I love a crisis. A crisis vah with Kivun, which officially launches in Septem-
with yourself. Making peace with allows us to rethink who ber, came recently when a young woman at her bat
your community, and making were are, what are our pri- mitzvah faltered at the bimah. She is a competitive
peace with your Yiddishkeit and orities as a family, and what athlete from a very wonderful family and when she
your connection to Judaism. does a b’nei mitzvah mean.” stood during this one fateful Shabbat to recite her
In fact, it is a piece (yes, spelling The hope, he said, is to Torah portion, she started to cry.
deliberate) of innovation that the make all bar and bat mitz- Reb Beni would not have it.
new rabbi, Beni Wajnberg (pro- vahs “fresh, engaging and “Stop,” he said, and the young woman halted.
nounced Vine-berg) who started relevant.” “Let’s all remember what is important here.” He
last July, is bringing to the Wyckoff The word is out about Reb then said her name and turned to her and said, “You
Reform temple as he brings forth Beni and his warm enthusi- are awesome!” He then turned to the congregants
— along with the community and asm that blends his tradi- and instructed them on the count of three to say to-
members — a new vision to help tional stock from European gether to the bat mitzvah girl, “You are awesome.”
make Judaism relevant, relatable Reb Beni Wajnberg grandparents who were “No kid should ever cry on the bimah,” Reb Beni
and personal for its young mem- survivors of the Shoah, and said. “No kid should ever feel like their b-mitzvah is
bers who are bar and bat mitzvah and coming into his passionate Latin upbringing in Brazil, where his not relevant or personal for them.”
the fold of Jewish adulthood. grandparents put down roots after the war. He is or- So what is Kivun, which in Hebrew means direc-
Reb Beni as he is known (the title, he said, “is dained as a Reform rabbi, but a member of the Re- tion or journey.
old-country and implies a spiritual friendship. I want newal and Reconstructionist movements as well. It is a new program for bnei mitzvahs to choose
to break down walls and build bridges”) called to- “It is the perfect fit for our community of indepen- how they want to celebrate that day of becoming 13
gether a “think tank,” not a “committee” to reimagine dent, progressive and welcoming members,” Reb years old.
the future of Temple Beth Rishon’s young members. Beni said. They can choose to do the Traditional track or
“I want us to think about what is means to be 13 in The revolution in bar and bat mitzvahs is called reading the Torah and haftarah and leading in
Bergen County,” he said. “What does it mean to be 13 Kivun, which in Hebrew means direction and jour- prayers, or they can choose the Flexible track, which
has a little less liturgy and Torah reader. There is also
the Havdalah track, where they mark their bar or bat

Join the B-Mitzvah mitzah with music and light and song and joy at the
close of Shabbat. The Israel track, allows the bar or
bat mitzvah to go to Israel, accompanied by the cler-

Revolution! gy of Temple Beth Rishon where they can celebrate


with a familiar rabbi and cantor.
There is the Shal-Om track, which uses yoga and
mindful mediation. The bar or bat mitzvah incorpo-
Kivun (journey) options rate movement into the prayer service and use the
practice of yoga as a way to connect to their Judaism.
that may change the way (“I would have done this if this would have existed
you think about your child’s for me,” said Reb Beni.)
There also is the Nature tract where the bar or bat
Bar & Bat Mitzvah Journey mitzvah can go into nature, backpack, Torah and all,
and celebrate their Judaism in this way.

♦ Traditional Kivun ♦ Kivun Nature And finally, there is the DYI Kivun, where the bar
or bat mitzvah is asked, “do you have a passion,” and
♦ My Own Kivun ♦ Kivun Yoga a customized rite of passage where they could best
relate is created.
♦ Kivun Israel ♦ Kivun Havdalah With each of the tracks, explained Reb Beni, the
bar or bat mitzvah will be required to do at least one
portion of the Torah reading and lead in some of the
Please contact us to learn more about the cutting-edge
prayer service.
Jewish youth & B’nai Mitzvah program at TBR. “There are core requirements,” but the rest is up
For additional information, please contact the office at to the young man or woman to create.
201-891-4466 or email Reb Beni at rabbi@bethrishon.org. “We are very excited about this,” said Reb Beni.
“The goal is to foster a meaningful connection to Ju-
Temple Beth Rishon, 585 Russell Avenue, Wyckoff daism for every person.”
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Jewish Standard S-9

A note of thanks: Bat mitzvah girl expresses gratitude to all


eMuna BraverMan the out-of-town relatives and a list of where they There were 115 guests (I know because I set the
came from). Some people (not nearly enough) tables!) so you can imagine the time and effort in-

S
omething wonderful happened thank the Almighty. Sometimes it’s volved. It was very impressive.
to me. It wasn’t something big. heartfelt. Sometimes it’s pro forma. Much as we try to avoid it, most bar mitzvah boys
It wasn’t something dra- Sometimes it’s somewhere in the and bat mitzvah girls get a little (or a lot) caught up
matic. It wasn’t something middle. And sometimes it’s hard to in themselves. With all that focus and attention, it’s
expected. But it was something tell if they really mean it. hard not to. This is a great way to avoid the trap of
lovely and wonderful — a small But this young girl did some- self-centeredness. It’s the perfect way to teach our
gesture that made a big difference. thing special and unique that children about showing appreciation. It’s a power-
I went to a bat mitzvah, a cel- clearly emanated straight from ful means of giving our children an understanding
ebration for my friend’s daugh- her heart. She wrote a thank of the meaning of community, that it really does
ter. It was a beautiful and mov- you note to each of guests – be- take a village.
ing occasion, as a bat mitzvah fore she received her gifts! Be- The party was a lot of fun. The speeches were si-
should be. And perhaps it was cause the note wasn’t about the multaneously funny and moving (we expected no
even more emotional because presents, it was an expression less since the father is a writer). But what impact-
the couple had struggled a bat of what this particular attendee ed me the most were those notes. When the rest
mitzvah’s worth of years (as the father put it) to give means to her. And it wasn’t brief, a mere line or two. of the evening fades, I’ll remember those kind and
birth to this child. There was extra joy in the air. It wasn’t generic. It was a few paragraphs describ- thoughtful missives. I was touched by what the guest
But there was something else also. Something ing the role our family had played in her life, reliv- of honor wrote to me and really taken with the idea.
much more basic and much more important. There ing some shared experiences and memories and ex- I think it’s something we should all incorporate
was gratitude. pressing gratitude for the very specific ways in which into our children’s bar/bat mitzvah celebrations. I
Now we’ve all heard many bar and bat mitzvah we had enhanced her life. wish I’d thought of it before my girls had their bat
speeches. Everyone thanks their parents (right after It was unbelievable. mitzvah celebrations. It would have enhanced and
deepened everyone’s experience of the day, and no
Emuna Braverman has a law degree from the University of Toronto and a master’s degree in clinical psychology with an one more so than the bat mitzvah girl herself.
emphasis on marriage and family therapy from Pepperdine University. She lives in Los Angeles with her family. Aish.com

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S-10 Jewish Standard SUMMER 2019 BAR/BAT MITZVAH

R
EAD
Y.S
ET. Teaching
GO-
KAR
T. responsibility
Prayers, parenting, and
preparing for adulthood
Amy Grossblatt Pessah up, “It’s not all bad, I know the trees
are being killed, but think about the

I
n the soon-to-be-published, “Par- new houses that will be built for those
enting on a Prayer” by Amy Gross- who need a house and think about all
blatt Pessah (Ben Yehuda Press), the of the trees and plants that they will
author shares her stories of parenting replant around the new houses. They
as she lyrically uses the Hebrew prayers have already destroyed the trees,
to expound upon essential values in rais- there is nothing to do about it now.”
E
LEC
TRI
CKA
RTI
NG
|SP
ORT
SBAR ing children. Fittingly, there are 18 (chai)
chapters, each corresponding to a differ-
“You can’t ignore the negative,” said
my son.
V
R|ARC
ADE
|BO
WLI
NG
|+MOR
E! ent prayer and associated with a different “You can focus on the positive,” re-
value. Here is an excerpt from the chapter torted my daughter.
on responsibility, something incumbent I sat in the front seat and sighed,
upon parents to teach a youngster when marveling over this incredible ex-
he or she becomes a bar and bat mitzvah. change. How did my kids get to be
so big with their own ideas, values,
Ahlaynu l-shahbay’ahch and abilities to express themselves so
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aceway lah-ahdon hah-kol, articulately? Trying hard not to take
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l. lah-tayt g’dulah l-yotsayr b’raysheet, sides, I agreed with both of them. Yes,
we must be mindful and respectful to-
[It is upon us to] praise You Source of ward the environment and yes, we can
All Your generous work as Creator of choose to focus on the positive when
All You made us one with all of Life] we are presented with a challenging,
upsetting situation.
Our area in South Florida is not known Ahlaynu — it is incumbent upon us
for its extensive tree preserves. While
to do both. Three important lessons I
there certainly are some, unfortunately
learned from this interaction:
my family sees many more homes than
• We must show up in responsibility
fields of trees and nature preserves. On
for taking care of Mother Earth.
one of our regular drives, my kids and I
• We can choose how we view chal-
had observed that over the past several
lenging situations.
months the tree population in a specific
• We can recognize the complexity
area had been dwindling. A few weeks
of competing truths and conflicting
later we drove by only to find smoke
values.
billowing above what used to be a large
As a parent, I believe that it is part
plot of land covered with trees. Outrage
of my job to teach my children these
ensued from my son, “That is terrible,
three important lessons; and ironical-
what are they doing there?”

GLOW
ly enough, it is these precise lessons
Silence.
which my children taught me.
“Mom, what are they doing, why are
they burning all of those trees?” As I
Ahlaynu l-shahbay’ahch

PARTY
looked off to the side of the road, I saw
lah-ahdon hah-kol,
multiple piles of tree trunks bundled
lah-tayt g’dulah l-yotsayr b’raysheet,
$10,500 together all over the field.

VENUE
“There are clearing the field so they [It is upon us to] praise You Source of
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package as I could, feeling the depths of my All You made us one with all of Life
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JS-11
S-13 Jewish Standard S-11

Jewish Standard S-13

docked boat may be boarded by late-arriving shells, rope tied in nautical knots, and
guests. A boat at sea would leave late arrivals nautical flags. You’re not stuck with a red,
stranded on the dock. “Set an arrival time white and blue color scheme. Nautical
for an hour before the start of the ceremony accents can fit into any palette.
or sailing time to avoid missed connections,”
CreatorS.CoM Photo CourteSy of danielle riChardS PhotoGraPhy

says Cerria. Choosesee,


Your
hear,Wow Factor
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Some wedding Ahlaynucouples
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sit
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can be arranged, of course, if that is your ment, attitude
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start for them to be able
desired style of food service. to perfecttoalllife’s challenges,
of their preparations or socom-
that
You may also wish to blend styles, such peting
your timeline canvalues. Helping That
proceed smoothly. our
as having a sit-down dinner and a dessert way, you children
can enjoy your wedding
articulate day own
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values and encouraging them
Creators.com
Amy Grossblatt Pessah
to see another’s point of view
Choose
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includeindriftwood, anchors,God,
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ensued my car, I imagine as the Fast forward six months and we,
Ultimate Parent, delighting in Her chil- ironically, were passing by this same
dren’s conversations. Discussing, argu- field when a different permutation of
ing, listening, and working to solve how my three children got into a conver-
we are going to make this world a better sation about animal experimentation.
place for all of God’s creations is a form My older son was praising the virtues
of praise to the Sovereign of all things. of experimenting on animals and how
Life is messy, complicated, and nu- through this experimentation many
anced. There are many factors we deal lives have been saved. My daughter
with on a regular basis and often-con- was up in arms, seeing no benefits
flicting values emerge. In one con- because of the death of innocent crea-
versation three very big issues were tures. And so it went, back and forth,
raised, and it is difficult to address all arguing, protesting; each defending
of them — especially right in the mo- his or her own stance.
ment. It took me a while to sit back, re- One day, too soon, they will fly
flect, and process what had happened the coop and I want them to be well
in a short five-minute conversation. equipped to have the necessary skills
Our lives move at such a fast pace and to be responsible, open-hearted adults
it is hard to recognize, comprehend, who not only speak their Truth — but
and ultimately make sense of what we also hear the Truth of another.

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JS-12

S-12 Jewish Standard SUMMER 2019 BAR/BAT MITZVAH

Mitzvah money
Smart ways to stash the cash and grow it
Heidi Mae Bratt New Jersey region.
“The earlier good financial habits are built, the

W
hether it’s a multiple of 18 for chai (life in better,” said Ms. Myteberi. “We don’t teach enough
Hebrew) or not, cash is always a welcome budgeting and money management to our kids.”

Make your special gift for the bar or bat mitzvah.


Parents need to teach their children
The credit union offers a program for 12 and un-
der called The Kirby Kangaroo Club, a free savings

event truly special! smart financial habits, and the bar and bat mitzvah
is a good time to think about how to create smart
program designed especially for kids. Kirby Kanga-
roo uses stories, games, and entertainment to help
strategies to save and grow the gifts of cash. kids learn about saving and finances.
Temple Beth Sholom of Fair Lawn, Money experts say that even before they become The club provides special incentives and benefits
provides a perfect venue for all your party needs. a bar or bat mitzvah it is good to introduce a child for children who are age 12 and younger. It includes
Whether you are looking to plan a small, intimate to savings vehicles that could earn interest, such as The Kirby Kangaroo website packed with fun stuff
event or an elegant reception for a large group, savings bonds and certificates of deposit. Search for kids to learn with: stories, games, coloring pag-
consider Temple Beth Sholom. We offer: for a compound interest calculator online and es, and jokes; quarterly Kirby Kangaroo newsletter;
show your child how just one dollar can grow with
• Large beautiful sanctuary & spacious, interest over time.
elegant social hall/flexible floor & space options Several financial institutions in our area offer
plenty of youth services to teach youngsters money
• Dance floor adjustable to your party’s needs
management skills and to help invest the bar or bat Several financial institutions
• Easily accessible to all highways/
Handicap accessible/ Ample free parking
mitzvah cash.
Greater Alliance Federal Credit Union, a full ser-
in our area offer plenty
Please contact Mrs.Cary Reichardt, at the
vice financial institution, offers youth savings and of youth services to
checking accounts to help youngsters, and bar and
Beth Sholom office 201-797-9321 extension #425
bat mitzvah young men and women, start saving
teach youngsters money
to check on room availability, schedule a
walk through, and to get pricing.
their gift money with no fees or minimum balance management skills.
requirement.
Money experts say that it is very important to get and special Kirby Kangaroo youth activities all year
RCBC youngsters involved in money matters so they can long. Every $5 deposit earns a gift.
become stewards of managing their money later. If Starting at age 13 at Visions, members are able to
they learn how to handle money at a younger age, open a checking account and receive a debit card. A
they will be prepared to handle bigger financial de- Flex Checking account is perfect for teens, too, with
cisions through the different stages of their life. no monthly service charges or minimum balance re-
In addition to offering various financial products, quirements. They also offer youth lending and credit
the credit union hosts lunch-and-learn opportuni- card accounts, too. These help teens learn responsi-
ties at various organizations and online webinars ble borrowing habits alongside guidance from par-
where anyone can attend to become familiar with ents and our own financial professionals.
topics such as, what is a credit score, how to bud- Students age 14 to 18 attending high school can
get, what to expect when applying for a student borrow between $100 and $1,000 for up to a year. A
loan, and other areas that can help young adults co-signer is required on amounts over $500.
make better financial decisions through different Students age 14 to 17 can learn to manage a small
stages of life. credit limit up to $500. A co-borrower is required.
They also offer an app called Money Management Students 14 to 15 must complete a financial literacy
where its members can set their savings goal, see program with their parent before approval.
how much they are spending, and also keep track Experts say that the best way to teach young-
of their budget. sters about how to manage money is to give them
Sheryline Ingersoll, director of marketing at some, and now that they have it, they can save or
Greater Alliance, said the credit union also offers use it. They should figure out what they want and
private student loans for undergraduate and gradu- see how they can pay for it themselves. It gives
ate school; students can also refinance their existing them the chance to learn about the consequences
high-rate loans from other financial institutions. of overspending.
While owning a first car may be a few years away Teaching children delayed gratification will help
from the bar or bat mitzvah boy or girl, Greater Al- combat the “buy now, pay later” mentality that could
liance Federal Credit Union also offers a First Time mire them in credit card debt later on. Curbing im-
We offer Auto Buyer Program to help young adults purchase pulse buying goes hand in hand with teaching de-
OFF-PREMISE CATERING a new a car if they don’t have established credit. layed gratification. Before going shopping, create a
At Visions Federal Credit Union, with Bergen budget. Outline what you’re going to buy, what stores
for up to 600 people
County branches in Mahwah, Westwood, Dumont, you’re going to, and the price range for each item.
Englewood, Oakland and Saddle Brook, the young These also are important lessons of becoming a
201-530-5665 customer is valued from the very beginning of his or Jewish young man or young woman: learning re-
For more information contact
catering@estihana.com her life, said Ada Myteberi, a spokeswoman for the sponsible money management to last a lifetime.
JS-13
Jewish Standard S-13

Making a celebration a meaningful celebration


Emuna Braverman the celebration is about the material is the idea of responsibility. And that ning would be a tragedy. I know what

L
things, but because everyone wants a responsibility is the real joy. Having won’t teach the proper perspective.
ife has many firsts. It’s part of piece of the joy. obligations and using those obliga- But what will?
what makes life exciting. It’s part Everyone was genuinely happy and tions to connect to the Almighty is the One way I hope this lesson is ab-
of what keeps us on our toes. And excited for their brother (when they’re ultimate happiness. sorbed is through my son’s friends.
it’s part of what throws us into not fighting over the computer with We want our friends and family to When I’ve seen the joy of the boys
panic and confusion. Am I going to get him!) and they want as many outlets think this is the best party ever — not dancing with and for each other at pre-
it right? I’ve never done this before. And as possible to express it. the best decorations, the most courte- vious bar mitzvahs, I’ve been moved
even deeper, what exactly is right? Trying to tread the middle road is a ous waiters, the most gourmet food, to tears. Their unselfconscious ex-
We were approaching another first challenge in every aspect of life. Here the most exotic setting — the best par- pressions of pure happiness lifted ev-
in our family — our oldest son’s bar too. We want it attractive but not os- ty ever because it will teach us what eryone to an appreciation of what the
mitzvah. And the questions were flying tentatious, joyful but not wild, the life is really about. What we’re really world could be, an excitement about
fast and furious. We know we didn’t food delicious but not extravagant, meant to celebrate. Where true joy is the potential waiting to be unleashed.
want a “circus” theme or a “baseball” the clothing dignified but not dramatic attainable. And if we can learn that les- Coupled with this are the words of
theme. We were not hiring a rock band (and not outrageously expensive). And son we want everyone we care about his teachers. Continually exhorting
or a trapeze artist or a belly dancer! we want it meaningful. to learn it with us. the boys to appreciate the significance
But that still leaves plenty of leeway. We want everyone to understand We want our family to think it was of the day and demonstrating to them
How do you enjoy the party and — especially our son and his siblings the best party ever because it taught the pleasure and beauty of a life of wis-
maintain the focus? — what a bar mitzvah means. It’s not us what life is really about. These are dom and positive actions, these teach-
How do you enjoy the party and about the party. It’s not about the gifts. all wonderful ideas. But exactly how is ers have primed their students for the
maintain the focus? One of my girls It’s not about the band, the dessert, or this lesson going to be taught? new vistas to come. But only by acting
wanted all the clothing to be color-co- the kiddush. It’s not about the beautiful I know it’s not by counting checks. on what they’ve learned, by exhibiting
ordinated. I said no. One of my chil- cake our friend Betsy is going to make. I know that a sense of relief, a sugges- the character commensurate with the
dren wanted the celebration to be at And it’s not about the bills. (It’s not tion that the “ordeal” is over would wisdom, will the boys begin to forge
a hotel. I said no. Another wanted all about the bills, it’s not about the bills...) be a serious mistake. And the thought their own transcendent relationship.
her friends to come. I said no. And It’s about becoming an adult and that this is an end rather than a begin- Aish.com
everyone wants to help decide the forging a personal relationship with
menu. I said no to that also. But there God. It’s about recognizing that in-
have to be some yes-es. Not because herent in the concept of relationship

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JS-14

S-14 Jewish Standard SUMMER 2019 BAR/BAT MITZVAH

From left, Brian and Benjamin Barth at


Park Avenue Synagogue in Manhattan.

Twice as nice
Twins donate $122,000
to Israeli organizations
Heidi Mae Bratt

B
enjamin and Brian Barth, 13-year-old
sports-loving twins from New York City, have
turned their b’nai mitzvah into the mitzvah of
tzedakah through their contribution to Israeli
organizations.
To celebrate their October 6, 2018 b’nai mitzvah
at the Park Avenue Synagogue, they worked with
UJA-Federation of New York’s “Give a Mitzvah – Do
a Mitzvah” program, and raised more than $122,000
to donate to two Israeli nonprofits that work to em-
power people through sports.
The contributions were made in lieu of gifts.
“We are overjoyed and proud of them,” said their
mother, Natalie Barth, who serves as president of The Barth family: From left, father Brett, twins Brian and Benjamin, and mother Natalie.
the Park Avenue Synagogue. “They have embraced
the mitzvah of tzedakah that we hoped to pass on Through “Give a Mitzvah – Do a Mitzvah,” the Israel Tennis Centers’ programs, which teach chil-
to them in their taking care of others through their twins were able to design projects reflecting their dren peaceful coexistence through tennis and pro-
actions.” passions to make it meaningful for them as well. grams that offer academic support, enrichment,
Ms. Barth, who grew up in Texas, said that her Graduates of the Abraham Joshua Heschel School and mentoring.
family was very involved in the Jewish Federation in Manhattan, Brian will enter ninth grade at Horace Brian, who loves sailing and cycling, chose to do-
there, and she and her husband, Brett, a native of Mann School in Riverdale; Benjamin will be a fresh- nate to Etgarim, which uses the two activities, among
Virginia, have continued that tradition of involve- man at the Abraham Joshua Heschel High School. others, to rehabilitate individuals with cognitive,
ment with the Jewish Federation in New York. Benjamin, a tennis enthusiast, raised $61,199 for sensory, and physical disabilities. He raised $61,199
JS-15
Jewish Standard S-15

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On a visit to the Daughters of Miriam Center, a senior center in
Clifton, siblings Mendel and Rivka Shain celebrated the bar mitzvah
of Boris, a resident of the center. Boris had never had a bar mitzvah,
cash long-term. Make your money work
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SHARE SAVINGS
to encourage children in Tel Aviv, Na- an institution that gives people with
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cellence and participate in what other- fun with these endeavors is truly an
wise would be inaccessible sports.
Sports have played a key role in the
honor for me.”
“UJA’s ‘Give a Mitzvah – Do a Mitz-
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lives of Benjamin and Brian. When vah’ program enables bar and bat
they are not watching their favorite mitzvah kids like Benjamin and Brian HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT
sports teams, they play tennis, sail, to put their interests and love for Isra-
bike, and golf. In the winter, they love el and the Jewish people into action,”
to ski. The twins also have visited Is- said Lori Strouch Kolinsky, director of
rael several times, which has helped UJA’s Manhattan Division.
build a stronger connection to their “We are so inspired by the twins and
Jewish heritage and identity. their incredible generosity, and hope
“I just love playing tennis, and to this is just the beginning of their phil-
find out that there was a place that anthropic journeys,” she said.
plays tennis and supports coexistence Natalie Barth said she wanted to
excited me a lot,” said Benjamin. “I am publicize the “Give a Mitzvah – Do
glad I was able to fund it.” a Mitzvah” program because it not
Said Brian: “I continue to enjoy the only is easy for a bar or bat mitzvah visionsfcu.org/choose
State of Israel and it was perfect for my to do with the help of the UJA staff
bar mitzvah project to be in and asso- that walks the youngster through each New Jersey | New York | Pennsylvania
ciated with it. As cycling and sailing step, but most importantly, “it is so
are two of my personal passions and meaningful and the boys felt so good
Federally insured by NCUA.
interests, being able to contribute to about doing it.”
JS-16

S-16 Jewish Standard SUMMER 2019 BAR/BAT MITZVAH

The Empty Vase


a floral company
We Can Make Any Party Beautiful
Going green
Making the party
very earth-friendly
CLOSTER
Heidi Mae Bratt
219 Closter Dock Rd.
201-750-7181 Protecting the earth has always been a Jewish value.
Going green or eco-friendly has become mainstream at
schools, institutions and in many other aspects of our
lives. A green bar or bat mitzvah can include these val-
ues of protecting the earth and at the same time cele-
brate the milestone of becoming a young Jewish man
The Best Selection of or woman.
Talliot and
Kippot anywhere. Here are some ideas on how to make a bar or bat
Exquisite Styles mitzvah green.
for Women, Men,
Bar and Bat Mitzvah Invitations
Mention this ad for For many, the Evite email invitation has replaced paper
10% OFF completely. There are many websites offering Jew-
ish-themed animated cards and online RSVP tracking. If
Beautifully Beaded, Crystal, you still want paper, instead of buying glossy-coated bar to another simcha. Potted plants are another option.
Crocheted, Suede, Lace They’re a good take-away gift for your guests and they
or bat mitzvah invitations that cannot easily be recy-
Kippot, Tallit Clips
cled, choose invitations made from recycled cotton or add much needed oxygen to the environment.
post-consumer waste.
Lisa Prawer
Convenient Bergen County Location · 201-321-4995
Food glorious food
www.thetallislady.com · info@thetallislady.com
Décor and party favors Whether you are cooking or having your bar or bat

S-12Skip one-time-use disposable items such as balloons, mitzvah catered, food can be a way to be earth-friendly.
streamers, and plastic tablecloths for the party. Instead When possible, include seasonal, organic ingredients
go for items that can be reused or that are made from on the menu. Many catering companies offer kosher
Cantor sustainable materials. For candles, pick those that are organic meat and poultry and organic fruits and veg-

Barbra made from soy or palm oil instead of non-renewable


petroleum. For party favors choose to give usable
etables. Choosing organic food grown in a sustainable
manner not only reduces the impact on the earth, it
0002441714-01.qxd Lieberstein
10/15/08 5:09 PM favors1such as organic fair trade chocolates or tree seed-
Page
lings instead of plastic toy trinkets.
also tastes better. After the meal is enjoyed, donate left-
overs to an organization that helps provide food for the
Certified Cantor with hungry.
12+ years
BAR & BAT of pulpitMAGAZINE
MITZVAH Flower ADpower
0002441714-01 or the tables are to be festooned with
If the bimah Gifts
Lessons in experience
your home floral arrangements, make the flowers locally grown Gift items made from recyclable materials are available
Learn to read Hebrew LIEBERSTEIN, BARBRA
organic instead of foreign flora that are grown over- in many objects of Judaica. Giving a gift certificate to
Fri, Oct 24, 2008
seas and sprayed with chemical pesticides. After the an event is a way to give the celebrant an experience
Group 1
and cols, 2.13 x 2.50"
event, donate the flowers to a hospital or pass along instead of a thing. Another good green gift idea? Cash.
Learn to private lessons
Process Free
read Hebrew in your home
Lisa Spadevecchia

Officiant atCantor BarbraCeremonies,


Bar/Bat Mitzvah
201-818-4088
Parent Paper
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JS-17
JS-18

S-18 Jewish Standard SUMMER 2019 BAR/BAT MITZVAH

Books to help prepare


for your child’s big event
Heidi Mae Bratt
A good book can be a great guide when preparing your
child for bar or bat mitzvah. Here are a few titles that
might be helpful.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Basics,


second edition
A Practical Family Guide
to Coming of Age Together
The JGirl’s Guide: The Young Jewish Edited by Cantor Helen Leneman
Woman’s Essential Survival Guide for Foreword by Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin
Growing Up Jewish second edition Introduction by Rabbi Julie Gordon
By Dr. Ellen Golub Author, Penina Adelman, A practical guide that gives parents and teens
Author, Ali Feldman, and Dr. Shulamit Reinharz the “how-to” information they need to navigate
The JGirl’s Guide gives practical, real-world the bar and bat mitzvah process and grow as
advice using Judaism as a compass for the jour- a family through this experience. In this book,
ney through adolescence. This newly updated everyone directly involved offers practical
Putting God on the Guest List, third edition and expanded survival guide for coming of age insights into how the process can be made easier
By Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin explores the wisdom and experiences of rabbis, and more enjoyable for all. Rabbis, cantors and
Introduction by Rabbi William H. Lebeau athletes, writers, scholars, musicians, and great Jewish educators from the Reform, Conservative
Forward by Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso Jewish thinkers. This interactive book can help and Reconstructionist movements, parents, and
Rabbi Salkin asks and answers questions that make Jewish girls figure it all out. It explores what even teens speak from their own experience.
parents and children more comfortable with the happens at school and with friends. It shows The book covers questions like, What’s it all
event and able to experience it more joyfully. How them how to get along better with their fami- about? Preparation for the event. Tutoring, stress,
did bar and bat mitzvah originate? What is the last- lies. It offers them a chance to hear the voices of expectations, and planning for children with
ing significance of the event? What are the ethics other girls going through experiences just like special needs and more.
of celebration? What specific things can you do to theirs. Now is the time when girls are thinking:
reclaim the spiritual meaning of the event? How to Who am I? What do I believe in? Who will I be-
further develop spirituality? What spiritual values come? The JGirl’s Guide provides Jewish writ-
can parents and young people build together? ings, traditions, and advice that can help.

The Market Basket for catering mitzvahs


A bar or bat mitzvah is an extremely special occa- can also coordinate floral arrangements, invitations,
sion for your son or daughter that should be filled rentals, entertainment and staffing.
with laughter, tradition, friends and family, and great As Bergen County’s family-owned and premier
food. Voted the Jewish Standard’s “Best Gourmet caterer for almost 60 years, you can trust the team
Market” of 2018, The Market Basket can help create a at The Market Basket to take care of everything so
remarkable bar/bat mitzvah party that matches your that you can focus on what matters most-celebrating!
child’s personality and honors his or her milestone Mazel Tov!
into adulthood. A team of friendly, professional chefs
and event planners are available to create a menu The Market Basket
that will display personal taste and commitment to Franklin Lakes (flagship store):
Jewish tradition. Have fun selecting from food sta- 813 Franklin Lake Road, Franklin Lakes, NJ
tions that are loved by both adults and teenagers, as (201) 891-2000
well as hors d’oeuvres, and plated and buffet options Wyckoff location:
that suit any budget. Whether you plan to entertain a less than a staff with a high attention to detail that 300 Sicomac Avenue, Wyckoff, NJ
small gathering or several hundred, expect nothing will ensure your event runs smoothly. If needed, they (201) 891-1212 · www.marketbasket.com
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FOR ALL YOUR BAR/BAT MITZVAH NEEDS

FULL CANDY BUFFET WITH SETUP AND PROPS


201-833-9950
198 W. ENGLEWOOD AVE. TEANECK, NJ 07666
ORDERS@THEWORLDOFGOODIES.COM
1ST PLACE
CANDY STORE SUN 11-8 • MON-WED 10-8 • THURS 10-9 • FRI 9-5
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