Preparing for a bar or bat mitzvah is a challenge for any preteen — it requires hours of preparation and dedication.
But for Batya Sperling-Milner, the challenge was even more enormous. First…off, Sperling-Milner, the third of four kids, is blind. Secondly, her family, which belongs to the Ohev Sholom congregation in Washington, D.C., is Modern Orthodox, which means that the standards for her bat mitzvah ceremony had to be a lot more exacting than it would for a kid belonging to a more liberal congregation. Luckily, Sperling-Milner… >> Read More
Last night, I went to a bat mitzvah, just a few hours after a dozen fellow Jews in Pittsburgh were brutally murdered during a bris. A bris! I remember the brises of my two sons like they were…yesterday: the pride I felt, the fear of hurting my newborn during this religious and medical ritual, the warmth of my family gathered around us like a cocoon, the comforting sounds of Hebrew prayers. With every Jewish tradition, I always feel the reverberations of history — the echoes of all the boys’ cries that have… >> Read More
Initially, we thought we’d abscond to Israel for my son’s bar mitzvah. We’d lug a Torah up Masada, have our son chant his prayers as the sun rose, then go jump in the Dead Sea. Simple and…straightforward, right? But as we talked things over — and priced it out — we realized it would be a shame not to celebrate this milestone with family and friends, our close-knit Brooklyn community that’s integral to Noah’s life. If we were going to keep the simcha stateside, it needed to reflect Noah as an… >> Read More
My son’s bar mitzvah happened about two weeks ago. Obviously, being the proud Jewish mama that I am, I have to say the kid nailed it.
But I am not here to write The Ultimate Kvell. Rather, I’d…like to share with you the lessons I learned from this blessed event, in hopes they can prevent some headaches when you, too, are fortunate enough to witness your own son or daughter becoming a bar or bat mitzvah. So here goes: 1. Chill Out. On the way to synagogue on the morning of The Big… >> Read More
My second child — out of six — will become a bar mitzvah in a few weeks. And while I still have many more bar and bat mitzvahs ahead of me, as the accoutrements of this event threaten to overtake…its substance, I find that I am already burned out. Let me explain. We live in the New York metropolitan area — which is another way of saying “there are a lot of Jewish people around here, so almost every weekend, my 7th-grader goes to at least one bar or bat mitzvah service and party.”… >> Read More