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
We officially have found the coolest teen ever: 13-year-old Ava Barash. Barash celebrated her bat mitzvah in March — and she donated her gifts (along with her savings) to a sexual abuse legal fund…for models. In February, Barash had watched a news segment about Humans of Fashion Foundation — a nonprofit that works to create a safe space for workers in the fashion industry and helps address workplace misconduct, like harassment, abuse, and assault. It also provides pro-bono and subsidized legal counseling for victims. Barash is an aspiring fashion designer, so this… >> Read More