Singing Rabbi’s Dream Is to Spread the Rebbe’s Teachings Through … –

Growing up in Australia, Ruvi New was surrounded by Jewish music. His mother, Assia New, is an accomplished singer who sang on behalf of many charities. Both of his grandfathers were noted Chassidic singers (in the Chabad and Gerrer traditions, respectively), and his great-uncle, Rabbi Shmuel Betzalel Althausone of the prominent leaders of the Chabad community in Australiahad recorded the Chassidic melodies of his childhood hometown of Nikolayev, Ukraine, thus preserving them for future generations.

It was natural to assume that music would be in News future as well. But then he was ordained as a rabbi, got married, started a family and became a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary. Life got busy. Together with his wife, Ahuva, he co-directs a thriving Chabad center in East Boca Raton, Fla. He is also a sought-after teacher and speaker, whose classes can be seen and heard on

Yet for more than two decades, the rabbi nursed a dream of something else: a musical odyssey with a greater meaning, one that would perpetuate the words of the Lubavitcher RebbeRabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memoryto listeners far and wide through song.

After the Rebbes passing in 1994, he began writing lyrics that carried the Rebbes message, with a goal of sharing those spiritually meaningful words with a global audience.

It was partially a cathartic process when I started, but I was also thinking that this could be a way to share the Rebbes life with the world, explained New. There is a vast amount of the Rebbes teachings and Torah in printed materials and video, but using music as a teaching tool is something different and unique.

Working with multiple composers, the rabbi eventually accumulated more than 20 original songs, most of which mixed English lyrics with Chabad themes. He began performing musical tributes to the Rebbe at Chabad Houses throughout North America and Australia, and soon found himself inundated with requests for recordings of his songs.

And with that, Storm the World, an album featuring 12 of his original compositions, was born. Teaming up with Bentzi Marcus of the popular Jewish rock band 8th Day, the two created a project that will touch the hearts of Jewish music lovers of all stripes. With a wide range of musical styles ranging from heartfelt to contemporary, the album includes compositions by Marcus, Yossi Green, Larry Gates, Chanale Fellig-Harrel and Asher Essebag. Also joining New at the microphone are Green, Marcus and his brother, singer Eli Marcus, and others.

Two of the songs, Storm the World and The Match can be heard here on The full album is slated for release in time for the High Holidays.

Growing up in a Chabad home and having had the chance to meet the Rebbe and experience the Rebbes farbrengens in 770 Eastern Parkway, the songs messages immediately resonated with me, said Marcus, who produced the recording. The chance to help spread these beautiful inspirations with a musical production was something I couldnt pass up.

Continued here:
Singing Rabbi’s Dream Is to Spread the Rebbe’s Teachings Through … –

Posted in Jewish Music Comments Off on Singing Rabbi’s Dream Is to Spread the Rebbe’s Teachings Through … –

Hebrew College holds commencement exercises – Wicked Local Newton

Hebrew College celebrated its 92nd Commencement and Ordination ceremonies, graduating 10 rabbinical students, three cantorial students and the colleges first Rav/Hazzan, as well as 42 masters degree students. The college also awarded 13 graduate certificates.

Hebrew College president, Rabbi Daniel L. Lehmann, charged this years graduates with ensuring that Jewish education focuses on the spirit, encouraging them, in their learning and teaching, always to raise the ultimate questions that are at the very heart of Judaism ensuring that they form the spiritual center of Jewish education.

Honorary degrees were awarded to Professor Judith Kates, of Hebrew College, and Professor Daniel Matt and Margot Pritzker for their collaboration to produce The Zohar: The Pritzker Edition. The Zohar is the chief text of Jewish mystical thought, or Kabbalah.

Student speakers included Rabbinical School graduate, Mnica Gomery, Rab`17/MAJS`17, as well as Barbara Merson and Lori Riegel, both of whom received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in educational studies and a certificate in Jewish educational leadership from the joint program between Hebrew College and Lesley University.

Harvey N. Bock, Rabbinical School Hebrew language coordinator, was honored with the Sidney Hillson/Rose Bronstein Memorial Award for distinguished leadership and commitment to the centrality of the Hebrew language in Jewish education and for the advancement of Jewish culture and civilization. The Dr. Benjamin J. Shevach Memorial Award for distinguished achievement in Jewish educational leadership was presented to Marion Gribetz, director of Educational Initiatives at Hebrew Colleges Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education.

In ordination ceremonies held at Temple Reyim in Newton, rector of the Rabbinical School, Rabbi Arthur Green, encouraged seekers to become rabbis and rabbis to become seekers, that they should be brothers and sisters to the seekers who surround them, not authority figures who seek to quell or dismiss their doubts.

Each ordainee was presented with a tallit, prayer shawl, by a faculty member and Cantor Dr. Brian Mayer, dean of the School of Jewish Music and Rabbi Sharon Cohen-Anisfeld, dean of the Rabbinical School offered heartfelt and personalized blessings to each of their respective graduates.

The newly-ordained rabbis and cantors are: Rabbi Leora Beth Abelson, Rabbi Ezra Katriel Pinhas Averett Balser, Rabbi/Cantor Aliza Gabrielle Berger, Rabbi Michael Givental, Rabbi Mnica Livy Gomery, Cantor Audrey Jeannette Klein, Rabbi Eliezer Schindler Lehmann, Rabbi Sarah Elizabeth Mulhern, Rabbi Gray Zev Myrseth, Cantor Julie E. Newman, Rabbi Arielle Ruth Safyan Rosenberg, Rabbi Micah Kalman Shapiro, Cantor Beth Seybold Strassler and Rabbi David Phillip Winship.

For information:

Go here to see the original:
Hebrew College holds commencement exercises – Wicked Local Newton

Posted in Jewish Music Comments Off on Hebrew College holds commencement exercises – Wicked Local Newton

Bring Summer Into Your Simcha – Atlanta Jewish Times

What does your mitzvah kid love most about summer? Does he or she count the days till sleepaway camp, help plan your familys travels abroad or live to hit the beach?

No matter when your mitzvah date falls, you can use your childs favorite summer activities as inspiration for a simcha celebration, a great departure from typical mitzvah themes. Summer-influenced parties can transport your guests to the most relaxed season.

Some possibilities:

Or bring the outdoors inside with creative campy touches, such as having your DJ teach guests a cheer to shout when your mitzvah kid enters the party, making a bunk bed the focal point of a lounge for the kids or creating a campfire for serving dessert smores.

Find more camp-themed ideas on my Pinterest page (

New York lovers can send guests down streets to taste real NYC bagels and lox, fold-over pizza slices and hot pretzels, pushcart vendor style.

To honor a treasured Israel visit, a milk-and-honey-themed celebration can use murals of landmarks along the walls, fresh oranges in tablescapes, and plenty of Israeli food and music.

Family photos of visits to your city or country of choice also make great decorations, either in centerpieces or as wall decorations. Or you can use travel in general as your dcor motif, using maps, globes, airlines tickets and luggage to provide your guests with the sensation that theyre going places.

See more ideas at

Beach-inspired party favors could include flip-flops, toy sand buckets filled with treats and logoed sunglasses.

Food can be barbecue-casual with beloved warm-weather treats such as popsicles and ice cream sandwiches that seem so special out of season.

Your mitzvah kid may find other elements of summer more exciting. Find out what he or she loves most, and shape a seasonally inspired simcha that is unique and personalized. Long live summer!

Shelly Danz is the founder and chief party officer of Atlanta Party Connection (, the premier bar and bat mitzvah resource in the metro area, helping thousands of families create their ideal mitzvah celebrations. APC connects parents with top vendors, secures exclusive deals and discounts on services, provides party consulting, and produces a twice-yearly Bar & Bat Mitzvah Expo. The next expo is Aug. 27.

Read the original post:
Bring Summer Into Your Simcha – Atlanta Jewish Times

Posted in Bat Mitzvah Comments Off on Bring Summer Into Your Simcha – Atlanta Jewish Times

Bar Mitzvah, Mom Find Faith With Help of OVS – Atlanta Jewish Times

When Gael Juarez-Romero stood up in front of the congregation during his bar mitzvah speech and said, I dont have much family, but you are my family, there wasnt a dry eye in the sanctuary at Congregation Or VeShalom.

Gael began attending Or VeShalom with his mother, Isadora Romero, when he was 4 years old. He has grown a lot since he and his mother left Mexico City for a better life in the United States, but what began as a simple immigration story turned into a spiritual journey for Gael and his mother.

Im ready to have the responsibility of being Jewish, he said late one Saturday night after Havdalah.

He and his mother never miss a service, driving 45 minutes to an hour between their home in Woodstock and OVS in Brookhaven.

Romero said G-d brought them to OVS.

When we first started coming, my car had an engine that was about to die, but we would always get here, she said in Spanish. It was Hashem. There are so many miracles that weve had in our lives.

She is a woman of faith, believing in things unseen and constantly praying to Hashem. Romero has countless stories of divine intervention, including a sentence of a $6,000 fine and probation with an ankle monitor as a result of an expired visa that was reduced to $1,000.

I cried, she said, holding back tears through broken English. I told Hashem I have emunah.

Romeros grandmother in Mexico was Jewish, but her religion was hidden, she said. My father would always say there is only one G-d.

She saw her grandmother say the blessings over the bread and wine and light Shabbat candles, but she didnt have a point of reference for the experience until she attended synagogue. From there, she taught herself and Gael Hebrew. Now she sits in the womens section at OVS and reads from the siddur.

It was easy to learn the Hebrew. Every time I came, I felt happier and happier, Romero said.

But Gael needed a little time to grow before fully embracing Judaism.

I thought they were speaking Japanese, he said. At age 4, he slept through services, and as he got older, he focused on other things.

The most exciting part about synagogue was playing, Gael said.

Saturday services at OVS begin at 10:30 a.m. and last until about 12:30 p.m. Gael usually played with his friends, running around the halls of OVS during the two-hour stretch.

But as time inched closer to his 13th birthday, one by one his friends left until he was the only kid his age.

I was told by Rabbi (Hayyim) Kassorla I had to sit down and go to the mens section the entire service, Gael said.

Soon he was preparing for becoming a bar mitzvah. Standing in front of the entire congregation to declare his commitment to the Jewish people was nerve-racking for the outgoing 13-year-old, but he mustered the courage to get through it.

For Gael, becoming a bar mitzvah May 20 meant taking on a bigger role within a synagogue family that is home to many Mexican Jewish men he admires.

I want to do this because I want to be in a minyan and become even more a part of the family, Gael said.

I hope he is OK and contributes to the community, Rabbi Kassorla said at oneg after Shabbat services. I was more nervous than he was.

The Sephardic rabbi credits Romero with overcoming adversity to be a part of the Jewish people. Her spirit and joy make her an exemplary Jew, Rabbi Kassorla said.

His mother single-handedly found Judaism and instilled it in her family. Shes our family, Rabbi Kassorla said. Theyre a light of joy and happiness. Its been an honor to be associated with the family.

More here:
Bar Mitzvah, Mom Find Faith With Help of OVS – Atlanta Jewish Times

Posted in Bar Mitzvah Comments Off on Bar Mitzvah, Mom Find Faith With Help of OVS – Atlanta Jewish Times

Mitzvah Project Is Just Start of His Good – Atlanta Jewish Times

We normally think of an angel as an adult, but a number of young people in our Jewish community are performing good deeds. We have a responsibility to recognize and applaud their contributions.

This weeks angel is Harrison Frank, who has provided great assistance to his school, the community, and the Packaged Good, a Dunwoody-based nonprofit that empowers children and teaches personal responsibility through the preparation of decorated gift bags for the needy.

Harrison is a seventh-grader at the Davis Academy, and his family members have been part of Temple Emanu-El for many years.

Harrison was aware of the Packaged Good and decided that for his bar mitzvah project he would raise money and donate merchandise for the nonprofit. His efforts met with great success, as he was able to have three large pallets of gifts donated.

He was so impressed with the Packaged Goods efforts that he has helped in a number of other ways:

Harrisons other activities include:

In addition, his cousin serves on the USS Nimitz, the Navys oldest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. He collected Halloween candy and sent many boxes to the ships crew in conjunction with the Packaged Good.

When not otherwise occupied, Harrison is a budding entrepreneur and has operated a trash removal business for elderly neighbors and sold novelties at events.

It is important to note that these accomplishments did not come easily for Harrison. At an early age, he discovered that he had some learning difficulties and had to work especially hard to overcome those challenges. His determination and hard work taught him valuable life lessons and laid the basis for a positive attitude to address lifes challenges.

Asked why he has tackled so many community service projects, Harrison said he feels a responsibility to give back to a community that has provided so much to his family. He acquired these attitudes and values from his parents, grandparents, teachers and synagogue.

He believes that his life has been enriched by helping others, and he seeks to be a good role model for his two younger brothers incredible wisdom and insight from such a young person.

Harrison is a great role model and an inspiration for children and adults. We can all benefit from his example.

One of the great wonders of life is that we can all learn from one another, regardless of age or position.

In conclusion, lets not forget the first angel of the Packaged Good, Sally Mundell: a courageous young woman who turned a personal loss into a positive movement for her two daughters, other young children and the needy in our community.

Al Shams is a Sandy Springs resident, an ex-CPA and an investment professional with more than 36 years industry experience.

Here is the original post:
Mitzvah Project Is Just Start of His Good – Atlanta Jewish Times

Posted in Bar Mitzvah Comments Off on Mitzvah Project Is Just Start of His Good – Atlanta Jewish Times

It’s Been Eight Years Since My Bat Mitzvah – Jewish Week

My parents have been incredible role models in teaching me what it means to love tefillah and Torah; but while my relationship with tefillah and Torah is unconditional (seriously though, remember that time I dressed up as a Torah for Purim?), it hasnt been easy. I was ten-years-old at Camp Ramah the first time I ever leined Torah. This, I knew, was for education, not for real. I had wanted to be a Torah scholar since the 3rd grade, but at school my 6th grade chumash teacher told me I couldnt be a Torah scholar because, as she so eloquently pointed out: Girls cant be Torah scholars, there are only Rabbis and teachers like me.

At my bat mitzvah, Rosh Chodesh Tammuz 5769, after months of learning with my mother, I was able to lein in a Womens Tefillah. (Of course, back then it was difficult to find a Shul that was willing to lend us a Torah, four years later my mother helped start JOFAs Torah Lending Program.) In the eight years since my bat mitzvah, I have had the opportunity to read Torah on nine more occasions (seven times in a Womens Tefillah and twice in a Partnership Minyan). Its been five years since my brothers bar mitzvahhe lost count of how many times he leined after the first year.

My mother introduced me to the world of Womens Tefillah, and I fell in love; something about a group of women all praying together, their voices melding into a beautiful melody that for once was in my Soprano range, made my tefillah experience greater than it had ever been. In high school, I made Womens Tefillah my mission; every Rosh Chodesh I would find myself in an administrators office asking them once again not to deny myself and my peers the opportunity to have a womens Hallel. The last Rosh Chodesh of my Senior year (Rosh Chodesh Tammuz 5774) I gave up, my friends and I simply had our own Womens Tefillah in a private home.

When I got to college I had plenty of options for Friday night davening, I could go to the traditional service run by the Orthodox Community that I was a part of, or I could go to the Partnership Minyan service run by Penns Shira Chadasha community. Something about Shira Chadasha drew me in. It felt weird to me at first, that women were leading services in front of the whole kehilla. But I quickly fell in love with the community, despite my initial discomfort and hesitation, because of how it brought me closer to Torah and tefillah. Shira Chadasha became my home on campus, and at the end of my Freshman year, I was asked to be co-chair. Being part of Shira Chadasha causes me to question and reevaluate my Jewish experience and practice on a daily basis, but for as much as it may further complicate my relationship with Torah and tefillah, it has also made these relationships so much stronger.

Recently, I recorded myself singing parts of Hallel that are said aloud by the chazzan/it because this coming Rosh Chodesh Kislev, my sister will be leading Hallel and leining Torah in a Womens Tefillah for her own bat mitzvah. As I reflect back on my journey with Orthodoxy and feminism in the years since my own bat mitzvah, I often worry that my sister will face similar obstacles in her quest for closeness with to Hashem through Torah and tefillah.

People often joke about how alike my sister and I are (in all fairness, my profile picture has us in the matching This is what a feminist looks like T-shirts we wore to the last JOFA conference), and in many ways its true But I think about how discouraged I was at her age when people told me I couldnt do or be things with little explanation aside from my gender. There are moments when she impresses me, speaking up with tenacity that seems far beyond her years; whether she is gathering all the younger girls in our community Womens Tefillah to lead Yigdal with her, planning ways to make Teen Minyan better for her and her friends, or writing an email to her school administrator when she feels jilted because the Torah wasnt brought to the mechitza for her to kiss.

As she approaches her bat mitzvah my wish for my sister is that she continues to persist in standing up for her ideals and be thoughtful about her Jewish practice. I am optimistic that she will face fewer challenges, and that she will find solace when necessary. Im proud that she feels empowered, and empowers others, to stand up for herself in her journey to cultivate a more meaningful relationship with Torah and tefillah; my hope is that she will have the opportunity to grow into Jewish adulthood in communities that not only welcome her, but encourage her to do so.

Liat Greenwood is a rising Junior at the University of Pennsylvania where she is studying nursing. At Penn, Liat is the co-chair of the Shira Chadasha community and sits on the Leadership Council for Hillel Board. After finishing her BSN, Liat hopes to continue on to become a Womens Health Nurse Practitioner/Nurse-Midwife. One of Liats main areas of interest is the intersection between health, Jewish lifestyle, and halakha; she has been able to integrate her passion into her coursework.

All posts are contributed by third parties. The opinions and facts in them are presented solely by the authors and JOFA assumes no responsibility for them.

Here is the original post:
It’s Been Eight Years Since My Bat Mitzvah – Jewish Week

Posted in Bat Mitzvah Comments Off on It’s Been Eight Years Since My Bat Mitzvah – Jewish Week

Synagogue breaks with tradition, allows interfaith marriage – New York Post

A historic Upper West Side synagogue is breaking with centuries of tradition telling interfaith couples to goy ahead and tie the knot in its sacred sanctuary.

After a year of dialogue and debate, the 192-year-old Bnai Jeshurun on West 88th Street BJ to friends and neighbors has decided to accommodate the growing number of members, most of them young, who want a rabbi to officiate as they marry outside the faith.

The barriers have fallen down and the intersection between Jews and non-Jews are much more common in terms of having deep relationships and falling in love, BJ senior Rabbi Rolando Matalon told The Post.

Special ceremonies uniting members of the Tribe and those outside of it will begin in 2018. Currently, very few Conservative rabbis in the New York area conduct the unorthodox rites.

Naturally, the new weddings come with more than a few Thou shalts and Thou shalt nots.

Couples must agree to raise a Jewish family.

Rabbis will not co-officiate with clergy of other faiths.

And while the non-Jewish mate need not convert to Judaism, the couple must promise to give the resulting children a Jewish education.

The couple cannot practice two religions.

But the kids may be introduced to, understand and respect the faiths of their non-Jewish grandparents and other relatives, Matalon said.

Importantly, Jewish holidays and rituals, including lighting candles on the Sabbath, must be observed.

The goal is to pass down all the values and richness of what Jewish life has to offer, said Felicia Sol, the synagogues first female rabbi.

Not everyone is kvelling about the news.

The Jewish Theological Seminary, which trains rabbis for the Conservative movement, said Wednesday it will uphold its own ban on interfaith wedding ceremonies.

But one New York interfaith couple applauded with reservations.

This is an incredibly positive step, said Sandy Myers, whose Jewish family attended a less restrictive Reform temple.

I dont totally agree with the mandate that the couple has to raise their children Jewish, she said. They should focus on creating an atmosphere that inspires people to make that decision on their own.

Myers married fellow nonprofit worker Ames Grawert, who hails from a loosely religious Christian family, in 2015.

The couple observes Jewish traditions like Shabbat dinners, but has also decorated a Christmas tree as a fun thing to do together, Myers said.

Grawert wont skip his familys big Christmas get-together.

They plan to raise their kids Jewish, including giving them a Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremony if they choose, Grawert said.

Read the original:
Synagogue breaks with tradition, allows interfaith marriage – New York Post

Posted in Bat Mitzvah Comments Off on Synagogue breaks with tradition, allows interfaith marriage – New York Post

Delayed by Nazis, bar mitzvah to now be celebrated by Holocaust survivor – Grand Haven Tribune

Katz, 89, who lives in a North Side retirement home, was to have celebrated the occasion in Czechoslovakia back in 1941. But that plan like so many others was upended by the Holocaust. The Nazis ultimately murdered his father, mother, three brothers and four sisters.

Now his belated bar mitzvah, the Jewish ceremony that marks the transition to manhood, takes place under the shadow of a theological puzzle.

Why did God let this happen? he asked me. For all these years, Ive been asking that. I will never understand.

One brother survived the Holocaust. Katzs own survival came through a chain of happenstance just short of miraculous.

If a single link had broken, he wouldnt be spending Memorial Day reading from a Torah scroll he commissioned and in a synagogue Chabad of Wilmette built of imported Jerusalem stone that he donated.

The distinctive, whitish stone is freighted with meaning for Katz. Virtually every building in Jerusalem is clad in it. When the sun hits at the right angle, the city seems to shimmer, like the storybook city of Oz.

Amid the horrors of the Holocaust, Katz desperately wanted to take refuge in Jerusalem, but the Germans were determined that he wouldnt escape, and the British were determined that he wouldnt reach Jerusalem, which they then ruled.

At the time Katzs bar mitzvah was originally scheduled, his hometown of Tarn, Czechoslovakia, was occupied by Hungarian troops allied with Adolf Hitler. They were determined to be rid of the Jewish townspeople.

They went up and down the streets, ordering the Jews to get dressed quickly and come to the synagogue, Katz said.

I remember it as if it was yesterday, he said. The trucks coming down the street. How we were loaded up.

They were taken to a larger city and, eventually, across the border to Poland. There they were ordered out of the trucks and left beside the road without food, water or shelter.

We ate out of garbage cans, Katz said.

His father had a sister living in Poland, and Katzs family moved in with her. Then his father thought they had a better chance of surviving back in Czechoslovakia. He took the family across the border to Chust, as they feared being recognized in their hometown.

From that point, his familys saga has to be told as separate chapters.

A Hungarian woman offered to smuggle Harold Katz into Budapest, where she was going to rejoin her husband. Katzs father didnt object. Perhaps he thought it increased the odds that someone would live to tell the story? So the woman hid Katz under a wagonload of lumber and got him to Hungary.

The rest of the family remained in Chust. In 1944, they were sent to Auschwitz, where more than a million Jews were killed.

I think: Why didnt I save them? Katz said.

His daughter, Lila Katz, said its futile to try and reassure her father: I tell him: You were a boy, barely 13. What could you do?

In Hungary, Katz made contact with an underground Zionist group that provided him with false identity papers. He wore a cross and a red-and-white armband, posing as a member of the Hungarian armys youth group.

Three times I was caught, Katz said. And three times I got away.

In one jail, he said, he bribed a guard with a wristwatch not to cut his hair off; a bald head was a telltale sign of an escaped prisoner. Another time, after being put to work unloading supply wagons, he took off running.

But he couldnt escape Nazi-occupied Europe. In 1944, he was on a list of people awaiting passage to Palestine, but the boat sailed before his number came up.

As the war was drawing to a close, he was hiding in an abandoned building in Budapest. So, too, he said, was a deserter from the German army, who bragged about killing Jews and Russians.

Liberated by a Russian detachment, Katz told the Jewish commander about the German in the building. He said the Russian soldiers dragged the German out and blindfolded him. The commander handed Katz a pistol.

I shot him in the back, Katz said.

Did that dissipate his anger? No, he replied. To this day, he feels it.

Katz, then 17, assumed the rest of his family was dead until a survivor of Auschwitz said Katzs oldest brother was alive. Harold and Maurie Katz found each other, then joined the myriad displaced persons wandering Europe after World War II.

When one fellow traveler said he was going to New York, Harold Katz recalled that his mother had relatives in the United States. So he gave the fellow an ad to place in the Forvertz, a Yiddish newspaper published in New York.

Ich zich mein feter und tante, the ad began. Im looking for my uncle and aunt.

Wonder of wonders, an aunt and uncle in Chicago happened to read the Forvertz the day the ad ran. They sent Harold and Maurie a telegram, followed by a food package, then airline tickets.

The brothers lived with their newfound relatives on Evergreen Street. Harold found work as a sewing machine operator while Maurie learned the building trades. He established a construction business, and Harold joined him. They built homes all over the Chicago area.

Along the way, Harold learned English at the Jewish Peoples Institute, a West Side community center. There he met his wife, Judy, a survivor of Auschwitz. They had a daughter, Lila, and two sons.

Lila Katz said her parents didnt talk about the Holocaust until 13 years ago, when she saw a movie about Budapest in World War II.

I knew my Dad had been there, so I told him: Youre going to show me Budapest, Lila Katz said.

There Harold Katz took her to where he had witnessed Jewish children being killed. Pointing to a watch in a jewelers window, he said: A watch like that saved my life.

Last year, the family threw a big birthday party for Katz. My dad got up and, out of the blue, announced: Im going to have a bar mitzvah, Lila Katz said.

And so he will. The celebration is scheduled to begin the Sunday before Memorial Day, with the completion of the Torah scroll that Katz commissioned. By tradition, the final letters will be written in memory of congregants and friends loved ones.

In this case, there is a long list of people Katz could honor: his martyred parents, brothers and sisters. The aunt who sheltered his family in Poland. The Hungarian woman who smuggled him under a pile of lumber. Members of the underground who gave him forged papers. The fellow survivor who carried his ad to the Forvertz. The aunt and uncle who brought him to America.

Theyre always with me, he said. In dreams, I see them.

In recent years, Katzs wife and brother died, which got him thinking about how hed like to be remembered. Not just by a memorial plaque or a beautiful scroll, but a more personal memory. He wanted it to be a story his grandchildren would want to tell their children:

Grandpa Katz, full of years, stepped up to the readers platform in synagogue on Memorial Day. He touched the Torah scroll with the corner of his prayer shawl and kissed it, as is customary. Then reading a passage, he honored the ancient injunction to pass on the Lords commandments, as the Bible says: And ye shall teach them to your children, talking of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way.

Follow this link:
Delayed by Nazis, bar mitzvah to now be celebrated by Holocaust survivor – Grand Haven Tribune

Posted in Bar Mitzvah Comments Off on Delayed by Nazis, bar mitzvah to now be celebrated by Holocaust survivor – Grand Haven Tribune

Barmitzvah boy set for fundraising challenge – Jewish News

An inspiringbarmitzvah boy is marking his big day byraising money to fund research into fighting Motor Neurone Disease.

Max Norman decided to take on the challenge afterhis father died from the condition two years ago.

Looking ahead to the event on 2 July, which will see him tacklea 14km walk from his Mill Hill home to Imperial College in central London, Max said: Im feeling very excited about the thought of walking so far, as Ive never walked so far before.

I know that in the end, knowing how much money Ive raised for a cause that means so much to me will have made it all worthwhile.A big thank you to everyone whos sponsored so far. Im very, very grateful.

Maxs mum, Samantha, said: Im incredibly proud of Max for taking on this challenge. Even more so that he thought of marking his forthcoming barmitzvah with a fundraising effort so significant to him and to us all.

Max has reached his target, but youcan still sponsor him by clicking here:

Read the original:
Barmitzvah boy set for fundraising challenge – Jewish News

Posted in Bar Mitzvah Comments Off on Barmitzvah boy set for fundraising challenge – Jewish News

Open house at Smith Hill synagogue draws hundreds – The Providence Journal

Leon Resnick, 94, was born a year after the synagogue was built and had his bar mitzvah there.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. The stark building is usually closed tight, but on Sunday balloonsdanced on their strings, music poured from open doors and families came and went,although one family’s departure was delayed by the difficulty of getting two childrenout of a tree.

Music and people filled the Sons of Jacob Synagogue during an open house from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. Regarded as a jewel by groups devoted to preserving Providence architecture, the Smith Hill community and the state’s Jewish history, the synagogue at 24 Douglas Ave. is the home of the newly formed Rhode Island Jewish Museum.

Although services are still held inthe basement, where the congregation began meeting in 1906 while they saved up to build the sanctuary, the sanctuary has gone unused for at least a decade, even for the High Holidays.

But the lights were on Sunday as a violinist and two guitarists, one of whom occasionally switched to clarinet, played klezmer music as nearly 400 people sat, visited or roamed around to admire the murals, the trompe-loeil paintings that made wood look like marble or velvet, the chandelier and star-shaped lights, the names written in gold.

One man was surprised to find his great-grandfather’s name on a plaque. “I didn’t know this is where he went,” said Farrel Klein, adding that it made sense because his great grandfather’s farm was just down the street.

The Sons of Jacob Synagogue once presided over a vibrant village of houses and shops,bakeries, meat markets and delis. In fact, the refreshments for Leon Resnick’s bar mitzvah came from those shops, the 94-year-old said Sunday. Now the village is gone, replaced by a highway interchange and the convergence of Routes 95 and 146. And efforts are under way to preserve the building that testifies to the progress of Jewish families in Rhode Island.

Outside the second-floor sanctuary, Resnick sat near his father’s name on the list of members who helped build it in 1922, the year before he was born. He and three Resnick cousins are named on another list, just inside the sanctuary, of members who fought in World War II.

In those days, women and girls sat in the balcony, always with a hat or bow covering their heads, said Joan Tebrow, 70, who remembered sitting up there with her mother, attending Hebrew school and “running around all the different stairwells,” where nooks and crannies offered “a lot of places to hide.”

Larry Parness, 66, has memories of the synagogue “going back my whole life.” His father let him and his brother sit in the main sanctuary, he said, but sat between them. “I remember being pinched by my father if I misbehaved during the service.”

Rabbi Yossi Laufer observed that the open house was well-timed, because witnesses to the synagogue’s history were able to attend.

“Twenty years from now, they’d be gone,” he said.

(401) 277-7411

On Twitter: @donita22

View post:
Open house at Smith Hill synagogue draws hundreds – The Providence Journal

Posted in Bar Mitzvah Comments Off on Open house at Smith Hill synagogue draws hundreds – The Providence Journal