Bar Mitzvah

Bar Mitzvah Boy Raises Money For Parkinson’s — By Hosting International Kids Film Festival

09/15/2016 - 16:50

In third grade, Ryan Levine participated in an after-school workshop on filmmaking — and he’s been hooked ever since.

Ryan Levine shooting a film (Courtesy Lisa Bercu Levine)

World’s Oldest Man, A Holocaust Survivor In Israel, To Celebrate Bar Mitzvah 100 Years Late

09/15/2016 - 11:54

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The world’s oldest man, 113-year-old Yisrael Kristal, a Holocaust survivor living in Israel, will celebrate his bar mitzvah.

Yisrael Kristal will welcome about 100 family members in his home city of Haifa to mark his bar mitzvah. (Courtesy of family)

Preparing For Our Son's Bar Mitzvah Is A Coming-Of-Age Moment For Us, Too

Editor's Note: This blog originally appeared on newsworks.

In less than a week, my son, George, will turn 13, and like generations of Jewish boys before him, he will become a bar mitzvah. 

For George, who is non-verbal and on the more severe end of the autism spectrum, his bar mitzvah service will be carefully modified. We've taught him how to select his Torah verses from an app on his iPad that he uses to communicate. Rather than a speech about his Torah portion, he is painting a collage about it. He will deliver prayers from his front row seat, as standing before the congregation would cause him sensory overwhelm.

As we've prepared for his service, I've questioned my choices.

The author with her son, George. Courtesy of Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

Actor James Franco Has Bar Mitzvah

10/06/2015 - 20:00

Actor James Franco was bar mitzvahed in a religious ceremony at the age of 37.

James Franco, left, at his bar mitzvah on Oct. 3, 2015. JTA

Seth Rogen Invites You To James Franco’s Bar Mitzvah

Alzheimer’s awareness is inspiring the two actors to sing “hava negillah.”

07/22/2015 - 20:00
Editorial Intern

At 37, James Franco is about to become a man. 

James Franco and Seth Rogen at a premiere for their film "The Interview." Getty Images

Bring On The Bar/Bat Mitzvah Videos

Tweens do have a story all their own.

Israel Correspondent
07/21/2015 - 20:00

We’re in the final weeks of preparing for our twin sons’ bar mitzvah, and one of the things on our never-ending To Do list is a simple video. Our goal is to chronicle our boys’ development from cute newborns to precocious teens without boring our guests in the process.

The author’s bar mitzvah boys. The family is in the final week of preparations for the event.

Masorti Movement In Israel Speaks Out To President Rivlin

Yesterday, the Masorti Movement for Conservative Judaism in Israel sent a letter to Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, signed by the leaders of every major Conservative Jewish organization, urging him to reconsider the cancellation of a bar and bat mitzvah ceremony for children with disabilities.

The mayor of Rehovot, Israel had cancelled the bar mitzvah last month because it was taking place in a Conservative, not Orthodox, synagogue. That move sparked outrage on social media from the progressive Jewish community in Israel and around the world. In response, representatives of the Masorti Movement for Conservative Judaism and officials from the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs worked on a compromise with members of the President of Israel's office. The parents and children were happy with the outcome and it seemed like the ceremony was set to take place.

Not So Special: My Bar Mitzvah Year, 50 Years Later

In 1965, the phrase “special needs” hadn’t yet been coined. I felt just like the other 15 students — excited about our Bar Mitzvahs, but bored by the four hours of preparation each week.

Bar Mitzvah Singer Nicki Minaj Tries To Make It Right With The Jews

04/27/2015 - 20:00
Web Editor

Is Nicki Minaj trying to make it right with the Jews? Probably not, but she sure did make a lot of young Jews very happy when she performed at a Bar Mitzvah in New York City over the weekend.

"Get a load of these little hunks I met last night @ the Bar Mitzvah

A Camp, A Bar Mitzvah And A Family's Respite

They say that it takes a village to raise a child.  I say that it takes a village… and a synagogue or three, an edah (Amitzim) and a family camp (Ohr Lanu) at Machaneh Ramah and a loving, supportive family.

On Sunday, October 12, 2014, my son, Jacob Gruen, became a Bar Mitzvah at age 13 at Adat Ari El in Valley Village, CA.  He led the Sh’ma, received his talit and blessed it, carried the torah, had an aliyah and read the torah, marched with a lulav and an etrog and said the Kiddush. He also sang a number of songs, including a solo of Adamah B'Shamayim (which he first learned at Camp Ramah) with his Kolot Tikvah choir led by Cantor Michael Stein of Temple Aliyah.  To many, this would not seem extraordinary.  However, Jacob has autism, which manifests in him as moderate speech and social deficits and academic delays.

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