bnai mitzvah

When Your Values Don't Align, Vote With Your Feet

09/10/2013
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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Over the past seven years, my family and I have made an almost bi-annual trek to Minneapolis when my niece and nephew and nephew became bat and bar mitzvahs. Our family of four was always deeply appreciative that these events were never held during the state’s infamous winters.

We were also thrilled that friends and family from coast to coast made the voyage to honor these special occasions. And while our kids eagerly looked forward to the parties that followed the service,  my husband Michael and I excitedly anticipated our favorite part of the service, when my brother Scott and sister-in-law Debra addressed their child personally, passionately and yes, sometimes playfully, from the bimah.

This tradition brought tears to our eyes and joy to our hearts. This tradition made each bar and bat mitzvah unique and intimate. And this tradition is not permitted in our synagogue.

Deborah Grayson Riegel

So Much Loss

06/01/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

It’s been a strange period of time. We rabbis are used to having many different types of lifecycle events throughout the month. We ride along the continuum of a human life, understanding that funerals are balanced by baby-namings, and that B’nai Mitzvah will hopefully lead to beautiful weddings under a chuppah. We visit sick congregants in the hospital, and hope to welcome just as many healed congregants back into our synagogues’ walls.

Rabbi Marci N. Bellows
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