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BAR/BAT MITZVAH

Jewish Standard S-3

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2018
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Jewish Standard S-3

The cantor’s daughter..................................... 4


A mother beams from beyond the bima

Legacy gifts..................................................... 6
Meaningful presents for the b’nei mitzvah

The joy of the process..................................... 8


How I loved planning my daughter’s bat mitzvah

Space goes to your space............................... 9


Event company launches an off-site division

Why I cried at your bar mitzvah................... 10


A mother’s revelations as her boy becomes a man

Fash bash for the big mitzvah....................... 11


Mitzvah on Masada....................................... 12
Tour group offers memorable Israel trip and ceremony
Places and spaces.......................................... 13        
Area venues give parties pizzazz
Cover photo by Joanne DiStasi of Stolen Moments, Inc.

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The family gathers for Jordana Fergang’s bat mitzvah

The cantor’s daughter


at Temple Beth Rishon in Wyckoff. From left: her
mother, Cantor Barbra Lieberstein, brother Joshua
Fergang, maternal grandmother Gloria Lieberstein,
Jordana, sister Sara Fergang, and father, Scott Fergang.
Joanne DiStasi of Stolen Moments, Inc.

A mother beams from beyond the bima


Heidi MaE Bratt Lieberstein, who had invited many of her the service.” family struck a more Conservative note

P
cantor colleagues to the bat mitzvah. “She For her part, Jordana, who dances with in their Jewish practice, they joined Beth
oised, pretty and bedecked practically did the whole service. This a company when she’s not in school, hav- Tefillah during the 1970s, and Ms. Lieber-
in a beautiful black and pink was my last opportunity, my last child, ing her mother as tutor was great. stein described it as a very “heimish and
dress, Jordana Fergang per- and my baby. And, this is our last simcha “I think it was a lot easier being taught warm” place that welcomed her family:
formed with aplomb. Stand- for a while. I wanted her to be spectacu- by my mother than by someone else,” Jor- her father the late Melvin Lieberstein, her
ing before family and friends lar. And she was.” dana said. “It wasn’t as nerve-wracking. My mother, Gloria, and her sister Rochelle,
at Temple Beth Rishon in The day was a proud one for the whole mother helped with highlighting and color- who is five years older.
Wyckoff, the seventh grader at Eric Smith family, father Scott Fergang, who runs coding everything. It just made it easier. Her bat mitzvah took place when she
Middle School presided over the Shab- the Paramus wealth management broker- “It was also laid-back and chill. I could was 12 years old. It was Sunday, Labor
bat services. She led the prayer services, age firm for Royal Bank of Canada, and be on my bed in my room and we could Day weekend, she recalled. She chanted
chanted from the Torah, and read the 13-year-old Jordana’s siblings, twins Sara study. She’s my mom and I wasn’t nervous the “Ve’ahavta” prayer, one of the great
whole haftorah. and Joshua, nearly 16. around her. And if I would forget some- basic principles of the Torah “to love
It was a moment of great pride for her The service was presided over by Con- thing, she was right there to ask for help. your fellow as yourself,” spoke about the
tutor, Cantor Barbra Lieberstein. gregation Beth Rishon’s interim Rabbi Ste- A lot of kids don’t have that advantage. She significance of a bat mitzvah and, follow-
It was a moment of great pride for her phen Wylen and Cantor Ilan Mamber. would be there and that made it easier.” ing the service, joined the 75 people at
mother, Cantor Barbra Lieberstein. Tutoring your own daughter is not Jordana acknowledged that it sometimes her party, which took place at The Wom-
“She did phenomenal,” said Ms. Lieber- exactly like tutoring other students, said wasn’t that easy. en’s Club of Paramus for a luncheon with
stein, a popular bar and bat mitzvah tutor, Ms. Lieberstein. “It is a challenge,” she said. “You need musical entertainment.
best known as “Cantor Barbra,” who had “It’s obviously different tutoring your to practice. It’s not easy to make a 12- or “It was really a no-frills affair,” Ms.
the opportunity to teach her own daugh- own child,” she said. “I think there are 13-year-old practice so much, but I did.” Lieberstein said.
ter and prepare her for her recent bat more expectations for her. I definitely Ms. Lieberstein remembered her own Musical from a young age, Ms. Lieber-
mitzvah where she recited the Torah por- think I was a little harder on her than my bat mitzvah, which was held at her fam- stein played the piano, clarinet and flute,
tion Lech Lecha. other students because I am a cantor and ily’s synagogue, the Orthodox Congrega- and she sang. In fact, her name Barbra
“People were so impressed,” said Ms. I knew I would have colleagues coming to tion Beth Tefillah in Paramus. While the – note the missing “a” – was for Barbra
Jewish Standard S-5

Streisand.
“Yes, my mother and father named me
for her,” said Ms. Lieberstein “I enjoyed
performing,” and at her bat mitzvah, Ms.
Lieberstein played the piano and sang Barry
Manilow songs to entertain her guests.
The bat mitzvah was a Jewish girl’s rite
of passage, but at that time she had no
idea about what in fact would become her
life’s work. “I didn’t know how women
could become cantors. I grew up in an
Orthodox synagogue where women were
speaking, sometimes just chatting, behind
the mechitza.”
After graduating Paramus High School,
Ms. Lieberstein attended William Pater-
son College, where she studied music

Joanne DiS tasi of Stole n M ome nts, Inc.


management. She thought that she might
work in arts administration. It wasn’t
until she attended a Passover Seder dur-
ing her college years and someone at the
table suggested that she consider becom-
ing a cantor that the thought took hold. A
trip to Israel with her parents soon there-
after deepened her connection to Juda-
ism and her journey began. She joined
the choral society at Temple Emanuel,
which was in Paterson at the time, now Barbra Lieberstein, left, and Scott, Sara, and Joshua Fergang watch as Jordana blows out the bat mitzvah candles.
Temple Emanuel of North Jersey in
Franklin Lakes.
Singing on Friday nights in the beautiful
sanctuary with is high ceilings and beau-
tiful stained glass deepened her desire to
pursue liturgical music and she sought out
her training in earnest. She studied with
the late Rabbi Joseph Rudavsky, who was
the rabbi emeritus of Temple Avodot Sho-
lom in River Edge. Cantor Barbra received
her ordination in 1998 from The Academy
for Jewish Religion, a pluralistic seminary
for rabbis and cantors in New York City.
She is also certified through the American
Conference of Cantors (Reform) and the
Cantors Assembly. (Conservative). She is
a member of the Women’s Cantors Net-
work and had sung with the NJ Cantors
Concert Ensemble.
The work came. She served as a canto-
rial intern and became the cantor in sev-
eral synagogues including Beth Haverim
Shir Shalom, a Reform Congregation in
Mahwah, where she served from 2002 to
Barbra Lieberstein is flanked by her parents, Gloria and the late Melvin, at Barbra Lieberstein with her older sister,
2006. At that time she already had twins,
her bat mitzvah. Rochelle Stern.
Sara, and Joshua, nearly 16, and Jordana
was just a toddler. started advertising on craigslist and got a just right for their big day. As for her own bat mitzvah, Jordana
She left the pulpit “because I wanted to few students. She launched her website in “I am a perfectionist,” she said. said that while she was “so nervous about
watch them grow up.” 2009 and business picked up. She tutors students in their homes in the service and nervous about the party”
From there, Ms. Lieberstein worked as Today, Ms. Lieberstein is so busy that Bergen and Rockland counties, and has she felt very good about what she accom-
preschool music teacher in a few religious she has a staff of 10 tutors who help her conducted lessons by Skype or Facetime. plished in the synagogue that day.
schools. During that time she received a prepare b’nei mitzvah students. But she Typically, she uses the Reform liturgy for “I don’t think that there was anything
call from a former congregant who needed still is very hands on. She meets with the Shabbat morning or Havdalah services, better that I could have done,” Jordana
help in preparing her daughter for her family and the student and comes in dur- but she has also performed in a Recon- said about her bat mitzvah at Beth Ris-
bat mitzvah. So Ms. Lieberstein began to ing the last six weeks before the bar or bat structionist synagogue setting and has also hon. “And I think that definitely it was all
tutor her. She enjoyed it so much that she mitzvah to make sure that everything is done Conservative Havdalah services. because of my mom.”
S-6 Jewish Standard WINTER 2018 BAR/BAT MITZVAH

Legacy gifts
adds meaning to the experience and expands the relation- she asked about or played with during visits? That could
ship between the recipient and the giver in a healthy way. be the perfect gift. Is there something that symbolizes a
turning point in your own life that carries an important
Creating legacy gifts story and that you can give over as a sacred trust? This
Many items in life can become legacy gifts. Even if giving might become the cornerstone of a mentoring moment
a check has to happen because it’s customary or sorely that will long resound within the student’s memory. You
Meaningful presents needed, also consider creating a
special moment to give something
might also find a novel or nonfiction work that relates to
your point. You can then inscribe it, and give it to the bar
for the b’nei mitzvah personal and uniquely memorable.
Start by looking into the contents
or bat mitzvah student as a personal resource to hold on
to until it is fully needed. Jason’s paternal grandfather
of your life. Are there pictures of died before Jason could remember him. His Aunt Wendy
Rabbi Goldie Milgram
great grandparents or other ances- brought him one of his grandfather’s leather books of

D
aniel went home and tors that you can frame with a dedi- poems by Walt Whitman; complete with notes Jason’s
unwrapped his bar mitzvah cation plaque giving their names grandfather had handwritten in the margins when he was
presents. His mom found and dates in honor of the bar or bat young. The inside cover contained a dedication showing
him sitting dolefully amid the mitzvah? Do you have stories about that Jason’s grandfather had received the book as a bar
crumpled wrapping paper and open them to share in a one-to-one meet- mitzvah present from his father. To Jason, this book is
envelopes. He was surrounded by ing with the bar or bar mitzvah stu- the greatest treasure he’s ever received. Allison’s grand-
many high quality watches, several dent? Also write down the stories mother noticed a beaded drawstring bag in the back of
personal music and game players, in your gift note or mount them on her closet. She had the bag repaired and added the words
assorted games, 12 gift certificates, the back of the picture. Allison’s tallit bag in beadwork. She presented Allison with
Brilliantly colorful Ethiopian embroi-
and 36 checks. She wondered at his Consider the picture together the tallit bag at the party, with stories about some of the
dered bags depicting scenes from the
mood and asked: “What’s wrong, with the student. Gifts become events that the bag had been through with her. Jenny’s
Torah make a meaningful gift for the
son?” Daniel’s answer: “I don’t know more meaningful to the recipient cousin obtained Hadassah and Life magazines from the
bar or bat mitzvah.
mom, but somehow this is disappoint- by the manner in which we convey day Jenny was born, thirteen years before that, and thir-
ing. This stuff just doesn’t mean anything to me.” Daniel is them. Together, notice details of teen years before that. As the cousins pored over the mag-
absolutely right. There are many ways to give bar/bat mitz- dress, similarities perhaps between the students and the azines together, they were amazed at the kinds of adver-
vah gifts that can touch a person’s spirit, not just by way ancestor(s); if you can, explain the period in which the tising events, and social changes they read about. Alice’s
of a charitable organization. There is nothing wrong and photo was taken. Is there something around your home mom helped her encase these magazines in sturdy plastic
everything right with receiving a physical gift so long as it that has always fascinated the student? Something he or covers to preserve this unique gift for future generations.

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Jewish Standard S-7

Adam’s neighbor discovered that Adam loves science fic- dates, correspond, and one day even to meet. The legacy on the special occasions of a person’s life cycle that take
tion. On-line at JewishLights.com he found a series of Jew- of friendship is a very powerful gift indeed. (For informa- place at the Torah. Traditionally, these would be started in
ish science-fiction books and gave Adam three as his gift, tion, contact the North American Conference on Ethio- honor of a birth, and the fabric would be derived from the
with the suggestion that they both read and discuss the pian Jewry at NOCOEJ.org.) baby’s swaddling cloth. The belt is made up of multiple
works. One story discussed whether a nonhuman alien panels and is perhaps six inches wide. As each major life-
could convert to Judaism. This problem captured Adam’s Special activities as gifts cycle event arrives, each panel of the belt gets decorated
curiosity and led them into a whole new level of explora- Consider some activities that you can do together to pri- in fabric paint or embroidery with the birth date, name of
tion. Kerri’s tutor had a big surprise for her. She picked up vately honor this special time. Ben’s uncle gook him to the child, symbols, and a verse from that week’s Torah por-
a plain beige kippah at the Judaica store and with fabric steam room at the Jewish community center and proudly tion or blessing. Antique and contemporary examples are
paint made a scene of Jerusalem on one half and an image introduced him to the men who gather there after the on view at many Jewish museums. Another collaborative
of an open Torah scroll on the other half. Then, with a men’s weekly bagels-and-lox brunch. They joyfully wel- craft project is creating a Judaic blessing quilt. One per-
permanent marker, she wrote a verse from Kerri’s Torah comed him and shared stories of their own b’nei mitz- son sends squares of fabric to friends with instructions
portion on the open scroll and Kerri’s name in the very vah. Sarah’s mom took her to the Judaica shop to select a to return the decorated square in honor of the person’s
center of the kippah. On the inside she wrote, “Love to my set of candlesticks of her own to light every Friday night. simcha. Nadine, the yoga partner of Talia’s mom, decided
fantastic student forever — your tutor, Dona. She told Sara a secret, that whenever she lights candles, her gift would be to coordinate such a project. Not being
Many Ethiopian Jews participated in an embroidery she senses the presence of her own mother of blessed a quilter herself, she took the squares she had received
project to raise money for food, health care, and educa- memory. Also, when she blesses Sara, she senses her own from participants to a professional for assembly. Squares
tion, before their immigration to Israel. Their high qual- mother’s hands upon her head. Kate, his mother’s best can be decorated with just about any-thing: fabric mark-
ity, brilliantly colored tallitot and tallit and pillow covers friend, brought Max to a ceramics studio so that they could ers, buttons, necklace charms, and shells. Messages from
interpret many Torah portions; their mezuzot also make make a challah plate together in honor of his bar mitzvah. Torah, qualities about the student’s life, or blessings can
stunning legacy presents and support their education On the back of the plate, Kate wrote a special signed mes- be added, too. Some even sew in tiny music chips so
and training in Israel. Ari’s classmates and their parents sage for her heart that was sealed there for every Shab- that a melody will emerge when the curious push on the
got together to acquire the series of Ethiopian pillow cov- bat to come. Blaine’s grandmother is an excellent needle squares.
ers as a present for him. This proved to be so special that worker. When she learned about a German Jewish nee-
many classmates are hoping the same gift will be coming dlework tradition called whimple, she and Blaine agreed From “Reclaiming Bar/Bat Mitzvah as a Spiritual Rite of
their way, too. It is also possible to twin with an Ethiopian that making one together would be very memorable. The Passage” by Rabbi Goldie Milgram (Reclaiming Judaism Press).
Jewish immigrant to Israel, to share bar or bat mitzvah whimple involves creating a Torah belt, to be used only Reprinted with permission.
S-8 Jewish Standard WINTER 2018 BAR/BAT MITZVAH

The joy of the process


interfere with their special day. Therefore, The candle-lighting ceremony is a tradi-
I tried to get everything out of the plan- tion at many bar and bat mitzvah celebra-
ning process so that if the unexpected hap- tions where the family chooses 13 differ-
pened, I could still say that my daughter’s ent people or families to honor by calling
bat mitzvah was wonderful. them up to the cake to light a candle. Many
How I loved planning my daughter’s bat mitzvah 2. Create a meaningful theme
families write poems as a way to call up the
people who are honored.
We decided to have a “girl power” theme During the car ride, we all worked
Amy Alpert certainly am nothing close to a party plan-
for the party. We found this theme to be together as a team to come up with clever,
ner), I was nervous that I would not love

O
inspiring and satisfying. We created the funny, loving poems for the special people
ne of the happiest times in my life planning the celebration that followed the
logo “Go For It!” with the idea that you in our lives. We laughed about funny sto-
was planning my daughter Gabri- service. But I have to admit, I loved the
should try new things. We wanted the mes- ries we recollected and felt connected to
elle’s bat mitzvah. Many people process.
sage to be that it’s not about being success- our larger community. When it came time
find this shocking. I was a little Here are five ways you might love it, too.
ful or perfect; rather, it’s about being brave for Gabrielle to write her poem introduc-
bit shocked, myself. Planning a bar or bat
1. Set an intention to love it and putting yourself out there. Gabrielle’s ing my husband Gideon and me, she called
mitzvah is stressful on many levels. It is
logo was a picture of a girl with a cape and my sister and worked on the poem with
expensive and it is time consuming with The first thing I did was to buy a bracelet
a ponytail, and we incorporated girl power her over the phone — thus another oppor-
numerous deadlines. But most of all, it is from my sisterhood gift shop — a bracelet
into the event any way we could. tunity to connect.
challenging because all of these things are that said “Joy” on one side and “Simcha”
Creating a theme with a message you
happening while managing a hormonal on the other side (the Hebrew word for
believe in is so satisfying and brings a 4. Connect with your friends
adolescent. joy). This was my reminder that this is a
I knew from the start that I would love joyous occasion and to let go of anything
deeper meaning to the party. Our hope and extended family before
was that the girl power message created a the big day
helping my daughter prepare for the ser- that steals the joy.
positive and inspiring environment to cel- I knew that conversations would be quick
vice. I loved hearing Gabrielle hum her In addition, I knew I could not be miser-
ebrate in together. during the actual day of the event. There
haftarah portion as she walked around the able during the process with the expecta-
house, and I was inspired when we worked tion the wonderful day would make it all would be over 200 people there, so there
3. Involve the whole family was no way I would be able to have the
on her d’var Torah together. In addition, I worth it; as we all know, life is unpredict-
Over our holiday break before the bat deep meaningful conversations I prefer
loved preparing to read a Torah portion able. My older brother was sick for his bar
mitzvah we took a three-hour car ride with each of my friends and loved ones.
myself during her service. But as someone mitzvah, my cousin had girl drama at hers,
together as a family. During the ride we So I made an effort to connect with people
who does not really love big parties (and I and plenty of people have had weather
wrote the candle-lighting poems together.

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Jewish Standard S-9

throughout the process. We asked our guests to RSVP 5. Get help my priorities (that the event be wonderful and meaningful
via email (rather than mail in a response card), and this I was blessed with an amazing community of support- while having fun in the process) was essential. Stay away
inspired conversations. Someone I hadn’t spoken to in ers who helped us prepare. My friend and party planner from competitive or negative people during this time.
a while would RSVP over email and then I would reply Dayna seemed as excited about the special day as I was. There is too much to be grateful for.
back, starting a conversation that wouldn’t have hap- She would text me pictures of ideas and, as the event got In the end, the day was amazing, but it was no more
pened otherwise. closer, the excitement grew. We had fabulous Hebrew special to me than the planning process. Feeling grateful,
A year before the bat mitzvah, Gideon emailed some tutors for my daughter and our synagogue in general acknowledging a milestone, connecting with my family
long-time friends so they were sure to put it in the calen- shared the excitement with me. Even though they have and larger community, and learning and sharing positive
dar. The side benefit to that was that the email chain con- dozens of b’nei mitzvah students each year, they made us messages are all meaningful Jewish values, and our bat
tinued throughout the year. Many stories and inside-jokes feel special. Everyone’s enthusiasm was contagious, and mitzvah year reflected that.
were shared and recollected, allowing us all to laugh and it made the planning all the more special. Reprinted with permission of
share together through cyberspace. Surrounding myself with positive people who shared
Kveller.com, the Jewish parenting website.

Space goes to your space


Event company launches
an off-site division
Heidi Mae Bratt
First there was Space Odys-
sey, the 26,000-square-
foot destination for kids’
birthday parties. Then (and
now) there is Space Events,
a grown-up version of party
creation with sophistica-
tion. And now, Elvira Grau, Elvira and Jim Grau
owner of Space, and her son, Alec Sikar, are launch-
ing a division of what they already do at their home
base in Englewood, an off-premise party a al Space
Events.
Space Events Off Premise will take Space into your
space.
The new venture, said Ms. Grau whose own rags-to-
riches story reads like a Russian novel — she was a Rus-
sian immigrant who moved from Ukraine to Brook-
lyn at 9 and remembers how exciting it was when her
family received food for Shabbos — was born out of
necessity.
Space Events, said Ms. Grau who is married to Jim
Grau, her business partner, is booked until 2020.
Clients wanted in. There was no space at Space, so
she is giving them what they want. She came up with
the idea to bring everything that Space provides to
any suitable off-premise location.
“There are more Jewish people than available
dates,” she quipped. “And that’s a good thing.”
With the new Space Events Off Premise, “we can
take everything, soup to nuts on the road,” said Ms.
Grau. That includes all event design, production,
planning and entertainment. “We own everything
and have everything from the DJs to the dancers to
the graphics to the LED furniture. We have it all. We
can build and produce everything. We are the source.
It’s like a law firm. If you need a lawyer, we’ll get you
a lawyer.”
Ms. Grau, who appeared on Bravo’s reality show,
“The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” said that it’s a
privilege to create and help people with their simchas.
“They are trusting me with their milestones,” said
Grau, a mother of four. “It’s an honor and a merit for
me to do that.” www.thejewishstandard.com
S-10 Jewish Standard WINTER 2018 BAR/BAT MITZVAH

Why I cried at your bar mitzvah


A mother’s revelations as her boy becomes a man
Rachel Levy Lesser thought back to our family vacation nearly a year ago when
I listened from the slightly ajar door in the adjoining hotel

O
n the Sunday evening after our son’s bar mitzvah, room as you struggled to put together the words to the
the bar mitzvah boy turned to me over brunch left- Hebrew prayers you were studying. I stayed up late that
overs served as dinner and very honestly and curi- night wondering if you would be able to pull it all together
ously asked me, “Mom, how come you cried at my and become a bar mitzvah. How wrong I was back then,
bar mitzvah?” and how good it felt to see that before my very own eyes.
I tried as best as I could on the spot to explain to my I cried at your bar mitzvah for all the people we love
boy-turned-man what I was feeling at services the previ- who gathered together that morning for a truly happy
ous morning. I gave him a rather canned answer — some- occasion. When Dad and I stood next to you on the bima
thing about loving him and being proud of him and miss- looking out to the seats below, my mind was flooded with
ing my own mother. He nodded and later that night went countless memories of the people who filled them — peo-
back to the business of being a 13-year-old boy checking ple who have been a part of your life, of my life, of dad’s
fantasy football scores, Snapchat messages, and finishing life for so many years. I thought of the birthday parties,
up his homework. the soccer games, the funny stories, and all the laughs we
As the days and weeks have passed since his bar mitzvah, shared together. I also recalled the sleepless nights, the
I’ve had more time to process that question. Here’s my real long talks, and the tears that we shared with those very — your namesake who you never knew. I imagined how
answer for him, or at least as best as I can figure it out: same people. I felt a bit like I was floating outside of my much he would have loved to know you and what joy you
I cried at your bar mitzvah for the pride that made my own body, seeing so many people I love in one place — all would have brought to his life. I comforted myself know-
heart swell. As I sat below you in our synagogue seats, for you and for our family. ing that he lived a long and full life, still realizing that no
watching you lead the service with such ease and confi- I cried at your bar mitzvah for the people we love who matter how long we have the people we love, it’s never
dence, I felt prouder of you than I had ever felt before. I are no longer with us. I thought of your great-grandfather See why i cried page 14

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Jewish Standard S-11 New launch from the creators of
Space Events providing clients with all inclusive,
over-the-top party experiences for 12 years.
Fash bash for the big mitzvah Space Events Off Premise
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S-12 Jewish Standard WINTER 2018 BAR/BAT MITZVAH

Mitzvah on Masada
Tour group offers memorable Israel trip and ceremony
Heidi Mae Bratt

M
asada and its dramatic natural beauty overlook-
ing the Dead Sea is a rugged natural fortress on
which the Judean King Herod the Great con-
structed a sumptuous palace complex in clas-
sical Roman style. After Judea became a province of the
Roman Empire, it was the refuge of the last survivors of
the Jewish revolt, who chose death rather than slavery
when the Roman besiegers broke through their defenses.
As such, it has an emblematic value for the Jewish people,
and Masada has become a must-see stop for tourists and
visitors to Israel.
Several times a year this quiet and symbolic site of Jew-
ish fortitude, resolve, and sacrifice becomes the grounds
on which many teens and their families gather to celebrate
the young men and women’s b’nei mitzvahs, courtesy of
Margaret Morse Tours.
The Masada-top b’nei mitzvah ceremony, a highlight
of the two-week heritage-rich tour, is presided over by a
rabbi, and the youngsters have been prepped for their
big event in Israel. The b’nei mitzvah, held on Mondays
or Thursdays to coincide with the Torah reading, comes a
good week into the tour so the young men and women and
their families, and others who have joined the tour, are all
comfortable and familiar with each other.
“It is a serene and magnificent setting,” said Robyn
Morse, owner of the Hallandale, Florida-based tour com-
pany. Following the b’nei mitzvah ceremony, the group Members of the Margaret Morse Tours enjoy themselves during a visit to the Western Wall.
visits the Dead Sea, and then continue the celebration at a
gala party at a five-star hotel in Jerusalem, said Ms. Morse. The tour operation was founded by her late grand- grandmother, Margaret, the idea to launch the bar and
“There’s nothing more wonderful or meaningful than mother, Margaret, who was 67 and retired, and enjoying bat mitzvah tours.
experiencing Israel like this,” said Ms. Morse, who co-owns life with her third husband, when she took a trip to Israel The two-week tours span the country north to south,
the company with her brother Michael. in 1980. with stops in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Upper Galilee, Jerusalem, and
“She just fell in love,” said Ms. Morse of her grand- if desired, an add-on option for Eilat.
mother’s attraction to Israel, the land, and its people. “Margaret Morse is strictly an Israel tour operator,” Ms.
Margaret came out of retirement and created the tour Morse said. “Israel is too complex a country that having a
Cantor company, which has been shepherding groups to Israel professional and knowledgeable guide will help to give you

Barbra for three generations. In fact, it was Michael Morse’s bar


mitzvah in Israel when he was 13 in 1985 that gave his
a full and great experience.”
Ms. Morse said that there is still availability for summer
0002441714-01.qxd Lieberstein
10/15/08 5:09 PM Page 1 tour departures on June 9, July 21, July 31 and August 14.

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Jewish Standard S-13

Places and spaces SUITS

Area venues give parties pizzazz


Heidi Mae Bratt
The Edgewood Country Club in River Vale has a storied
past. Once member-owned and exclusive, it is now plan- FIRST PLACE
ning for an exciting and expansive future. MEN’S SHOP
Under new private ownership since 2015, Edgewood
has undergone an extensive renovation that has taken the
facility to a level of “a New York hotel at a resort,” said The finest selection of
Candice Timmerman, event coordinator and sales direc- Italian designer men’s &
tor for the country club.
The main building boasts a ballroom, cocktail area, pri- boy’s suits, sport jackets,
vate wine room, state-of-the-art fitness center, kids enter-
tainment section and more. The spacious ballroom can
coats, car coats, pants,
be expanded through a retractable wall and can host up sweaters, shirts, ties,
to 450 guests, the perfect venue for many types of events,
including weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, and other shoes & accessories.
galas. Built in are all the state-of-the-art entertainment
must-haves, including all uplighting, audio and video
equipment, and projectors needed to enhance a simcha,
said Ms. Timmerman. Visit the
Opened with its first event on May 13, 2017, Edgewood SHOES
already has been the site for b’nei mitzvahs. Boy’s Store
“The space is designed with a lot of flexibility so there
are different options,” said Ms. Timmerman. “It is abso- at Emporio
lutely gorgeous, modern and young. It has a great vibe.
Everything is here, so there is not much to do with the
décor because it’s already here.
“We want to be the spot to host any type of personal or
social event.”
At Powerhouse Studios in Paramus there is no need to
plan a bar or bat mitzvah a la carte by hiring a DJ, photo
booth, decorator and the sort, said owner Sam Pellegrino. Scarpa
“This is a one-stop shop,” Mr. Pellegrino said. “Every-
thing you need is here. The venue has the entertainment
themes, such as arcades, casinos, and photo booths.
There is the music; the emcees, and the dancers are all
included,” he said.
For catering, there are also kosher options, or outside
caterers could come in.
“Our atmosphere creates excitement for the overall
event,” Mr. Pellegino said. Powerhouse Studios is hosting
an open house and party showcase on Sunday, January
28, from 1 to 3 p.m. It is located at 49 E. Midland Ave. in BORO PARK: FLATBUSH: LONG ISLAND: LAKEWOOD: TEANECK:
Paramus. 5020 13th Avenue 1505 Coney Island Ave. 467 Central Avenue 1700 Madison Ave. 215 W. Englewood Ave.
For an active and exciting party, Urban Air Trampoline
718.972.4665 718.676.7706 516.295.5006 732.987.9480 201.530.7300
and Adventure Park in South Hackensack is the perfect Sunday & Legal Holidays 10-6 Sunday & Legal Holidays 10-6 Sunday & Legal Holidays 10-6 Sunday & Legal Holidays 10-6 Mon-Thurs 10-9
place for family fun, birthday parties, and group or cor- Mon-Wed 10-7
Thurs 10-8, Fri 10-2
Mon-Wed 10-7
Thurs 10-9, Fri 10-2
Mon, Tues & Thurs 10-7
Wed 10-9, Fri 10-2
Mon-Thurs 10-7
Fri 10-1:30
Fri 10-2
Closed Sunday
porate events. The wall-to-wall trampolines offer several
activity areas, including trampoline basketball, trampo-
line dodgeball, foam pit, fitness classes, and more. Urban
Air Indoor Trampoline Parks are suitable for all ages and
fitness levels.
For more physical fun with a party, Lucky Strike in
Events & Celebrations
West Nyack provides an exciting time for groups of all
February 23rd
ages, with kid and teen friendly amenities including 12 Corporate Events · Team Building
premium lanes, six competition ready billiards tables,
and an intimate game room complete with air hockey
Fundraising · New Baby · Sweet Sixteens
and roller ball. Additionally, Lucky Strike features huge Birthdays · Proms · Graduations
projectors and plasma TVs, streaming MLB, NBA, NFL
and others around the clock. Deadline February 15 · 201-837-8818 x 121
Jewish Standard S-14

Why I cried we were to be able to be there right


from page 10 then. As I watched you read from the
long enough. I cried for your grand- Torah — the very same one that I read
mother, my late mother, who did not from when I was 13, as did my father
have the long life I wish she had. I felt and many other family members — I
cheated for me, for you, and for her. felt a connection to the sacred scroll.
I thought of something that a loved I cried at your bar mitzvah for the
one told me that weekend — how my passage of time. When the service
mother, more than anything, did not was nearly complete and I listened to
want to leave us — how she would have the rabbi bless you, I saw a tall young
given anything to be able to see you man before me and wondered who

SCREEN PRINTING PARTY FAVORS

EMBROIDERIES
that day, tall and poised and in charge. that was. I flashed back to images of
I have felt the bitterness of her loss on toddler you on that same bima cele-
School & Camp Apparel so many occasions, but on this one brating your nursery school Shabbat
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so much more than I could have ever holding a stuffed toy Torah, dancing

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I cried at your bar mitzvah for the
around with your friends. I wished
for a moment that we could go back in
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I came back to reality and realized that

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Although I grew up a rather secular I will soon see you, the tall young man,
Jew, attending services on the High grow even taller, that your time living

IS US Holy Days and the occasional Shab-


bat, I felt so lucky that we could be in
in our house is not forever.
I thought about how I want to pro-

CORPORATE GIFTS CUSTOM TEES our synagogue that morning practicing tect you from everything but also how
a long-held tradition of our people. I I can’t — how I will need to let you go
AND ALL APPAREL thought of Jews of generations past more and more.
who fought for their religious freedom, And so I will, and so I cried.
836 Palisade Avenue Teaneck, NJ 07666 201-530-5046 those who perished because of their Reprinted with permission by Kveller.
bruce@embroideriesunlimited.com www.embroideriesunlimited.com religion, and I recognized how lucky com, the Jewish parenting website.

Book Centerpieces
with a heart
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Sweet 16
Corporate event
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Centerpiece proceeds fund Bergen Reads,


providing reading buddies to local public
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Jewish Federation
OF NORTHERN NEW JERSEY

For information on rental pricing


and customizing, please contact
Beth | bethf@jfnnj.org | 201-820-3947
C
CAAT
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RSS
4Sixty6 Caterers is a unique, non-traditional, all-inclusive event venue. With a
4Sixty6 Caterers is a unique, non-traditional, all-inclusive event venue. With a
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From Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and Sweet 16's to Birthday Parties and Corporate
From Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and Sweet 16's to Birthday Parties and Corporate
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LEARN MORE ONLINE AT WWW.4SIXTY6CATERERS.COM
466 PROSPECT AVE | WEST ORANGE | NJ | 07052
466 PROSPECT AVE | WEST ORANGE | NJ | 07052
Make your day extraordinary.
AT EDGEWOOD COUNTRY CLUB, we’ll turn your special occasion
into an unforgettable day. Our newly redesigned clubhouse is flexible
for an event of any size, and our talented staff is dedicated to bringing
your vision to life.

FOR YOUR PRIVATE TOUR, CALL CANDICE (201) 666-1200 Ext. 218 EDGEWOODNJ.COM 449 RIVERVALE RD. RIVER VALE, NEW JERSEY