The Cleveland Jewish News
Passage Rites of
B’nai mitzvah represent special and sacred moments in the lives of young Northeast Ohioans and their families
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The Cleveland Jewish News
Passage Rites of
B’nai mitzvah represent special and sacred moments in the lives of young Northeast Ohioans and their families
On the cover: Riley Elizabeth Meyers, center, is joined on the bimah by Cantor Sarah J. Sager and Senior Rabbi Robert A. Nosanchuk on the occasion of her bat mitzvah May 5, 2018, at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple in Beachwood. Photo courtesy of Lindsey Beckwith Photography.
Trailblazing bat mitzvah
Editor Michael C. Butz connects a historic Northeast Ohio bat mitzvah with a proﬁle in this issue of Bar•Bat Mitzvah
What it means to be a man A curriculum-based program helps post-bar mitzvah boys learn how to navigate life and work toward righteousness in the Jewish faith
Bar•Bat Mitzvah // Spring 2019
Ask A Pro
Planning tips from Northeast Ohio professionals about catering, décor, entertainment, photography and synagogues
Northeast Ohioans recall their bar or bat mitzvah – and the preparation that led up to the big day
40 Prioritizing personalization Plan a party that showcases the celebrant’s interests
Entertainment for everyone From rock climbing to whirlyball to laser tag and more, there is no shortage of activity options from which party-planning parents can choose
Superb settings Northeast Ohio is home to many unique locations that can provide just the right backdrop for a teen’s celebration
Commemorative keepsakes Gifts with meaning will continue giving for years to come
PHOTOS BY MAKINGTHEMOMENT.COM
TRAILBLAZING BAT MITZVAH I
n case you missed it, we here in Greater Cleveland recently celebrated the 70th anniversary of the first bat mitzvah held in the region. The local pioneer was Harriet Rosenblatt, who became a bat mitzvah – or bas mitzvah, as it was then called – in front of her congregation March 18, 1949, at Park Synagogue in Cleveland Heights. Fittingly, that milestone anniversary was commemorated March 16 at Park Synagogue, where Rosenblatt, of blessed memory, was honored during the bat mitzvah ceremony of Shayna Berke of Solon. Rosenblatt’s bat mitzvah and the history surrounding it was recently reported on by the Cleveland Jewish News. Reading Rosenblatt’s story – and some related newspaper clippings from the time – leads me to one of the Northeast Ohioans profiled in this issue of Bar•Bat Mitzvah’s Looking Back section, Hedy Milgrom. One of two daughters in her family, Milgrom acknowledged that had she had a brother, she might not have had a bat mitzvah. She wasn’t the first girl at her hometown congregation in Joliet, Ill., to have a bat mitzvah, but Milgrom told us, “It just wasn’t something that the girls were doing back in the late ’50s, early ’60s” – about a decade after Rosenblatt had her bat mitzvah at Park Synagogue. These days, there’s no shortage of bat mitzvah celebrations – or bar mitzvah celebrations, for that matter. In an effort to help families navigate the preparation process, we again have an issue jam-packed with expert advice and insightful tips related to topics such as catering, photography, party planning, décor and more. We also hear from
Northeast Ohio business representatives who weigh in on selecting interesting locations and unique activities that can help make a celebration even more memorable than it already will be. Lastly, in this issue we also learn about Shevet, a national curriculum-based mentorship program organized by the Jewish nonprofit Moving Traditions. Shevet aims to provide post-bar mitzvah boys trying to navigate their new stage in life with a judgmentfree environment in which they can discuss issues they’re facing, promote personal growth, and explore their masculinity and what being Jewish means to them. Rabbi Daniel Brenner, chief of education at Moving Traditions, points out Shevet – which, in a sense, is meant to make mensches out of its young and impressionable participants – preceded the #MeToo movement. Given the recent prominence and prevalence of #MeToo-related cases, though, it seems such a program is now especially salient. There aren’t currently any Shevet chapters in Northeast Ohio, but we feel readers will be interested to learn of efforts taking place elsewhere to strengthen and advance the Jewish community – just as others elsewhere may have read with interest news of a bat mitzvah taking place in Northeast Ohio in 1949.
Read more To read the March 14th CJN story about the first bat mitzvah in Greater Cleveland, visit bit.ly/2CurWX0.
Bar•Bat Mitzvah // Spring 2019
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VOL. 143 NO. 15 CLEVELAND JEWISH NEWS (ISSN-00098825) is published weekly with additional issues in January, March, May, June, August, October, November and December by The Cleveland Jewish Publication Company at 23880 Commerce Park, Suite 1, Cleveland, OH 44122-5380. Single copy $1.25. Periodicals Postage paid at Cleveland, OH., and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER and additional mailing offices. Send address changes to the Cleveland Jewish News, 23880 Commerce Park, Suite 1, Cleveland, OH 44122-5380
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Left photo © New Image Photography Right photo © Dennis Crider Photography
Northeast Ohioans remember their bar or bat mitzvah
Senior development officer Jewish Federation of Cleveland From left, Hedy Milgrom’s mother, Pearl Pufeles; her younger sister, Marlene; Hedy; and Marc Pufeles, her father, on the night of her bat mitzvah.
By Jane Kaufman
ad there been a son in the family, Hedy Milgrom probably wouldn’t have had the rite of passage that gave her the confidence and foundation to participate in the Jewish world.
Milgrom, 65, is the elder of two daughters. She grew up in Joliet, Ill., a small town 30 miles southwest of Chicago, at a time and place when it was rare for girls to have bat mitzvahs. Long after her ceremony, her father told her that had she had an older brother, she would not have had one. “When I was in Hebrew school, which was an afternoon Hebrew school in Joliet, I was the only girl in the Hebrew school class,” the Beachwood resident says. “There were certainly girls in Sunday school, but
there were no other girls in Hebrew school. And it just wasn’t something that the girls were doing back in the late ’50s, early ’60s.” Still, Milgrom was not the first girl to become bat mitzvah at her temple, Joliet Jewish Congregation. “My mother was a self-taught cake decorator and baker,” Milgrom recalls, adding she baked cakes for fellow congregants’ b’nai mitvah. “And, so, I have pictures. Our family albums were really pictures of cakes, occasionally there might be pictures of a person.” Whereas bar mitzvahs were
10 Bar•Bat Mitzvah // Spring 2019
held on Saturdays at her synagogue, “Bat mitzvahs were always on Friday night,” she says. “We did a Haftorah, and we did a speech – and that was a bat mitzvah. And then there was a kiddush afterwards.” Long before she was 12, Milgrom learned to read Hebrew. Her father taught her using an “aleph bais book” when she was just 4 or 5 years old. His educating her did not stop there. Each Friday night, he held a Kabbalat Shabbat service prior to dinner, so Milgrom became familiar with the prayers and service. After dinner, she regularly accompanied her father to 8 p.m. services. Milgrom remembers fondly going to the rabbi’s study weekly to prepare. She enjoyed learning trope and looked forward to the day, she says, because she liked singing and performing. For the student of violin, learning the trope came easily. A month before her bat mitzvah, her mother landed in the hospital with a kidney stone and underwent surgery. “With great pains, she made all the pastries,” Milgrom recalls. “She was the one person who could bake for the synagogue. We had a kosher kitchen, and the rabbi allowed her goods to come into the synagogue. So, she made all of the pastries for the kiddush and she made me a magnificent bat mitzvah cake.” On the afternoon of her bat mitzvah, Milgrom’s mother was having her hair done and her father picked up Milgrom and her younger sister from school with the cake in the trunk of the car. “We were stopped at a stop sign a block from the synagogue, and some young kid came to a stop sign, did a 270-degree skid and slammed into our car, and the cake got smashed all over the trunk,” she says. The crash required an emergency room visit for her sister’s bloody nose. “It was all just a mish mosh,” she remembers. “My parents both had
to be on tranquilizers that night because they were so upset about the accident, but more upset about the cake being ruined. “The rabbi made a joke about it from the bimah, something about the fact that, if you want a piece of Hedy’s bat mitzvah cake, you need to go down to Supreme Auto Body with a spoon and dig it out of the trunk,” she recalls. “So, the only person ever, in all of the thousands of cakes my mother made, that never had a cake was me. And that’s what a lot of people remember about my bat mitzvah in my family.” Despite the mishap, Milgrom remembers her bat mitzvah fondly, and over time, the story of the ruined cake has become part of family lore. “I can still see myself standing on the bimah in our old synagogue in Joliet,” she says. When she was in high school, she tutored girls in preparation for their bat mitzvah. While she is deeply moved when she sees adult women becoming bat mitzvah, Milgrom considers herself fortunate to have had an age-appropriate ceremony. Today, she often leads services at B’nai Jeshurun Congregation in Pepper Pike. “For me, that’s part of the reason I love to participate in services,” she said. “I’m a regular at the 7 a.m. Friday morning minyan at B’nai Jeshurun, and I always help lead the service. I substituted for our cantor on occasion when he’s on vacation. I have plenty of opportunities to use my synagogue skills, and to me, that’s really, really meaningful. “My parents gave me the opportunity to become a knowledgeable Jew, and then we sent our children to day school at (Gross) Schechter (Day School in Pepper Pike), and now I have a granddaughter at Schechter. It is the most wonderful circle of life,” she says. “When we talk about Jewish continuity, I feel very blessed that we’re living it.” BM
General manager Jay Honda and Volkswagen of Akron By Jane Kaufman
he youngest child of three, Michael Friedman said he looked forward to his bar mitzvah and enjoyed preparing for it.
He started learning in earnest a full year before the Aug. 13, 1977, event with weekly sessions with Park Synagogue’s Rev. Eli Levy, whom he affectionately called “Rev Lev.” Levy helped more than 3,000 students at Park prepare for their big day. Cantor Elliot J. Portner assisted Rabbi Armond Cohen at the service. Friedman said the whole experience was positive. “There really wasn’t anything bad about it,” remembers Friedman, now 54 and a Beachwood resident. “I know my parents worked hard and spent a lot of money on it, so I wanted to make sure I enjoyed it to the fullest, which I did.” Friedman remembers the day, just after his 13th birthday, was warm and sunny. When he arrived at the main sanctuary of Park Synagogue in Cleveland Heights at the beginning of services, there were a sparse few regular service-goers seated under the synagogue’s
signature dome. His mother was among them. Friedman led much of the three-hour service in Hebrew and felt well-prepared to do so. He said he was aware he was responsible for leading a much greater portion of the service than friends who attended other temples and synagogues. “I loved getting up in front of all those 300 people and performing,” he recalls. “It felt very natural to me and I was very confident. So, I loved that. It was just a great day.” He recalls sitting through his older brother and sister’s bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah and feeling they were “rooting” for him during his. He chanted Torah and Haftorah Machor Chodesh and delivered a speech. “It was about becoming a man and thanking my parents and appreciating where I came from and how fortunate I was being in a great community in Beachwood and how I looked
Michael Friedman with his father, Richard Friedman, at Park Synagogue. forward to making this world a better place and making a difference in the world,” he remembers. “I nailed it.” Friedman had a fresh bar mitzvah haircut and wore a gray three-piece suit for the occasion. The cantor told his parents he had a great voice and ought to consider being a cantor, and that
Friedman was joined by friends on the night of his bar mitzvah at the Theatrical Restaurant in Cleveland. Seated, counterclockwise from left: Laurie Mervis Rozen, Ellen Titlebaum, Matt Ross, Alan Bergman, Ronna Gerson Posta and Amy Schneider Groedel. Standing, from left to right: Steve Chmara, Mitchell Rosen, Larry Riemer, Kenny Kurland and Friedman. 12 Bar•Bat Mitzvah // Spring 2019
comment inspired him to continue singing as an adult, he said. After services, there was an Oneg Shabbat and a luncheon, as well as a dinner party at the Theatrical Restaurant at 711 Vincent Ave., then an anchor of Cleveland’s nightclub scene. Friedman donned a powder blue tuxedo for the party. It was an atypical venue, at least among his friends, he said. Friedman said most of the teens he knew had their parties at the Executive Club in Woodmere. “It was different from everybody else,” he recalls. “I liked that it was outside the box. My father had a relationship with the owner, (Jeffrey) Buddy Spitz. He was a friend of my dad’s.” While Friedman doesn’t remember the menu for the teens at the bar mitzvah, he has a distinct recollection of what the adults were served. “They were serving fillet,” he recalls. “It was like one of the best bar mitzvahs that anyone’s ever gone to. … It was an open bar. It was really, really nice for the adults. It wowed a lot of people.” BM
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Robert A. Nosanchuk
ROBERT A. NOSANCHUK
Senior Rabbi Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple By Jane Kaufman
or Rabbi Robert A. Nosanchuk, a lifelong love of Judaism started under a dome.
Members of Temple Beth Jacob in Pontiac, Nosanchuk’s childhood temple, he and his family frequently manned a booth at Detroit Lions football games, soccer matches and motorcycle events played at the Pontiac Silver Dome in exchange for a portion of the proceeds as a fundraiser. “They always say Judaism begins in the home,” says Nosanchuk, “and mine began at the home of the Detroit Lions.” The affiliation with the stadium was so strong that both of his older brothers held their bar mitzvah parties at the restaurant overlooking the field. Nosanchuk, however, chose a different venue for his 1982 party: Nifty Norman’s Family Tavern in Walled Lake, Mich., which he recalled was a burger bar. In preparation for his bar mitzvah, Nosanchuk was excused from after-school Hebrew classes at his temple because he lived several miles away in West Bloomfield. Instead, he was tutored by a Mr. Lask. “I used to say to my dad, we’re passing three or four perfectly good temples to go to the temple you grew up in,” he recalls. Not only did his father grow up in that temple, Nosanchuk’s grandparents, Dr. Joseph and Betty Nosanchuk, helped found it. That temple merged when he was in high school, and Nosanchuk’s father, Michael, later helped found another temple in the suburbs of Detroit. While Nosanchuk’s great-grandparents were Orthodox, he said his grandfather, Dr. Joseph Nosanchuk, made the decision to practice “a more modern form of Judaism.” “He was a prominent physician, so I think Reform Judaism appealed to his rational, scientific side alongside his steadfast belief in the traditions of Judaism,” Nosanchuk says. “My zadie and bubbe were
both part of the founding generation of that little temple, and then my parents were involved as well in their stage, but it didn’t last … a third generation.” Nosanchuk said Temple Beth Jacob had fewer than 100 families at the time of his bar mitzvah, Thanksgiving weekend in 1982, and because his family was active, he knew the entire congregation. “I’m sure that I chanted the Torah portion,” he recalls, adding that he also read or chanted haftorah. “I don’t remember learning how to chant it. I’m sure that what I did was just memorize the chant of it. I don’t remember if I chanted the haftorah verses or not.” He participated in Friday night services and gave a speech on the morning of his bar mitzvah. The parsha was Vayetze in the book of Genesis, about Jacob’s dream of the ladder. His mother read a poem by Peter Dale Wimbrow Sr. called “The Man in the Looking Glass.” While Nosanchuk doesn’t recall his father’s words, he says he can still see his handwriting and vividly remembers his emotion at the time. “I remember when my dad spoke at my bar mitzvah that it was the first time I saw him cry,” Nosanchuk says. “It doesn’t mean that he wasn’t tender or emotional, but that’s definitely clear to me.” More memorable than his rite of passage, Nosanchuk said, was the 75th anniversary celebration of his great-grandparents the following day. “And, so, after a big celebration of my accomplishments, the next day we celebrated with my greatgrandparents, my dad’s grandparents … with whom I had a relationship,” he remembers. “That’s the first thing that comes to mind is that my bar mitzvah was unique because I had this incredible look
14 Bar•Bat Mitzvah // Spring 2019
Robert A. Nosanchuk with his father, Michael Nosanchuk, on the day of his bar mitzvah. the very next day at the whole … family lineage,” he says. “And what do people mostly talk about at their bar mitzvahs? The coming together with family.” While that may be his most lasting impression, there was another moment in his bar mitzvah that stuck out. Photos from the formal family photo shoot that took place on the day of Nosanchuk’s bar mitzvah were somehow lost or ruined. As a result, subsequent family gatherings entailed photo shoots. “Every several weeks of the rest of the year, I’d have to get all suited up, my hair just right, so we could take more bar mitzvah photos, for like 15 months,” he recalls. “I was already confirmed by the time we had a bar mitzvah photo album.” As a result, Nosanchuk’s bar mitzvah photo album does not represent a specific moment in time. “If you look at the photo album, you know, (between ages) 13 to 14½, (there) is a lot of growth that happens,” he recalls. “I break right out of my bar mitzvah suit and now I’m wearing, like, the suit
my older brother was wearing at my bar mitzvah by the end of it. And I look different by the end of the photo album than I did at the beginning.” Only after Nosanchuk became a bar mitzvah did he begin going to Jewish leadership camp at Camp Kutz in New York. It was there that he first thought about becoming a rabbi, and when he returned home, he worked with a rabbi as a way of exploring his interest. Today, he is dean of faculty at Camp Kutz, and on May 1, Hebrew Union College will award him an honorary doctorate in Jewish nonprofit management in recognition of his 25th anniversary since graduation. Nosanchuk’s father was unable to see Nosanchuk’s son, Zachary, become a bar mitzvah in 2013. “He was in his final months of life,” Nosanchuk recalls. “I feel a sense of responsibility to my dad’s Jewish commitments to carry them forward for my children and to help (deliver) whatever messages I can to my nieces and nephews, my brother’s children.” BM
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WHAT IT MEANS
TO BE A MAN
A curriculum-based program helps post-bar mitzvah boys learn how to navigate life and work toward righteousness in the Jewish faith Story by Michelle Jacobson
16 Barâ€˘Bat Mitzvah // Spring 2019
Illustrations by Lillian Messner
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udaism teaches us we are not created good and we are not created evil, we are created neutral. Therefore, it is our responsibility to struggle with the impulses and learn how to overcome them. This is the message Rabbi Matthew Eisenberg of Temple Israel Ner Tamid in Mayfield Heights exemplifies behind the meaning of being a man. Or, in other words, what it means to be mensch. So, what does it mean to be a man in the Jewish faith? This question, along with several other heavy unknowns, weigh on the minds of many teenage boys who are trying to navigate a new life stage. When young men start high school, they are faced with challenges surrounding fear, anxiety and questions concerning selfidentity, as well as understanding sexuality and how to act on desires. Meanwhile, as they try to find answers, they are surrounded by an often toxic environment filled with aggression and negative attitudes. Seeing there was a need to help teenagers as they transition from boy to man, Moving Traditions – an Elkins Park, Pa.-based Jewish nonprofit that facilitates educational programing for teenagers, including Rosh
Hodesh, which is geared toward girls – launched the Shevet mentorship program. The program’s name stems from “shevet achim gam yachad,” a line chanted in the psalm “Hinei Ma Tov,” which expresses how meaningful it is for brothers to sit together. The program’s goal is to provide a judgment-free space where young men from ages 13 to 18, can come together to open up a dialogue and promote personal growth. “The reason we did that is because we really felt that eighthgrade boys are just starting to be self-reflective in a way where they are thinking about their relationships, thinking about their friendships, thinking about how they are perceived by others, thinking about their relationship to parents in new ways,” says Rabbi Daniel Brenner, chief of education at Moving Traditions.
AHEAD OF THE CURVE Eight years ago, Brenner completed the pilot phase of the program and launched it nationally. Since then, Shevet has expanded to 120 groups around the country, now working with more than 1,300 post-bar mitzvah boys. Shevet is a curriculum-based program led by an adult mentor who discusses topics related to manhood, Jewish study, understanding wisdom, violence, as well as issues around sexism and how to treat women and girls. Topics are selected to reflect the realities boys face as they develop into Jewish adults. By incorporating topics related to the boys’
daily occurrences, the instructors help lay a path toward self-discovery and understanding. It is important to intervene in eighth grade and focus on the topics then, so the boys get a sense of who they want to be, how to meet their needs, how to examine interests, and in some ways, how to explore pleasure without damaging other people, Brenner says. “I really think we were five years ahead of the curve on thinking about how to teach boys about healthy sexuality, pleasure, education and consent,” Brenner says. “It really helped us when two years ago, the #MeToo story started to break. We were already there. We were already working with teen boys, having conversations and doing advanced training for our group leaders.” Most chapters have between eight and 10 boys, depending on the size of the community and synagogue. They meet once a month for two hours, either at a synagogue, local Jewish community center or Jewish day school. The idea is to leave enough time so members don’t feel rushed and they can have a reflective conversation with their mentor, describing what’s going on in their lives. Leaders aim to have a group for a minimum of two years. Making at least a two-year commitment allows the mentors to see what it is like to go through the transition from middle school to high school and watch the boys grow and learn. Seeing that
I really think we were five years ahead of the curve on thinking about how to teach boys about healthy sexuality, pleasure, education and consent. It really helped us when two years ago, the #MeToo story started to break. We were already there. We were already working with teen boys, having conversations and doing advanced training for our group leaders. Rabbi Daniel Brenner Chief of education, Moving Traditions Spring 2019 // Bar•Bat Mitzvah 17
After having a bar mitzvah, it’s time for a 13-year-old boy to establish Jewish routines. Engagement should continue or increase. The Jewish synagogue is a space where we can read and pray the words we have been given, and feel a sense of community.
תיקון עולם “Tikkun olam” (repair the world)
Rabbi Matthew Eisenberg Spiritual leader, Temple Israel Ner Tamid development is part of the mentorship model. Many of the groups have continued to 10th, 11th and 12th grade. “The ones who do continue, I think, benefit greatly from having that monthly check-in and decompression where they can hang out and not be judged about what is going on in their lives,” Brenner says.
FACTORING IN FAITH Another objective Shevet focuses on is maintaining the boys’ engagement in their faith. After having a bar mitzvah, it’s important for boys to stay involved and practice Judaism, as it can help provide the guidance, friendship and sense of purpose teenage boys are seeking. “After having a bar mitzvah, it’s time for a 13-year-old boy to establish Jewish routines,” Eisenberg says. “Engagement should continue or increase. The Jewish synagogue is a space where we can read and pray the words we have been given, and feel a sense of community.” Maintaining this engagement is also a way to grow and take action. Eisenberg has seen several confirmation students return to the synagogue as religious school aides, volunteering their time to put their values into action. The aides carry out their commitment to Judaism by being a leader and teaching others about the holidays, tzedakah and topics related to its history and language. Eisenberg adds this type of programming and emphasis on faith fills the void of seeing the world through Jewish eyes. Often, a religious life is not valued as much as a secular life, he says. Individuals will place more value on their athletic abilities and academic success. But, if the Shevet curriculum can help teens see the world through a Jewish lens, then it can provide benefits and help them act in Jewish ways. This view can then radiate outward into the boys’ secular lives.
18 Bar•Bat Mitzvah // Spring 2019
MEANINGFUL MENTORING Every year, there are three or four courses held during the summer to train individuals to become Shevet mentors. There are also trainings held for Jewish day schools in relation to incorporating the topic, along with other work focused on the question: How are boys being guided at a time when there’s more and new awareness of the damage boys do based on what’s portrayed in the media? Although there are not Shevet chapters in every city, several mentors and members involved have continued efforts by bringing the same dialogue to advance consent education on college campuses, Brenner explains. There are several others who are committed to taking action and addressing the needs of young men. While there are waves of media attention focused on men behaving badly, there are individuals – perhaps overlooked – who strive to combat that behavior through education and mentorship, which is cultureshifting work. “I would like for more attention to be put on the positive ways that people are reacting (to the importance of consent education),” Brenner says. “And it’s not reacting with a slogan, and it’s not reacting with a poster, it’s reacting by saying we all are trying to figure out what it is we are attracted to, what we want in a sexual encounter and how we are
even able to initiate the most simple thing, such as holding hands or a kiss. Talking about the most simple things and how you initiate that, you really can develop a framework for any young man to think differently about how they are going to be with another person.” BM
STARTING A CHAPTER Moving Traditions will work directly with partnering regions that want to start Shevet chapters in local areas.
Those interested in launching a Northeast Ohio chapter can contact national program manager Sarah Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, to hear teens share some of their experiences with Moving Traditions and Shevet, visit movingtraditions.org/programs/shevet
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Cleveland Museum of Art / Cleveland Music Group
A lot of time and effort goes into planning a bar or bat mitzvah, and along the way, many questions are certain to arise. Thankfully for area families, Greater Cleveland is home to many professionals with the experience and know-how to help answer those questions and offer their advice. Compiled by Becky Raspe
20 Barâ€˘Bat Mitzvah // Spring 2019
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Ramen noodle salad
Sesame-crusted tuna on a wonton chip with tobiko
DIRECTOR OF CATERING SALES ZACK BRUELL EVENTS | CLEVELAND WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO GET RIGHT? It’s getting the child’s theme through. It’s about making sure that theme is portrayed through the food. It’s not only about the ambiance and décor, it’s about how you tie the food in with the theme. If you were to do a black tie or elegant bar mitzvah, you’re not going to be serving French fries and burgers. You want to take it up a notch. But for a rainbow theme, you’d find a way to tie in a green shamrock shake as a dessert or find a way to color cheese for grilled cheese.
HOW DOES THE FOOD IMPACT THE PARTY? It plays a huge role. If you think about it, everyone loves food. You have one chance to get the food right. Most people will give food a second chance at a restaurant, but it’s not like that at a mitzvah. If you don’t know the vision of the child and the parents and then find that happy medium, you could blow the whole event for everyone.
HOW CAN CATERING BE USED IN UNIQUE WAYS? You can do an ice cream sundae bar, or if it’s a movie theme, you can have popcorn machines, a fountain and/or giant boxes of candy. It’s a matter of tying it all together so it’s not a clash of themes, food and people. You want to please and match everyone. It all overlaps. It’s the theme, the vision, the parent’s expectations and getting creative with everything.
WHAT IS OFTEN OVERLOOKED? For us, we go above and beyond with the food but also the service and rentals – tying that all in together. At our events, we serve the same as we do at all of our fine dining restaurants. Sometimes, people don’t think about the quality of the service when they are throwing a party. It’s tying all of that together and making sure everyone is on the same page quality-wise. This applies in the other aspects of the party and not just the catering.
22 Bar•Bat Mitzvah // Spring 2019
Zack Bruell Events Domestic cheese display with various dried fruits WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING?
WHEN SHOULD PARENTS START PLANNING?
No two events are the same, and it’s getting more and more creative. With social media influences, because of that, people are getting creative with what they want. I’ve done mitzvahs for years and the exact vision that families have has changed. Before, it was more general ideas and themes, but now clients are coming in with pictures and specifics for exactly what they want to achieve.
Because there are so many components of planning an event this large, you start immediately. If it was a wedding, you’d get engaged and realistically start the planning right away. With a mitzvah, you know this will happen at a certain age and that age doesn’t change. So, the sweet spot would be from six to eight months in advance. But truly, the sooner the better. BM
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Dennis Crider Photography / Cleveland Music Group
ENTERTAINMENT SCOTT JONES
PRESIDENT CLEVELAND MUSIC GROUP | CLEVELAND WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO GET RIGHT? Keep in mind, unlike a wedding, which typically has people in attendance from ages 18 to 80, a mitzvah has two completely separate segments of that group. That can be a tricky balancing act in terms of entertainment and keeping both sides happy. Are you doing something that fits both? Are you doing separate parties within that celebration to keep everyone involved?
HOW DOES ENTERTAINMENT IMPACT THE PARTY ATMOSPHERE? No matter what kind of party you’re having, whether it’s a mitzvah, anniversary or wedding, the entertainment is what keeps people there. They may not remember what the food was like but they will always comment on how fun it was – and that is because of the entertainment. They say that music creates memories and people create memories based around those moments. That is why it is so easy to comment on events and remember the
music first. That is what keeps people sticking around for the whole party.
HOW CAN ENTERTAINMENT BE USED TO SHOWCASE THE CHILD? Most mitzvahs follow a theme. So, beyond music, let’s just say the bar mitzvah boy is really into hockey. So, maybe you do air hockey tables or a street hockey area or maybe even an ice rink. You say what is most interesting to them and bring that in to complement the music. No one will go to an event where there is no music or noise. Music of any kind is the basis. With the addition of music, you need something to highlight that theme. There has to be something else there and that is how you can play into the hobbies and interests of that person.
WHAT IS OFTEN OVERLOOKED? The use of lighting to accent space. Let’s say you have the foosball table set up and highlight that with spotting. Lighting is a big part of many formal and special events.
24 Bar•Bat Mitzvah // Spring 2019
Suzuran Photography / Cleveland Music Group People don’t think about that, especially in certain spaces because sometimes you absolutely need it.
WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING? To be honest, there aren’t any concrete trends. They aren’t clear cut. It’s about being unique. Not following the trends is the trend. Most times, people see the same people and experience the same entertainment because they attend a lot of mitzvahs. It’s about finding what hasn’t been done before.
WHEN SHOULD PARENTS START PLANNING? One year out. You’ll find a lot of
overlap in the mitzvah world. Entertainment is also used in weddings, social events and anniversaries. And weddings are a big part of any entertainment group. Couples plan that a year out, too. So, if you have specific requests, you need to keep up with the groups that are planning for other events. This is specifically if you are very specific and have very specific tastes.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR PIECE OF ADVICE? Have fun. I know it can be stressful. It can be time-consuming for parents. It’s a party you’re planning, so even during the planning process, treat it as such. BM
Aster and Olive Photography / Borrow Curated Rentals and Design
FOUNDER AND DESIGNER BORROW CURATED RENTALS AND DESIGN CLEVELAND WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO GET RIGHT?
HOW CAN DÉCOR BE USED IN UNIQUE AND PERSONALIZED WAYS?
The No. 1 thing is there should be a correlation to the young adult. It’s more about personal story. It makes sense for the kid and the family that (décor) tells the story of who they are, their interests and likes. Use their personality as a springboard for the design. Then, it goes to a fun place instead of narrowing it all down to a particular thing.
My favorite way to use décor is to make it functional. For example, a seating vignette is useful space. You can also use décor to think of games for kids. You can personalize games and that goes into being functional and interactive. Other functional design elements could be a specialized bar or a kid’s soft drink station. You can then further incorporate themes. It’s about playing double duty. Another great place to think of this is on the dance floor.
HOW DOES DÉCOR AFFECT PARTY ATMOSPHERE? I love décor because it is part of the main senses. It can also incorporate many senses at once. Décor affects how guests experience your party. It can move people around the room and it’s a great opportunity for you to tell the story of the event. It can make it more comfortable, vibrant or energetic. This is always great for events because that is the core of it – having fun.
WHAT IS OFTEN OVERLOOKED? So much of what I’ve learned in that aspect is missing that this is really about the spiritual journey of the child. It is about really thinking of it not as just a party but remembering this is a big step in their life and using décor to tell that story. It’s important to go deeper and make it more personalized. Sometimes, people fall into the run-of-the-mill instead.
26 Bar•Bat Mitzvah // Spring 2019
Mallory + Justin Photography / Borrow Curated Rentals and Design
WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING?
WHEN SHOULD PARENTS START PLANNING?
Lots of color. We went through a time where it was a little more neutral but now it’s all color. Darker colors are becoming more popular as well. We’re seeing neon (colors) with neon signs offsetting and contrasting with darker colors. We’re also always talking to people about using a lot of texture – like thicker fabrics and wood tones. Anytime you can squeeze a different texture into the design and the décor, the event will feel much fuller.
We typically say six months to a year. All of the good vendors really book out. So, to get the best vendors, you really have to look ahead. Otherwise, those vendors will get lost to corporate events and weddings.
WHY IS DÉCOR A CRITICAL ASPECT OF A MITZVAH? It personalizes the event and makes it special and different from every other mitzvah one attends. I think people love feeling like they are doing different experiences. That will transfer to the energy of the entire event. BM
Mazel Tov on your big day!
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Lindsey Beckwith Photography
OWNER | LINDSEY BECKWITH PHOTOGRAPHY | CLEVELAND WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO GET RIGHT? From the client’s point of view, you need to make sure you like the photographer’s style. That is what you’re going to have in the end. Also, is it within your budget? Can you put up with this person for however many hours a day? It all comes down to those three things: style, personality and budget. The food will be eaten, the fancy clothes will be put away, but what is left is the pictures. You have to like them.
HOW CAN PHOTOGRAPHY HELP CAPTURE THE MEMORY? Photography is the only way to capture a memory. The photography can just zero in on those details. One little thing can help trigger a specific memory, which can bring back the whole thing in a way nothing else does. This is one of the few times a whole
family is together, so getting these types of shots – both posed and candid – is important. It is about documenting the story of you.
HOW CAN PHOTOGRAPHY BE USED IN UNIQUE WAYS? You need a photographer who can really just blend in and capture children being silly and themselves. A photographer that can connect with the kids is a good place to start. And at that age, they are still kids but there is also a little glimmer of the adults they’re going to be. So, it takes an unobtrusive approach and a discerning eye. You need a photographer that can interact with the parents but also one that sees the child as No. 1. That will produce unique photos in itself.
WHAT IS OFTEN OVERLOOKED? I think people get too focused
28 Bar•Bat Mitzvah // Spring 2019
on the price. They think they can find a photographer that fits their budget and it will be fine. They need to pay attention (to whether) this is a professional and (whether) this is their fulltime job and (they are) not just a weekend warrior. You get what you pay for. Also, a lot of people don’t think about copyrights. If I do a mitzvah, I will inevitably take beautiful pictures of the centerpieces. But, a lot of clients don’t realize they don’t own the photos and can’t distribute them to other vendors. Families are nice and they think an aspect (of the party) is awesome and want to pass a picture on, but it isn’t theirs to give.
WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING? I don’t pay a lot of attention to trends. I want the clients to be able to look back at the photos and it be timeless. The only thing out of style should be their hair and clothes. The way
the photos are framed and produced should not be trendy. You want pictures to look realistic and natural.
WHEN SHOULD PARENTS START PLANNING? As soon as they book the venue. The instant they have the date, this should be the first thing they get. We fill up just like everyone else. Since photographers can only do one event a day or sometimes a weekend, you want to reach out quickly.
WHY IS PHOTOGRAPHY A CRITICAL ASPECT OF THE CELEBRATION? Because the human memory is faulty and photos bring everything back in ways that memories just can’t. This is an important part of one’s life and you want to keep that. It’s worth noting the reading of the Torah and being on the cusp of adulthood. Photos retain those moments. BM
B’nai Jeshurun Congregation
CANTOR AARON SHIFMAN
B’NAI JESHURUN CONGREGATION | PEPPER PIKE WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO GET RIGHT? The child should be very wellprepared with mastery over all the materials being chanted. We strive to make it more meaningful for them with an understanding of their Torah and haftorah portion. Also, in conjunction with the mitzvah, children are given the opportunity to make some of their own ritual materials like their tallitot. They can take a personal interest in doing this. They are engaged in ways that allow them to be invested in the process. This helps shape them as individuals.
WHAT CAN THE CEREMONY SAY ABOUT A CHILD? The ceremony shows they are taking responsibility as a young adult to commit to Judaism and having a positive impact in our community. Hopefully, they will inspire others to do the same.
One of the things we do, as part of a mitzvah, is allow children to choose their own mitzvah project. They choose something that is near and dear to their families. Going to that question, the very virtue of getting them to think outside of themselves is (important). Children at this age, everything has been tailored for them by their parents. When you start to have a child think about what they want as a project, you’re taking them out of their core structure and having them think about others.
WHAT IS OFTEN OVERLOOKED? Sometimes too much energy and effort is focused on planning the party or celebration and not enough in terms of the ceremony and commitment to Judaism. Families should be focused in terms of really giving children the ability to propel themselves in Judaism for years to come. The point is, the
30 Bar•Bat Mitzvah // Spring 2019
mitzvah can be used not just as a way to burden children with responsibilities but something they really want to invest in.
WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING? We have seen a trend toward having the mitzvah ceremony held in Israel. Some families have one ceremony in Israel, and within the year, another here at B’nai Jeshurun for state-side guests. This is for a couple reasons. We believe God’s presence is everywhere in the world, but for Jews, Israel is the holiest place in the world. While you can have many anniversaries of your mitzvah, you only have one opportunity to have one. This gives it much more significance than doing it anywhere else in the Jewish Diaspora. That doesn’t mean it isn’t special and meaningful anywhere else. But since it is such a highlight and many loved ones won’t be willing
to make that trip, we do see it common to have dual celebrations.
WHEN SHOULD PARENTS START PLANNING? We give out dates three years in advance and typically begin the student’s training process 12 to 18 months prior to the mitzvah. Having a full year for planning gives you plenty of time to bring the occasion to fruition so that it is meaningful and joyous for your family.
WHY IS THIS A CRITICAL ASPECT OF A MITZVAH? It’s important to lay the groundwork for future generations. The mitzvah rite-of-passage will help guide the individual to make his or her own decisions. Hopefully, this experience will inspire them to continue to learn and feel comfortable in a synagogue whether here or out of town. BM
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Special Occasions- Weddings
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Lasting Impressions Event Rental
Plan a party that showcases the celebrant’s interests By Alyssa Schmitt
arents start picturing their child’s bar or bat mitzvah the day he or she is born. It’s a meaningful day for any young adult and something parents think about for nearly 13 years. Once the day comes and the young adult has perfectly executed their duties, parents want a celebration to commemorate the special occasion. However, just as preparing for the ceremony can take intense preparation, no detail can be left
unchecked for the celebration. Whether you’re planning a quaint reception or an all-out bash, Ryan
32 Bar•Bat Mitzvah // Spring 2019
Harmon, a sales representative at Lasting Impressions Event Rental in Bedford, and Jenny Zinkan, owner of Elegantz Eventz in Solon, have advice for parents who are beginning preparations.
MINDFUL DESIGN When it comes to the party, it’s all about customizing an experience that represents the guest of honor. Harmon says to start with a design and color palette in
mind and to then devise a theme related to the child’s taste, which could be a favorite sports team, activity or hobby. “It’s such a milestone event for them and it’s a true reflection of their personality, who they are and who they’re becoming,” he said. “I think really having that is the most important thing.” With an overwhelming number of options for food, music, decoration and entertain-
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Guests enjoy a farm-to-table meal during an outdoor bar mitzvah party. Location and catering choices can help personalize a party. ment, trends are always changing and evolving. Zinkan says she’s seen people going away from generally themed parties, like “casino night,” to something more personal. “Very few people are going with the predetermined theme, there’s much more personalization of bar/bat mitzvahs,” she says. Zinkan says parents should wrap the event around who the child is. One example she gave was a set of fraternal twins, one boy and one girl, who went to the family’s lake house every summer growing up. For their celebration, the family collected all the water skis the twins had used and decorated a wall with them. “You didn’t need to decorate generically, you could use what was important to them,” she says. Once a mental picture of the design is formed, Zinkan says to pick a location that can allow it to become reality. Take advantage of places where the family already has a membership, especially
if it’s a location the child enjoys going to. “Although any location can be made to look like anything you want it to, it’s a really good idea to start with a location that makes sense,” she said. “If the family belongs to a county club, that’s relevant. If they belong to the JCC, well that’s relevant. If the celebrant is into horses, then you want to find somewhere that is appropriate for that.” Harmon added to research the venue. It can be used as a resource for other vendors as referrals to be able to add rentals and florals and other elements to enhance the overall aesthetic of the event.
THINGS OVERLOOKED With guest lists to be made, seating assignments to be issued and invitations to be sent, smaller details of the party can sometimes be overlooked. However, making time to keep up with those finer details can provide the party with pizazz, Harmon says.
34 Bar•Bat Mitzvah // Spring 2019
To personalize a bat mitzvah party, mannequins are adorned in dance outfits previously worn by the guest of honor. “Whether it’s adding a pop of color through a napkin or a backdrop, I think some of those smaller details get overlooked,” he says. “When you think of an event, you think of all the bread and butter stuff – your caterer, your venue, entertainment. But some of those small-tuned details – place cards, the chair option, the linen option – (offer) a lot of different ways to incorporate personalization, color and texture to the design. ... It’s a great way to transform a space.” Personalization can also come through in the food, Harmon says, from what the food is served on to what ingredients are used. Re-
cently, he’s been seeing caterers take on molecular gastronomy. “There’s so many cool, upand-coming, trendy ingredients that have different textures and things you wouldn’t think of pairing,” he says. “I think it’s pushing the envelope in that sense.” As the big day comes closer, Zinkan says to have a schedule and stick with it as time tends to pass quickly. “Remember, mom needs her hair done, dad’s suit needs to be pressed, stuff has to be picked up, they have to be at synagogue at 10 o’clock but the party starts at 4,” she says. “A schedule is very important.” BM
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FOR EVERYONE From rock climbing to whirlyball to laser tag and more, there is no shortage of activity options from which party-planning parents can choose By Ed Carroll
good location, good food and good people are important ingredients for a good party, but just as important are fun – and memorable – activities to help bring together attendees. In that regard, Northeast Ohio parents are in luck because there is no shortage of places that offer entertaining activities to enjoy while bonding with family and friends during an important life event. Representatives from WhirlyBall/Laser-Sport in Bedford Heights, Fun ‘n’ Stuff in Macedonia and Shaker Rocks in Shaker Heights share what makes the activities at their locations special.
HAVING A BALL Rick Morad, owner of WhirlyBall/LaserSport, says his establishment is great for bar and bat mitzvah parties because whirlyball “is so playable.” “The fathers and mothers are fighting the kids to get on the court,” Morad says.
36 Bar•Bat Mitzvah // Spring 2019
“Kids love it, but adults have a ton of fun, too. It’s a lot of fun when the families get together. You can have everybody playing together, from children to grandchildren to grandparents. We had a 90th birthday here – the guy was out (on the whirlyball course) for two hours.” Morad says one thing that sets WhirlyBall/Laser-Sport apart from other venues is privacy. The venue is reservationonly, so parents won’t have to worry about unexpected crowds crashing their child’s party. Also, it’s all self-contained. “We have over 30,000 square feet of space,” he says. “It’s a large venue, so groups can spread out. We have different things (for guests) to do. ... They can do whirlyball, laser tag (or) bowling and still have room for a dance floor.” He says the venue can accommodate between 200 and 250 people, though not all of those people can play whirlyball at the same time. However, WhirlyBall/LaserSport also offers the aforementioned laser tag and bowling, and it recently added virtual reality pods, so there’s always something to keep guests entertained.
For many families, a bar or bat mitzvah at WhirlyBall/Laser-Sport is a tradition. “This is our 32nd year,” Morad says. “We’ve had (children who had their bar or bat mitzvah) here (grow up and) have their children’s mitzvah here.”
ROCKING THE PARTY Annie Richman, owner of Shaker Rocks, says rock climbing makes for a great activity for a bar or bat mitzvah party. “It’s a social activity, mostly,” she says. “It’s something the kids can watch and cheer each other on with. (Rock climbing is) hard, you can only stay on the wall for so long, because your hands will wear out. Therefore, a majority of a climber’s time is spent on the ground, cheering, watching your friends climb.” She says the newly built Shaker Rocks, which is scheduled to open between the end of March and early April in Shaker Heights’ Van Aken District, can accommodate up to about 375 guests at a party and offers five different types of climbing: top roping, standard climbing (where one person holds the rope while the other climbs),
In the lifetime of a Jewish family there is so much to celebrate. Whether you are a young adult becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, a couple preparing for marriage, a family with small children looking ahead to religious school, or an adult wanting to renew or build a connection to a synagogue community, The Temple provides that special place. Become a part of The Temple family and celebrate with us.
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Spring 2019 // Bar•Bat Mitzvah 37
speed climbing, bouldering and climbing shorter walls without the aid of ropes (don’t worry, climbers who fall will land on big, soft crash pads). Despite the physical activity involved, Richman says climbing appeals to people of all ages. “Mostly, I think because climbing is a multi-generational sport,” she says. “Maybe (a sport like) skating (is also multi-generational), but climbing, specifically, because a lot of it is a partner sport, … Everybody from 4 years old on up to 80 or 90 years old can enjoy the sport.” She says a bar or bat mitzvah party at Shaker Rocks is special due to its large, open spaces and its unique central activity. “If you can climb stairs, you can climb a wall,” Richman says.
STUFFED WITH FUN
Heidi Robertson / Shaker Rocks
38 Bar•Bat Mitzvah // Spring 2019
Fun ‘n’ Stuff
If the celebrant enjoys having lots of options, then Fun ‘n’ Stuff might be the right choice for his or her party. Promotions manager Jill Attwell says in addition to seasonal attractions available during the warmer months of the year, Fun ‘n’ Stuff also features year-round indoor activities, such as a newly remodeled aliens vs. zombies laser tag arena; a roller skating rink; cannon ball blasters, which let guests shoot foam balls at nets and targets themselves; Medieval Madness Bumper Cars; a laser maze, called The Lost Temple of Osiris; a dedicated children’s section, appropriately titled Kid’s World; Highway 66 bowling, which uses smaller and lighter balls but is otherwise the same as normal bowling; Atomic Rush, a Simon Says-style competitive game; and an arcade with more than 100 games. “Fun ‘n’ Stuff has something for everyone,” Attwell says. “We’re a full-service, indoor and outdoor amusement park and we’ve been remodeling the last two years, changing things and adding some new attractions. We have new seating areas and added a full-service bar.” She says Fun ‘n’ Stuff has 22 attractions across its indoor and outdoor options and can accommodate more than 300 people for an event. She cited the go-karts, mini-golf, skating, Atomic Rush and Highway 66 bowling as some of the more popular activities for the adults at a party, though adults are allowed to enjoy any of the activities, except for Kid’s World. “We have so much variety and so many different attractions,” Attwell says. “Everyone has something to do.” BM
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Spring 2019 // Bar•Bat Mitzvah 39
Northeast Ohio is home to many unique locations that can provide just the right backdrop for a teen’s celebration By Ed Carroll
echnically, you can have a bar or bat mitzvah party anywhere, but for parents looking to celebrate a significant moment in their child’s life, planning a special party requires a special place. Northeast Ohio has some pretty unique locations for hosting such an event, so parents have plenty of options to make sure their child’s party stands out. Representatives from StoneWater Golf Club in Highland Heights, Tenk West Bank and Great Lakes Science Center, both in Cleveland, offer insight into what makes their venues great locations for hosting upcoming celebrations.
GOLF CLUB CONVENIENCE
Great Lakes Science Center Beverly David Photography / StoneWater Golf Club
40 Bar•Bat Mitzvah // Spring 2019
Whitney Neidus, general manager at StoneWater Golf Club, says having a bar or bat mitzvah there will be “the easiest event a parent ever booked for their child.” “Everything is customized, based on the family’s budget and different preferences for menu styles,” Neidus says. “(For) some venues, you’ll have to hire an event coordinator or planner or someone to do everything. It’s full service at our venue. That means I provide everything, from start to finish. So, linens, centerpieces, menu, place cards, everything to pull the event together. ... Because (we’re) owned and operated by three sisters, it’s just a different approach. It’s all hands on.” She says the space, which can fit about 200 people for a seated event and about 300 people for a standing event, lets in an abundance of natural light. In addition, because StoneWater is a golf club, it has a lot of outdoor space. “It’s kind of a rustic feeling,” she says. “It’s almost like you’re outside. It’s the beauty of, we can do part of the event outside, but God forbid weather were an issue, we’ve got you covered because it almost feels like you’re outside due to all the natural light and the floor-to-ceiling windows and doors. Just the space, as it’s laid out, that’s pretty unique.”
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Agreement must be signed by 12/30/2019 and hosted by 12/31/2021 and also meet the required food and beverage spend of $15,000.00 prior to service charge & taxes. Offer does not apply to existing bookings and may not be combined with any other offers. ©2019 Marriott International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Spring 2019 // Bar•Bat Mitzvah 41
Making the Moment Photography / Tenk West Bank
Great Lakes Science Center She says a lot of parents want to split the space, often with adults on one side and children on the other, and StoneWater can accommodate that event-withinan-event feel. “And then it all comes together right around the dance floor,” she says. “It’s cool, it’s different.”
‘URBAN CHIC’ VERSATILITY Joan Rosenthal, owner of Marigold Catering, which owns Tenk West Bank, calls the venue a “blank slate.” “I love it for bar or bat mitzvahs,” Rosenthal says. “First of all, you walk
in there and it’s the old, traditional Cleveland. It really screams urban chic. The nice part about it for mitzvahs is even though it’s got this feel for it, it’s pretty much a blank slate. With the mitzvahs, (parents) like to put in their own touches and photo booths and basketball games and all kinds of other amenities. This (venue) can house all that to create the feel the client wants and yet still give everybody enough space and enough freedom of movement so you can do all of that and still be able to throw a phenomenal party in a very comfortable environment.”
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Tenk West Bank can seat 500 people, Rosenthal says, but also says it’s most comfortable with about 400 people, seated. “With 400, you can put in a huge stage and a place for (our preferred entertainment vendor),” Rosenthal says. “I think people are realizing what a gem it is for mitzvahs.” She said an event at Tenk West Bank is a “one-stop shop.” “We’ve got your tables, your chairs, all your dishes, your pipe and drape,” she says. “We have designers in house that work with the client, you’ve got a built-in design team. We do centerpieces in house, so you can get whatever you want to put on your table, if the client wants. The client can bring in whoever they want, but if they don’t want to, Marigold (and Tenk West Bank) is a one-stop shop.”
SCIENCE CENTER ENTERTAINMENT Though some might not equate scientific learning with having fun, those people probably have never had an event at Great Lakes Science Center. Kristy Papson, manager of special events and sales for the science center, says between the center’s interactive exhibit floors
and its views of Lake Erie and Cleveland skyline, the venue offers something to appeal to all ages. “When hosting your celebration at the science center, you are getting an experience, not just an event space,” Papson says. She says the center can accommodate between 200 to 300 guests for a seated event or about 500 people for a receptionstyle event. If parents desire, they can host an all-inclusive event that has activities for all ages or they can separate the adults and children, with the kids enjoying the exhibit areas and the adults indulging in an upscale cocktail reception on the center’s promenade level. The center has exhibits in which attendees can explore space travel and learn how astronauts function in space; about how light, optics, electricity and magnetism works. It’s also home to the Cleveland Clinic DOME Theater, which features a six-story domed screen and 11,600 watts of ultra-real digital sound. “We will work with you to create an out-of-this world celebration with friends and family,” Papson says. “From our interactive exhibits, larger-than-life Big Science Shows and customizable activity carts, the museum offers something for everyone.” BM
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La Bella Vita From left to right: A kiddish cup, yad and tzedakah box, all from La Bella Vita
KEEPSAKES Gifts with meaning will continue giving for years to come By Alyssa Schmitt
veryone wants to commemorate a young adult’s bar or bat mitzvah with a memorable gift. However, with the plethora of options, picking out that keepsake might be more challenging than one realizes. While money is a popular gift to give, Judaica is something a young adult can treasure for the rest of his or her life. La Bella Vita, in Woodmere and Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood, is practiced in selecting fine Judaica for any occasion, including b’nai mitzvah, says owner Barbara Strom. “It’s such a milestone occasion, it’s such a great thing, it’s wonderful to have your own Judaica,” she says. “It’s a very special time and a very special gift.” After the ceremony, as young adults begin delving deeper into their Jewish background, Strom recommends gifting a Kiddush cup. To help the young adult practice charity, she says a tzedakah box can make a great gift. “The whole point is to give something that commemorates but can also be an heirloom, and that’s what’s important,” she says. “It’s not like (a young adult) just walks up there – you’ve been studying, you’ve done a lot of things. To
44 Bar•Bat Mitzvah // Spring 2019
have your own Judaica is part of all of this, it’s very meaningful for a parent to give.” While running her business, Strom uses the tag line “celebrating traditions.” She sees them as an important part of Jewish life but also sees some people letting tradition go by the wayside. In giving the gift of Judaica, older generations help younger generations carry on those traditions. “As you grow up with the Jewish tradition, every piece of Judaica is used in the family when you celebrate the tradition,” she says. “When you’re 13, it’s a cool thing to have.” Strom also recommends giving a yad as a gift. With so many artistic options, a unique one can be found to match the young adult’s personality. In another way to commemorate the mitzvah, Leslie Kammer, general manager of Wood Trader in Cleveland Heights, recommends getting a photo of the young adult with their
Wood Trader A framed bar mitzvah invitation family taken by either a professional photographer hired by the family or a fellow guest and keeping a copy of the invitation. Later, the celebrant can get the items framed – items that can serve as physical memories of the day. “People spend so much for a photographer, and then to not go ahead and frame pictures is sort of ironic,” she says. “And framing the invitation, that’s another thing. People spend so much time and attention on picking out the perfect invitation, it’s kind of nice to get that framed as well.” She added that a bar or bat mitzvah is a happy occasion for which all the family comes together, making it an opportune time to take a commemorative photo. When picking a frame, Kammer says to look at the type of invitation, whether contemporary, elegant or another style, and pick a frame that can match it. With photos, she says to pick something simple so as not to draw attention away from those in it. BM
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From stories of Clevelander's b'nai mitzvah to helpful party planning insight, everything you need to know about this special simcha is insi...
Published on Mar 28, 2019
From stories of Clevelander's b'nai mitzvah to helpful party planning insight, everything you need to know about this special simcha is insi...