Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

A Rite of Passage

Planning a meaningful mitzvah



photos by Peyton Matik/ Monin Photography Ethan Leinberger/ Ema Whittaker

Every year, a percentage of the middle-school crowd finds themselves on the bar/bat mitzvah circuit, as they commemorate the symbolic coming-of-age as an adult of their 13-year-old Jewish friends. It has become fashionable in the past 50 or so years to commemorate this milestone with celebrations of every variety.

Wilton residents Ethan Leinberger and Peyton Matik became bar and bat mitvahed at Norwalk’s Temple Shalom in March.  

The kids prepare well in advance, with at least two years of religious school preceding their bar/bat mitzvah, culminating in the study in Hebrew of their designated Torah portion known as the haftarah. They are also expected to lead the service and to recite a speech they’ve written.  

Leading up to their big day, each student engages in a service project. Ethan volunteered at the Open Door Shelter, the only emergency homeless shelter in Norwalk for children and parents. “They loved to see him arrive each week,” says Ethan’s mom Rachel, “and it really expanded his thinking beyond the sometimes protective walls of Wilton.”

Peyton participated in a Hats for the Homeless program and ended up making hats by hand, raising money, and collecting clothing from the community. She donated 73 hats, 26 scarves, and more. “Considering how harsh this past winter was,” she says, “I hope these items helped keep people warm, and spread the idea that people care about them. I learned that just doing something, no matter how big or small, is the important part.”

According to the website emitz.com, the average bar/bat mitzvah costs at least $15,000, with some costing far more. For instance, recently Nicki Minaj was paid an estimated $300,000 to perform a seven-song set for a Manhattan bar mitzvah. Many variables affect the bottom line. Both families profiled here took a relatively low-key approach, focusing their preparations on the religious significance.

For the kids themselves, the other most important element was the service. Says Ethan, “After working for several months to get to this day, it was really special that so many of my friends and family came from out of town to support me.” After Ethan’s service, guests boarded buses to travel to the Sheraton in Stamford to celebrate.

Peyton opted for an alternative way to commemorate her bat mitzvah. In addition to a post-ceremony luncheon at the Cobb’s Mill Inn in Weston, she and her family traveled to Israel to have a ceremony at Masada. “The trip was such a moving experience,” says her mother Boo, “that Peyton is ready to move to Israel for college.” 

Neither Wilton family used a party planner. “This was a labor of love, an intimate occasion with lots of personal touches,” says Boo.

“I am definitely not a party planner type, so it was a bit challenging,” says Rachel. “I used some bar mitzvah planning books and personal recommendations. I kept reminding myself that although I wanted it to be an amazing celebration, it was important to keep things in perspective. The meaning of the day was more important than the party.” 

Both families agree that this once-in-a-lifetime event passes in a blink of an eye and that what’s most important is to take the time to stop and focus on your child during his or her special day.


Manage the Mishegoss
Here are a few tips on navigating the mitzvah planning:

ATTIRE
The current “nightclub” trend for parties lends itself to “club casual/club cool” attire.   Most parents take their boys to shop at department stores like Lord & Taylor and Nordstrom, while others visit Men’s Wearhouse and Lubin’s in Scarsdale. Girls have a bit more fun picking out their outfits and often head to Wilton favorites B Chic or Snappy Gator or A Splash of Pink and Winged Monkey in Westport.

ENTERTAINMENT
The DJ, the MC, and “dance motivators” are key to the success of the party. Dttment.com or totalentertainment.com are options. Check advertisement in local magazine and guides. 

VENUES
Popular places to hold celebrations include the Delamar Hotel, Mora Mora in Sono, and the Inn at Longshore in Westport.

ONLINE RESOURCE
Mitzvahmarket.com is a one-stop-shopping destination, from mitzvah project ideas to an exhaustive list of vendors and everything in between, serving the tri-state area. 

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

               

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

At Your Service

Sponsored - A concierge medical practice

Fun House

Expect the unexpected at this Sharp Hill Antique

Ten Minutes With a Code Breaker

Sally Fisher Sellars was instrumental in WWII

In Search of Exercise

Finding Grace and Strength After 50

Worry-Free Wanderlust

Modern Travel Agents Make a Comeback

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

November 2018

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A Grammy Award-winning son of the legendary Bob Marley, Stephen continues his father’s legacy with forward-thinking reggae. In addition to his critically acclaimed, award-winning solo albums,...

Cost: $56

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 E Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join us for a FREE lecture! Falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults. However, the fear of falling doesn’t need to rule your life. Learn strategies for preventing falls and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Health Tully Health Center
32 Strawberry Hill Court
1st Floor Auditorium
Stamford, CT  06902
View map »


Sponsor: HSS Sports Rehab
Telephone: 203-705-2933
Contact Name: Pamela Villagomez
Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Wednesday, November 14th at 4:00 PM. Open to all ages. Decorate an apple with candy to make it look like a turkey! This event is free and no registration is required. Co-sponsored with the NS...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Saturday, November 17th from 12:00 - 3:00 PM for kids K+. Plan on staying with your children and having fun together.   This year’s annual STEAMFEST will feature Mad Science’s special...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Parenting is never easy, but raising children with learning and attention disorders presents unique difficulties. This conference will help parents focus on developing their children's...

Cost: 50

Where:
Winston Preparatory School
57 West Rocks Rd.
Norwalk, CT  06851
View map »


Sponsor: Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities
Telephone: 203 682-1664
Contact Name: Alison Brown
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

On Saturday November 17 at 6 p.m. join a wonderful team of astronomers and view planets, stars, and constellations. Note: Families are invited to a special preview in the Learning Center...

Cost: $4/New Pond Farm member ($16 max/family), $6/non-member ($24 max/family)

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
View map »


Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags