Monthly Archives: August 2013

After settling late father’s affairs, woman moves on with trip to the mikvah

THE LIFECYCLIST

By Debra Rubin

(JTA) — Susan Esther Barnes had had a rough two years. Her father’s death in April 2011 came as a shock; she hadn’t even known he had been hospitalized. And his widow’s leaving town for a week complicated plans for his funeral and burial.

As executor of his will, Barnes discovered that the money in bank accounts that were to go to her and her sister had been transferred to someone else.

All in all, it was an extraordinarily difficult ordeal, says Barnes, who wrote about the experience on her Religious and Reform blog.

When she received a letter in May telling her that her duties as executor were completed, the Novato, Calif., resident was relieved.

“It felt like such a point of transition,” Barnes, a consultant for public agencies, told JTA. “When I got that letter, I wanted to mark the occasion.”

Mikvah sprang to mind. READ MORE

If you know of a lifecycle event that would make a great story, please email lifecyclist@jta.org.

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Summer loving happened so slow, but ends in wedding at camp

THE LIFECYCLIST
By Debra Rubin

Andras Paszternak and Barbi Paszternak-Szendy celebrate at their wedding in Camp Szarvas, Hungary, June 2013. (Marton Karsai)

(JTA) – There’ve been plenty of Jewish weddings held at Camp Szarvas in rural Hungary over the years — Spanish, Moroccan, Chasidic. Rabbi Tamas Vero participated in a few of them. But, they were all mock weddings, part of the camp’s educational programs.

Barbi Paszternak-Szendy and Andras Paszternak’s June wedding marked the first time a real-life wedding was held at the camp run by the American Joint Jewish Distribution Committee. Vero, rabbi of the Leo Frankel Street Synagogue in Budapest, officiated. Read more:

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Israeli mom’s search for a meaningful bat mitzvah leads back to Schenectady

As this article makes clear, liberal Jewish opportunities in Israel just aren’t the same as in the United States — at least not for this mom and her daughter.

Zoe Coleman-Becker at her bat mitzvah celebration, July 2013. (Evan Lauber)

Photo by Evan Lauber

THE LIFECYCLIST

By Debra Rubin

(JTA) — In Zoe Coleman-Becker’s Tel Aviv circle of friends, bat mitzvah typically means a surfing party, an overnight in the desert or a Japanese tea party. But Zoe’s mom, Pamela Becker, wanted her daughter to have much more than that. She wanted a celebration that also was a meaningful Jewish experience.

“It’s relatively status quo to make a bar mitzvah in Israel,” said Becker, who will be making a bar mitzvah for her four sons.

A bat mitzvah, on the other hand, is “hugely difficult — you have to think totally out of the box” to have the type of service she remembered having back in the United States.

She decided the best way to accomplish that was to plan a bat mitzvah celebration for Zoe in her childhood synagogue, Agudat Achim in Schenectady, N.Y. — READ MORE

If you’ve got an idea for a great  lifecycle story, please email lifecyclist@jta.org

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