Tag Archives: Jewish Telegraphic Agency

For new dad, a stronger bond from a cut foreskin

THE LIFECYCLIST

By Debra Rubin

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Natan Zaidenweber thought the mohel was kidding. His wife, Linda Raab, thought it was some kind of religious formality and didn’t give it a second thought.

But the mohel, Cantor Philip Sherman, was serious. Though most fathers demur when he invites them to perform the bris on their sons by clipping their foreskin, preferring to delegate the task to someone professionally trained in the procedure, Sherman finds that about 5 or 10 percent of dads agree to do the cut.

“It is the father’s mitzvah to actually perform the bris as Abraham did for his son, Isaac,” Sherman said. “Many fathers have told me what an incredible moment it was for them to do the actual bris and enter their sons into the covenant of Abraham.”

The Mill Valley, Calif., couple realized the cantor wasn’t joking only once the ceremony was underway. Sherman began with a naming ceremony for Jay Hilay and his twin sister, Sivan Rose. Then he again offered Natan the option of making the cut.

The new dad stepped forward, and as his startled wife screamed his name in a tone that she says was intended to say, “Are you crazy?,” a friend reassured her it would be easy. Read more: http://www.jta.org/2013/12/04/life-religion/for-new-dad-a-stronger-bond-from-a-cut-foreskin#ixzz2mixLOK1w

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

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Families close the marriage deal with eight pushups

THE LIFECYCLIST

By Debra Rubin

(JTA) — Reuben Meltzer had to strike a hard bargain for his wife.

At nearly $1,000, her family’s initial asking price was too much. He and Thy Vy’s family finally agreed: $200 and eight pushups apiece from Reuben, his parents, two brothers, two nephews and the best friend who had introduced the couple. Read more: http://www.jta.org/2013/10/31/life-religion/the-lifecyclist/families-close-the-marriage-deal-with-eight-push-ups#ixzz2jP0XgvkN

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Red string under the huppah? Forget kabbalah, it’s a JewBu thing

LIFECYCLIST

By DeFamily and friends tie red strings around the wrists of Rachel Sam and William Rubenstein in a Cambodian jong dai ceremony, Aug. 11, 2013. (Courtesy Rachel Sam and William Rubenstein)bra Rubin

(JTA) — Standing beneath the huppah, the couple was blessed with the priestly benediction four times in four different languages.

William Rubenstein’s father offered the prayer in the traditional Hebrew, his mother in English, his bride’s mother in French, her father in Cambodian.

“Having parents say something at the ceremony is very important and I always include it when possible,” says Rabbi Moshe Waldoks, who officiated at Will and Rachel Sam’s Aug. 11 wedding in Boston and suggested the blessing be given in the four languages.

The French and Cambodian were a nod to Rachel’s having grown up in France and Cambodia. Another hint of her background came … READ MORE

Family and friends tie red strings around the wrists of Rachel Sam and William Rubenstein in a Cambodian jong dai ceremony, Aug. 11, 2013. (Courtesy Rachel Sam and William Rubenstein)

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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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Berkeley farm hosts Jewish-Hindu wedding

 

Micha'el BedarShah washes the feet of his bride, Aumatma, during the first wedding ceremony held at Urban Adamah, a Jewish educational farm in Berkeley, Calif., June 30, 2013. (Photos courtesy Micha'el BedarShah

Photo courtesy Micha’el BedarShah

 

THE LIFECYCLIST

By Debra Rubin

(JTA) — The bride emerged from a yurt, accompanied by her father. The groom and his mother came out of a greenhouse.

The four walked to a circular area delineated by a red string. In the center stood a chuppah; beneath the wedding canopy, a copper tin with a small fire.

Micha’el and Aumatma BedarShah were married June 30 at Urban Adamah, a small Jewish educational farm in Berkeley, Calif. The couple chose the farm for their interfaith wedding, believing, as Micha’el put it, that “we understand our traditions so much more clearly when we directly experience the wonder of nature.”

Their fathers each carried a candle to the circular area “so they could both simultaneously light our candles and we could accept both of their heritages,” Micha’el says.

Micha’el, 35, and Aumatma, 32 — whose new surname is a merger of his Jewish last name first followed by her Hindu one READ MORE

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

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Boy finds way to bar mitzvah with help of Simms Taback graphic books

By Debra Rubinlevi davishoff at bima

(JTA) — As his mother read to him, Levi Davishoff puckered and moved his lips in the universal sign indicating that something is sour. He then pointed to the lemon pictured in the library book.

His mother, Marla, was thrilled. It was the first time that Levi, then 18 months old, had communicated with the baby sign language he had been learning. He had been in therapy for developmental and cognitive delays since was 2 months old.

Davishoff rushed out to buy the book, “Joseph Had a Little Overcoat,” by Simms Taback. It would become Levi’s favorite.

Little did she imagine that 12 years later the book would play an integral part in Levi’s bar mitzvah ceremony. READ MORE

Photo by Tell Draper

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Conversion celebration takes a surprise turn — into a wedding

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Photo courtesy Angela Gold

By Debra Rubin

(JTA) — Helen Rados showed up at the Bedford Post Inn north of New York City to celebrate the conversion of her friend Angela Gold. But as she approached, Rados spotted a chuppah on a hill behind the building.

She figured someone else had booked a wedding. Then she saw Angela wearing a white dress with pearls and beading.

Howard Lebowitz, meanwhile, noticed a piece of paper with Hebrew and English on it. He looked at it more closely: Wow, it’s a ketubah, a Jewish wedding contract, for Angela and her husband, Sam. “This is not just a conversion,” Lebowitz realized. “They’re getting married.” READ MORE

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Double wedding in Seattle caps rapper’s transformation

By Debra Rubin

(JTA) — Five years ago he was D-Black, a hip-hop artist rapping about the violence, gang activity and drugs of his African-American ’hood. Today he’s Nissim Black, an Orthodox Jew davening in a Sephardic shul in Seattle and writing songs he describes as rap/urban alternative that “speak a message of hope and inspiration.”

The shift in his musical message will be on full display with his new album, “Nissim,” due for release July 16.

Meanwhile, the changes in his personal life were underscored earlier this year when the 26-year-old musician was one of two grooms in a double Jewish wedding ceremony that became a communitywide project. READ MOREImagePhoto Adar Images

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