Tag Archives: lifecycle

Seattle couple gets married … and married … and married


(JTA) — In less than a year, Dane Kuttler and Rowan Parker exchanged vows in 10 different wedding ceremonies at 10 different venues on two coasts under nine different marriage canopies.

In what Kuttler calls “Wedding Tour ’13,” the introverted Seattle coupImagele wanted to share their celebration with as many friends and family as possible while avoiding the pressures of one big party.

“It was fun,” Parker said. “We wanted to travel. We wanted to take a big vacation.”

The couple first exchanged vows in February in the Florida apartment of Kuttler’s grandmother under a tallit she had used when she became an adult bat mitzvah. Another ceremony was held over Memorial Day weekend in a waterfront town west of Seattle that Parker’s Unitarian family has been visiting since he was a child. Read more

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

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For new dad, a stronger bond from a cut foreskin


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


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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At 80, Holocaust survivor Ivan Gabor finally revels in his bar mitzvah


(JTA) — Ivan and Rebecca Gabor have been married for 34 years. And for 34 years, Rebecca had heard her husband lament that he never had a bar mitzvah celebration.

Born in Transylvania, Ivan and his family moved to Hungary when he was a young child, changing their last name from Grossman to Gabor. When the Nazis came, his father was sent to a forced labor camp; Ivan and his mother went into hiding.

His father returned at the end of the war but was very sick, said Gabor, whose self-published memoir, “Echoes of My Footsteps,” tells the story of his survival and his life in Israel and Argentina before settling in the United States in 1977.

“He was planning my bar mitzvah,” Gabor said. “He even wrote a speech. But he passed away. I never had a bar mitzvah.”

“Every time we would go to a bar mitzvah, he would say ‘I never had a bar mitzvah,’ ” Rebecca said.

Their son, Gabe, adds, “I can’t remember a time in my life when he didn’t remind me of the fact that he didn’t have a bar mitzvah.”

Rebecca decided to do something about it — without telling her husband. READ MORE


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


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


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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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


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



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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Navy commander’s daughter does double duty

By Debra Rubin

(JTA) — Preparing for one bar or bat mitzvah service is tough enough. Eliana Werbel did it twice: once for an egalitarian service at a campsite, the second at a women’s prayer service two weeks later at her family’s Modern Orthodox synagogue.

The first service came on the Hebrew date of her 12th birthday, which happens to be the second day of Shavuot. For the Werbels, Shavuot also means an annual holiday retreat to Cacapon Resort State Park in West Virginia with two dozen families from Modern Orthodox and Conservative synagogues in the Washington area. The retreat, which has taken place for the past eight years, draws about 100 people. READ MORE  Image

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