Nutfield News • May 26, 2011 Local Youth Combine Efforts in their Bar/Bat Mitzvah Class
PENNY WILLIAMS NUTFIELD NEWS
——◆ —––– The Etz Hayim Synago-
gue’s Bar and Bat Mitzvah class decided to combine forces on a joint project this year.
One of the traditional components of a Bar Mitz- vah (for a boy) or Bat Mitz- vah (for a girl) is to do a good deed, and the teens saw an opportunity to do a good deed together. The youths involved - Orianna Kane, harp; Jared Kane, cello; Ali-
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gram to connect some of the female volunteers with eld- erly women they serve, the agency also sent four male volunteers to help a couple on Bowers Road remove bit- tersweet, an invasive plant, from their yard. The Youth Day of Giving
Back, which was originally organized in conjunction with United Way, is now org- anized by Pinkerton Social Studies teacher Roger Kon- stant and The Upper Room Operations Director Cynthia Marshall and Executive Director Kimberly Bavaro. Konstant said about 65
student volunteers were sent into the community to help
Pinkerton Academy junior Kathleen Felch gives Jackie Elsmore, a Derry senior with Community Caregivers, a manicure during the school’s Day of Giving Back. Photo by Kaitlyn G.Woods
with projects at the YMCA of Greater Londonderry, Vintage Grace, Meals on Wheels, the Daniel Webster Council in Manchester, and
The Upper Room. “It was pretty much the same agencies that partici- pated last year. We’re look- ing next year to expand,” he said. “We want to try and branch out and connect with more agencies in the future.”
son Martin, trombone; and Noah Schrank, Master of Ceremony, all of London- derry, along with Sam Lynn, saxophone,and Will Corman, saxophone, both of Wind- ham, formed a musical group and brought cheer and enter- tainment to residents of sev- eral local nursing homes and senior centers. They also play- ed for the Elijah’s Table event. Rabbi Louis Rieser of Etz Hayim spoke warmly of the young people’s project. “We ask the students to do a Tzedakah, a charity or
social service project,” he said. “Usually this is some- thing that they do as individ- uals rather than as a group. This year they realized that several of them played in- struments, and they organ- ized this band. I think it is marvelous. It has given them the opportunity to share their talents and has also allowed them to reach out to the com- munity, senior centers, Elijah’s Table, etc., in ways that enrich the community. What could be better?” The group, calling itself
Zradim Etz Hayim, which translates to Little Branches of the Tree of Life, started over the holidays by playing at Vintage Grace Day Care and Assisted Living Center in Derry. In February they performed romantic ballads at the Windham Terrace As- sisted Living and Retirement Home, and in March the young musical group went to Bedford and performed at the Arbors. In April, they returned to Windham to per- form at the Ward Center. Their last performance was Sunday afternoon, May 15, when they played for the din- ers at the free community Elijah’s Table at the synagogue. “Playing the harp is am-
azing,” said Orianna Kane. “Playing with a group like Zradim Etz Hayim is very fun. But overall, the best part is the heart-warming pleas- ure of playing for people. When I play, it isn’t all about getting every note right or looking my best or trying to impress people. It’s about bringing healing music that makes people feel like they are flying.
“The goal for perform- ing when playing an instru- ment for me is to put feeling behind the notes and make the audience feel like they’re part of the song,” she said. “When we all played for nursing homes, it made me feel so great because I knew that the listeners truly appre- ciated it.”
But this good deed proj- ect is only one element of a
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These youths decided to do their Etz Hayim Bar and Bat Mitzvah project together, bringing music, enter- tainment and joy to several groups. Pictured are Will Corman, saxophone, Windham; Sam Lynn, saxo- phone, Windham; and Londonderry residents Jared Kane, cello, Noah Schrank, Master of Ceremonies, Orianna Kane, harp, and Alison Martin, trombone. Photo by Penny Williams
Bar or Bat Mitzvah, and the process contains many com- ponents the young people must complete.
Rabbi Rieser discussed the Bat/Bar Mitzvah pro- gram the Etz Hayim young people go through. “The Bar Mitzvah cere-
mony is a rite of passage that initiates young people into the adult Jewish communi- ty,” he explained. “Trad- itionally boys, at age 13, and girls, at age 12, were consid- ered adults and obliged to observe the mitzvot, literally commandments but practi- cally the rituals of Jewish life. At Etz Hayim Syna- gogue, the educational pro- gram prepares all the stu- dents to stand before the congregation as a Bar or Bat Mitzvah at age 13.”
He said the students train for their ceremony through a year of classwork and other
preparation. Part of their work is focused on the synagogue service they will be asked to lead on the day of their Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony. “They polish their ability to read Hebrew, learn to chant from the Torah scroll, and practice the skills of leading a service,” Rabbi Rieser said.
At the Bar or Bat
Mitzvah service, the young person leads the public serv- ices, reads from the Torah scroll and offers a commen- tary on the passage read from the Bible. After the service, the family may have a celebration to mark this rite of passage together. “The Bat/Bar Mitzvah celebration is held simulta- neously within the commu- nity, within the extended family, and within the nuclear family,” Rabbi Rieser concluded.
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