Live & Learn

Pultman Bar Mitzvah

Caleb Micah Pultman

Parents: Andy and Mimi Pultman

Congregation: B’nai Amoona

Date of bar/bat Mitzvah: May 26, 2012 

Location of reception: J. Bucks Restaurant Downtown 

Favorite memory?

First, Caleb has a wonderful work ethic and took very seriously his preparation and Torah study. It was a delight to see him so self-motivated to study, learn and really understand the bigger picture of what becoming a bar mitzvah truly meant. Caleb had a great attitude and his hard work resulted in a poised and confident young man. 

The second is of Andy, Caleb and I standing on the bimah — looking out into the congregation, seeing all of the important people in Caleb’s life filling the seats and enjoying this simcha with us. I get faklemt every time I think about it!


Tip for other parents planning their child’s bar or bat mitzvah? 

My tip for other parents preparing for a bar or bat mitzvah would be to focus on the “mitzvah” and less on the “bar” part! This step in your child’s life is not the finale of their Jewish education, it is just the beginning. Keep your eye on what is really meaningful and important. Everything else is will fall into place.


 Rina Gersten

Parents:Mark Gersten and Laura Shapiro

Congregation: B’nai Amoona

Date of bat mitzvah: Sept. 1, 2012

Location of reception:  B’nai Amoona


Favorite memory?

My favorite memory is seeing how Rina evolved in the experience. I loved seeing Rina up there confidently leading the davening and chanting from the Torah and Haftorah.  I love that she took control, was empowered, and owned the experience. 


Tip for other parents? 

It is amazing to see your child go through the process of learning everything for their bar or bat mitzvah.  

At first it is overwhelming to both the child and to the parent to think of all the things they need to learn.  However, set high goals for your children. They will never cease to amaze you as to what they can learn if they put their mind to it. 



Adam Schenberg

Parents: David and Randi Schenberg

Congregation: B’nai Amoona

Date of bar mitzvah: June 9, 2012

Location of reception: Moolah Bowl




At the service, Adam and Ben signing at the end of the Musaf service with Hazzan Sharon Nathanson.  

At the party, seeing everyone hanging out on the couches just relaxing and enjoying themselves — it was a casual party in a unique location and everyone talked about how much fun they were having.


Tip for other parents? 

Thirteen year olds come in all ages and sizes and maturity levels.  Be sure to have a party that reflects your child. My boys both wanted casual parties and we were happiest keeping the details to a minimum and just letting everyone have fun. 

Our kids are both summer birthdays and were one of the last to be bar  mitzvah’d in their grades. It is good to think of something unique, because the kids tire of going to the same parties — especially by June.  We had destinations that had not been “overused” so that all the kids (and our friends) were still excited to come.


 Jake Burstein

Parents: Laurie and Mark Burstein

Congregation: Shaare Emeth

Date of bar mitzvah:  March 2, 2013

Location of reception:  Kiddush lunch following service at Temple, with a party that evening at Adrenaline Zone.


Favorite memory?

There were so many great moments that it is hard to just pick one.  From weekly sessions with our cantor and taking on several mitzvah projects, to planning all the party details and listening to my son practice his Torah portion, it is really a journey.  When the day finally arrives, it is an incredible experience to have all of your family and friends from near and far in one place to share in such a special time.


Tip for other parents? 

The cliché is true to be present and don’t sweat the small stuff. No one but you notices what shade of blue the napkins are. Once my son began chanting from the Torah at the service all the details fell away and I saw what the day was really all about.  The bar mitzvah weekend was about bringing family and friends together for prayer and celebration.  Enjoy every minute because it really does go by fast.  

Mollie Weinberg

Parents: Nancy and Larry Weinberg

Congregation: United Hebrew 

Date of bat mitzvah: May 4, 2013

Location of reception: Meadowbrook Country Club


Favorite memory?

Looking back, our favorite memory of the experience was when she read from the Torah and led the prayers.  It was like all the preparation of Hebrew lessons and religious school came together in one moment to transform our little girl into a confident adult.  There are no words to describe how proud we were of her accomplishments. It was also fun to see how much she enjoyed celebrating with her friends at the reception. 


Tip for other parents? 

One tip we can share with other parents is to remember that the small details that sometimes eat up your time are often the things other people don’t notice.  Make sure you don’t spend your time stressing over things that don’t represent the blessings of the day.  Aesthetics are great, but friends and family are the most important elements to any celebration. 

Michael Wasserman

Parents: Karen and Andy Wasserman

Congregation: United Hebrew

Date of bar/bat mitzvah: Sept. 1, 2012

Reception location: Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles


Favorite memory?

My favorite bar mitzvah experience was watching Michael methodically practicing for his bar mitzvah at home, with his wonderful Hebrew tutor, Eudice Rosenblatt, and on the bimah at with Cantor Ronald Eichaker.  I enjoyed watching him practice his prayers, Torah portion, Haftorah and speeches. 


Tip for other parents? 

I would like to share the fact that the bar mitzvah is a work in progress. Pace yourself with the preparations and know that you should make a checklist and check items off your list so that the planning is not as overwhelming as it appears.    

Have your child practice a little each day and as the bar/bat mitzvah date draws near, have your child practice up on the bimah almost daily so the child becomes comfortable on the bimah looking down at the congregation.  We observed the kids who appeared uncomfortable either did not take enough time practicing and rehearsing or did not have enough time on the bimah to become comfortable leading the service.