Mom, three daughters to celebrate b’not mitzvah

Mom, three daughters to celebrate b’not mitzvah

BY JILL KASSANDER, SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH LIGHT

Synagogue demographics can be funny things. Sometimes rabbis can go years without performing certain life cycle events. This Sunday, after almost two years in St. Louis, B’nai El Congregation’s Rabbi Daniel Plotkin will be leading his first bat mitzvah – times four. Jodi Sudin and her daughters Stephanie, Tiffany and Brittany will be celebrating this traditional coming of age ceremony in the life of a Jewish girl.

“The idea of their b’not mitzvah started before I came to the congregation. It originated with director of education Essie Mitchell. We wanted to give the family the opportunity to participate in this traditional Jewish coming of age ceremony,” said Rabbi Plotkin. “When I was 13, girls weren’t encouraged to have bat mitzvahs. Essie suggested we do it all together,” said Jodi.

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“We will be having a Havdalah service on Sunday morning, which gives us the opportunity to extend the sweetness of Shabbat. There will be brief Torah service where I will call them to the Torah for an aliyah. Each of them will give a unique presentation to honor their participation in the service. It is a wonderful educational opportunity for Sunday school students. The Sudin women hold a special place in our community with all the challenges they have faced as a family. Everyone is lending a hand to make sure the morning comes off without a hitch,” Rabbi Plotkin said.

“The Sudins are life long members of the synagogue and this is truly a congregational event,” said Temple Administrator Susan Baseley. The service is being held on Sunday morning so the entire religious school family can attend. Baseley, who loves crafting and scrap booking, designed special invitations which were sent to guests on Jodi’s personal list. Another invitation was designed and sent to the entire congregation. The religious school is sponsoring the reception after the service. Alice and Irv Sudin, Jodi’s in-laws, are sponsoring the bima baskets from the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry. Jodi’s husband Paul Sudin passed away in December 2002.

The Sudin women are looking forward to this special event in their Jewish lives. Tiffany is in 8th grade at Parkway Central Middle School. She loves playing field hockey and is a “spelling pro” according to Jodi. “I’m looking forward to hearing the speeches and being with family,” Tiffany said. Brittany, who is a 7th grader at Parkway Northeast Middle School, enjoys playing baseball and is a computer whiz.

Stephanie is active in the International Club at Parkway North High School where she is in the 10th grade. She has been volunteering weekly at Delmar Gardens of Chesterfield for three years. Said Stephanie, “I really have fun there and I like talking to the residents.”

Jodi has been a volunteer at the Butterfly House for six years. She is one of the greeters who welcomes visitors and gives them an overall orientation to the attraction. This week she was honored for her work there with an award from the Missouri Botanical Garden. She has also been working as a teaching assistant for three years with kindergartens at McKelvey Elementary School. Said Jodi, “I missed having a bat mitzvah when my friends were having theirs. Our dreams are coming true, because it is finally happening.”

The Sudin women’s b’not mitzvah will be held on Sunday morning, May 21 at 9:30 a.m. at B’nai El Congregation on the Harlene and Marvin Wool Campus. The community is invited to attend. For more information call 314-432-6393.