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April 29, 1988 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-04-29

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The New Celebrations

home to change for the Silver-
dome party. Our daughters,
Jessica and Sarah, and some
female cousins and a few
adult chaperones joined us in
the press box for a dinner that
Nate and I selected together.
After the game, we went back
to the press box for bar mitz-
vah cake and make-your-own
The preceding Friday night,
the Sahns invited out of town
guests to a buffet deli supper
at their home, but kept a 9
p.m. "curfew" so that Nate
had plenty of rest before his
important day. While the
Sahns were at the Silverdome
party, their parents enter-
tained out-of-town guests.
"It was important to us that
Nate have warm memories of
his bar mitzvah as a Jewish
affair, and that he was sur-
rounded by his family and
friends," Mrs. Sahn said.
Barbara and Chuck Barris,
with daughter Marah, decid-
ed on a kosher square
dance/hay ride to celebrate
son Ari's bar mitzvah last
fall. A friend of Barbara's had
attended a summer bat mitz-
vah at the Lazy J Ranch in
Milford and told the Barrises
about it. Now the Barrises get
calls for information on their
• Ari became bar mitzvah at
Congregation Beth Achim
and his party was held Sun-
day evening, complete with
cowboy hats and yarmulkes.
"We had 180 guests, 60 of
them Ari's friends whom we
took to the party by bus," said
Mrs. Barris. "It was a casual,
blue jean party, and we gave
all the kids cowboy hats when
they got on the bus."
Straw cowboy hats were
also used as centerprices,
stuffed with tissue and candy
and tied to balloons. The food
was kosher, catered by Lil
Bloom's, and included coneys,
fried chicken, cole slaw, fresh
fruit and Zeman's pastries for
"My father made Hamotze
over the challah, and we had
a brief candlelighting
ceremony," said Mrs. Barris.
"My son was afraid his
friends wouldn't square so we
had a DJ for the kids and the
adults square danced while
the kids were on the hayride.
When the kids came back
some adults went out on a
hayride and the DJ took over.
"It took three trips to
Milford that Sunday to get
everything out there and set
up," Mrs. Barris said. "The
party ran from 7 to 11 p.m.
and we had the kids back
home by midnight. At first,
our own relatives weren't so
sure about this type of party,
but everyone there had a ball
no matter what the age."

Dance contests and a menu
after a kid's own heart
highlighted Rebecca Sonkin's
bat mitzvah party at home
last September. The Sonkin's
home has a walk-out lower
level which was transformed
into a pink, black and grey
cabaret replete with silver,
stars and balloons.
"We served all the foods
kids love," said Sydelle
Sonkin — "little hot dogs, lit-
tle pizzas, little hamburgers,
chicken strips, cheese fingers,
chocolate chip cookies,
brownies and cake. There was
not one morsel left and the
kids didn't stop dancing."
Ice cream parlor-type tables
and chairs were set up and a
DJ kept the dance contests
going. Sheldon and Sydelle
Sonkin and a few adult
friends chaperoned. A
"bartender" tended the pop
bar and some college students
took Polaroid photographs of
the guests as souvenirs, si-
multaneously making a
duplicate to be included in a
scrapbook commemorating
the evening.
"Also, five of her friends
sang a song they composed
about Rebecca," said Mrs.
Sonkin. "Those 60 kids were
so well behaved. And the
house didn't stop shaking for
four hours."
While the Sunday night
party at home was strictly for
kids, following Shabbat ser-
vices at Mat Shalom the
Sonkins had a "truly adult"
luncheon at Wabeek. "The
only children there were ours
— Rebecca, Joel and Paul —
and our 2-year-old nephew. At
the luncheon we had an ex-
cellent pianist and the tradi-
tional brachas and
candlelighting ceremonies,"
said Mrs. Sonkin. "With
these two celebrations I made
both my husband and my
daughter happy."
celebrations in Detroit have
included bowling outings and
backyard swim parties. And
the Ann Arbor Jewish com-
munity is stil talking about
the bar mitzvah picnic held
on the grounds of Willoway
Day camp which included
boating, swimming, go-
karting and other outdoor
Some families plan trips to
Israel for a bar mitzvah at the
Wall or on Masada and then
host a kids' party when they
return. Others have planted
trees in Israel for guests in
lieu of party souvenirs. Still
others hold an oneg Shabbat
or a simple kiddush following
But what links past to pre-
sent is the pride of family and
friends in the achievements of
the bar/bat mitzvah.


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