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Parents Brian Dickerson and Laura Berman of Birmingham look over
daughter Lina's Torah portion for her bat mitzvah.
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Beth El's personal approach engages
b'nai mitzvah families in learning.
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March 7 • 2013
Laura Berman of Birmingham
talked about the warmth of the experi-
ence. "One big one for us: learning that
emple Beth El students who all of our family, regardless of religious
will become b'nai mitzvah at background, can be included in Lina's
least one year from now — bat mitzvah service. The presence of
and their families — began the learn- the rabbis and temple president gave
ing process recently with Mattan Torah
the day special importance. I didn't
(the gift of Torah).
grow up in a Judaism this warm and
On a Shabbat morning, they attended inclusive, so it's nice to see that, even
services at the Bloomfield Township
after thousands of years, we're still
synagogue and then the children offi-
cially received their Torah portions and
As Emma Morganroth of
were blessed by the entire clergy team.
Birmingham received her Torah por-
Then, each child, along with his or her
tion, her mother, Andrea, said, "We
parents, studied their Torah portion.
beamed with pride. In almost one
The families also learned about the
year from that date, we will watch her
year ahead, the study and prepara-
become a bat mitzvah. We found the
tion involved, and how families can
program to be very helpful in prepar-
be involved during this year of growth
ing us for the coming year and the
and transition. The focus was on Torah responsibilities and commitment that
and worship. As one parent said, "This are required by all of us:'
was about the mitzvah; not the bar:'
Some families experienced the pro-
Barb Shaya of Birmingham said that gram with a strong family connection.
For Donovan Brown and his par-
"attending the Mattan Torah program
highlighted the fact that my son is
ents, Steve and Julie Brown, of West
lovingly supported by a community
Bloomfield, Mattan Torah was a
of individuals. The fact that all clergy,
wonderful introduction to his bar
the B'nai Mitzvah Club coordinator
mitzvah year. Donovan shares a special
and the temple president were present bond with his Poppy, the late Newton
to mark the beginning of this journey
Bernstein. Not only are their birthdays
made it clear how important this time
only one day apart, but Donovan will
is in my son's life:'
be studying the exact Torah portion
Parents found the program thought- his grandfather had 66 years ago.
fully conceived, welcoming, informa-
Donovan "liked the way they had to
tive and meaningful. It engaged the
learn a few things about their Torah
families, providing a real launch to
portion and share them with their
the year-long journey and answering
classmates:' He added that he was
eager and ready to learn and study.
Special to the Jewish News