B Mitzvah Program Graduates Present Personal Projects
JKG students completed the B Mitzvah program with a presentation of their personal interest projects, which focused on a wide range of Jewish-focused research and charitable causes.
On Sunday, May 29, two cohorts of Jewish Kids Groups B Mitzvah students completed their two-year program with an outdoor ceremony at Heritage Sandy Springs. The B Mitzvah program, the follow-up to JKG’s Jewish After-School program, consists largely of charity-focused work concentrating on Jewish values.
This is the fifth year the program is holding a ceremony.
“It’s not about the party at the end,” said JKG Director Ana Robbins, “it’s about the two years leading up to that.”
In the second year of the program, students chose a topic of personal interest to them and explored it throughout the year as their personal interest project (PIP). This culminated in the B Mitzvah ceremony, in which students explained their projects to their peers and family and received blessings from their parents. While the ice cream truck, balloons, presents, giant Jenga and other field games were enjoyable, the highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of the students’ chosen projects.
The two cohorts, totaling 17 students, were split into two ceremonies, one taking place in the morning and the other in the afternoon. B Mitzvah director Sydney Popsuj introduced the students at the beginning of each ceremony. The day was windy, and both sets of students found it hard to keep a tight grip on their papers.
The PIPs included a wide range of topics. Several students focused on the Holocaust, exploring the stories of those who had experienced it. Jude Anstey spoke about Dutch watchmaker Corrie ten Boom, who, along with her family, hid hundreds of Jews in her house in the Netherlands — a house he recreated in Minecraft for his PIP. Theo Nash presented on Irene Hasenberg Butter, a Holocaust survivor and author of the book “Shores Beyond Shores,” whom he was able to personally interview.
Several students focused on antisemitism. Michael Friedman focused on recent incidents of antisemitism in Atlanta, Tali Donsky made an animated short film about the rise of antisemitism, and Evelyn Golubock focused on grasping antisemitism through art, making a zine — a small book of poetry and short stories — exploring the topic.
Two students focused on Jewish mythology. Jaxson Rosenhaft explored the connection between Greek and Jewish myths and stories, while Lilah Didier-Sober created tarot card art inspired by her exploration of Jewish folklore/mysticism.
Others focused on famous Jews whom they looked up to. Nathaniel Abcug learned about various Jewish baseball players and made “baseball cards” that used their connections to Judaism instead of the traditional baseball stats. Abcug also made cards based on his classmates. Nora Baruch made a slideshow/matching game featuring her favorite Jewish photographers. Lauren Kaplan focused on five Jewish women who inspired her, and painted their portraits, including her relative, Regina Gilbert-Baskin, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Two students focused on tikkun olam and sustainability. Grant Kingsbury worked with Repair the World, helping impoverished communities in Atlanta through gardening and agricultural services. Zoe Diamond-Wilding focused on climate change and worked with local nonprofit Concrete Jungle on urban foraging and farming.
Other PIP topics included various acts of charity and study. Avi Haimovitz collected donations of toys for kids in the hospital. Julius Pierce researched how COVID-19 affected animal shelters and adopted a dog. Zack Shores explored the community side of Judaism at the JCC. Marlowe Greenberg researched and baked traditional Jewish pastries. Oliver Yoxall volunteered at the Breman Home, in the assisted-living section.
After the presentations, students led a brief Havdalah ceremony, were presented with gift bags and came to the front to be showered with candy. The students then went to the back field, where they had a chance to physically present their projects, as well as get ice cream and play some field games. As part of the very last JKG craft project, the parents were invited to sign their students’ challah covers.
For more information about the B Mitzvah program, visit https://www.jewishkidsgroups.com/bnei-mitzvah
- Simcha Spotlight
- Bar Mitzvah
- Robert Garber
- Jewish Kids Groups B-Mitzvah
- JKG’s Jewish After-School
- Anna Robbins
- Sydney Popsuj
- Corrie ten Boom
- Irene Hasenberg Butter
- Shores Beyond Shores
- Michael Friedman
- Tali Donsky
- Evelyn Golubock
- Jaxson Rosenhaft
- Nathaniel Abcug
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg
- Tikkun Olam
- Grant Kingsbury
- Repair the World
- Avi Haimovitz