Isabelle (Izzy) Winarsky and her parents, Karen and Mark, breathed a sigh of relief after Izzy’s bat mitzvah went off without a hitch last November. With COVID still raging, plans were up in the air until the week prior to the big day.
But, with the help of the talented Marci Miller, of The Perfect Party, back-up plans were in place should anything need to change last-minute. The bat mitzvah turned out to be an oasis of togetherness. And the best part, for the Winarskys, was being able to have their closest friends and family attend in person.
Izzy prepared like most mitzvah students, with weeks via Zoom and masked tutoring sessions. A 7th grader at Westminster, she has followed in her mother Karen’s footsteps, attending both Westminster and The Temple.
“Since Izzy goes to a private school, it was also important to become a bat mitzvah,” Karen said. “She worked super hard and did the bat mitzvah with Charlotte Sommerfeld. They worked well together and did an amazing job which was important to both families. Because of COVID, they had all heard so many stories of canceled events. We were crossing our fingers and toes if it would come together and we’d all be in the sanctuary and have the celebration. We got lucky on November 6, there was a little window of time that felt possible. Family and friends came from all over the country attending, even up until the very last moment, people came.”
The weekend festivities included catering by Endive, with a Friday night dinner at Endive’s restaurant venue for 40 family and friends who had traveled from far away. Karen added, “Izzy’s bat mitzvah was filled with meaning. Rabbi Lapidus officiated, and she had officiated many of our family’s simchas, including my mother Elaine Koenig’s funeral.”
A kiddush followed the ceremony and the girls rented centerpieces (called “renterpieces”) through JF&CS. Since she loves to bake, Izzy’s mitzvah project was a sweet one, baking pastries for a program at The Temple that reaches out to people convalescing, or in need of something to brighten their day.
“Saturday night the party was incredible and Marci, who is such a pro, helped us pivot through the pandemic and had a ton of ideas for décor, including a logo and Izzy’s name enlarged,” Karen said. “The party venue had included an outdoor tent, and with plan b in place, the goal was still to make everyone feel comfortable. The event was bright with blues and purples and Marci did a phenomenal job. We had Atlanta Fever as the DJ and they did a lot of fun things with Izzy’s love of basketball. Because of COVID, the kids had not had a lot of parties and mostly girls attended, dressed up, hair done, and they were all into it. The food by Endive was delicious and a buffet included a Poké Bar, lots of different dishes and received rave reviews.”
Since Izzy is a huge basketball fan and loves the Atlanta Hawks, photographer Dani Weiss had a ball shooting Izzy on the court (before the mitzvah) and dribbling a basketball in her high-top sneakers. “The Winarskys are such a friendly, outgoing family, with a photographic and beautiful daughter,” Weiss said. “I love documenting a family’s history and telling the story of their simchas.”
The highlight of the party, Karen said, was when the family “walked into the room and there were huge letters that said IZZY and balloons and everything popped. Izzy’s excitement was huge, and, after all the planning, she saw this was all for her, especially after working so hard, it was such a good feeling.”
Event planner Marci Miller said, “The first thing we did was to create a logo with Izzy’s colors of aqua blue and purple with the help of Jen Leitman of Mitzvah Memos. I wanted to do something fun and different, and the logo was a springboard and incorporated the design. I was involved from start to finish and as a full-service event planner. The one thing that I loved, which showed up in the photographs, was we did Izzy’s name in 5-foot light-up letters, which was so cute. You could see it in every direction. We also did a really cool organic balloon on the ceiling, different sizes, by Funorama Parties. It was very colorful, grabbed your eye and gave it a whimsical touch.”
Focusing on the safety of the guests was the priority, Miller said. “I think smaller parties are actually more fun than the larger ones. Izzy and her family were a delight to work with and the nicest family, which made it such a memorable event for us all.”
As Izzy’s simcha came to an end, her sister, Sara, was about to find out the date of her bat mitzvah. Hopefully, said Karen, “We won’t have to worry about the pandemic since it’s two years or so away.”
- STYLE Magazine
- Bar Mitzvah
- Bat Mitzvah
- Robyn Spitzman Gerson
- Isabelle (Izzy) Winarsky
- The Temple Atlanta
- Jewish Family and Career Services
- Atlanta Hawks
- State Farm Arena
- Atlanta Fever Entertainment
- Marci Miller
- The Perfect Party
- Charlotte Sommerfeld
- Rabbi Lapidus
- Poké Bar
- Dani Weiss
- Jen Leitman
- Mitzvah Memos
- Funorama Parties