Gabrielle (Gabi) Claire and Tyler Benjamin Swartz celebrated their b’nai mitzvah last May at Temple Sinai. The son and daughter of Kimberly and Jonathan Swartz — and younger siblings to Madeline — had the parsha Naso, which also happened to be Maddie’s parsha in May 2018.
During the service, they wore tallit purchased by Maddie during her eighth-grade trip to Israel with Davis Academy. While reading from the Torah, Tyler also wore a tallit that belonged to his maternal great-grandfather, Benjamin Dornfest.
Then the post-ceremony festivities began at the popular Ponce City Market. For the party, Gabi wore a silver sequined Jovani dress with custom painted Nike Air Force One high tops. Tyler wore a Brooks Brothers khaki suit and Vineyard Vines tie.
“Choosing a twin mitzvah party theme isn’t easy, especially with a boy and girl,” said mom Kim Swartz. “As native Atlantans, we decided that our hometown could be a great theme, with the slogan, ‘Raise the Roof.’
Kim was doodling one day and figured out that ‘ATL, GA’ incorporated both Tyler and Gabi’s first initials, so the design team got to work on creating logos. Gabi used a soccer ball next to her G and Tyler had a golf club propped against his T. The centerpieces included Coca-Cola bottles and Delta airplanes.”
The twins, who are eighth graders at Davis Academy, are best friends, choosing to spend a good deal of time together. They are both excellent students, but also have different interests in and out of the classroom. Gabi has been playing select soccer since she was eight. She enjoys traveling to tournaments around the country with her teammates, while Tyler prefers to focus on individual sports such as golf and sailing. Tyler also has a passion for history and geography and enjoys traveling to many of the places about which he has studied.
All three Swartz kids have attended Camp Seafarer and Camp Sea Gull on the North Carolina coast, so for their mitzvah project, Gabi and Tyler raised money to send less fortunate kids to camp. They want more children to be able to experience sleepaway camp as they have, growing in self-confidence, independence, resilience and the ability to learn new skills and make new friends.
Tyler used his sailing expertise to race Sunfish sailboats in a camp regatta, raising $2,000, while Gabi joined her mom and sister in the annual Charleston Half Marathon and 5K with a team of camp friends and counselors. Their “Run a Kid to Camp” team raised enough funds to send several girls from single-parent households to camp. Participating in their mitzvah projects was a rewarding experience for Gabi and Tyler. They plan to continue volunteering with the camp and other philanthropies in the future.
Party planner Tara Kornblum, of Bluming Creativity, was no stranger. Kornblum had worked with Tara previously on Maddie’s bat mitzvah at Summerour Studio. “It was a ‘no brainer’ to use Tara and many of our same vendors,” Kim said. “The twins’ original mitzvah date was May 30, 2020 — for which they had been specifically studying. Because of COVID, after a few stressful weeks, we decided to reschedule.
Waiting an entire year seemed excessive, but it turned out to be the best solution. We were fortunate that most everyone was vaccinated by then; and since we were outdoors on the rooftop, masks were optional. Our family couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. The party began with a cocktail hour for the adults, while the kids had the opportunity to play retro games in Skyline Park with a Coney Island-style boardwalk including mini golf, horse derby race, basketball, Skee-Ball, and break-a-plate.”
The catering options featured cedar plank salmon with grilled vegetables and several salad choices; a Korean bulgogi station; and a South City Kitchen southern food station. Desserts included bourbon peach pie, key lime pie, a soda “pop” station where chefs prepared sabayon on dry ice blocks and a mini doughnut display from Five Daughters Bakery.
- STYLE Magazine
- Marcia Caller Jaffe
- Temple Sinai
- Ronald and Judy Cohen Facility Improvement Fund at Temple Sinai
- Bar Mitzvah
- Bat Mitzvah
- Gabrielle (Gabi) Claire
- Tyler Benjamin Swartz
- parsha Naso
- Ponce City Market
- Nike Air Force One
- Brooks Brothers
- Vineyard Vines
- Camp Seafarer
- Camp Sea Gull
- Charleston Half Marathon
- Run A Kid To Camp
- Bluming Creativity
- Tara Kornblum
- Summerour Studio
- Skyline Park
- Coney Island
- South City Kitchen
- Five Daughters Bakery