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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What if I could not log in to watch the Service on Zoom? Was it recorded?
    Video of the Saturday morning B'nai Mitzvah Service is available on YouTubehere. Video of the Friday night Shabbat Service where the kids blessed the candles and wine (starting at the 9:00 minute mark in the video) is available on YouTubehere.
  • How can I send a message to Ethan and/or Marisa?
    Ethan and Marisa would LOVE to hear from you! We created a Message Board, here, where you can posts notes, comments, photos, and videos. If snail-mail is more your style, our address is: 28 Speir Dr South Orange, NJ 07079
  • What is a B'nai Mitzvah?
    B’nai (also spelled B'nei) is the plural form of the words “Bar” and “Bat.” Bar is an Aramaic word literally meaning "son" while bat means "daughter" in Hebrew, and mitzvah means "commandment" or "law" (plural: mitzvot). The term refers to the person that participates in the ritual, although it is also used to refer to the ritual, itself. Historically, first bar mitzvah and later bat mitzvah represented a ceremonial recognition that a young person had reached the age when he or she was no longer a minor according to Jewish law and thereby took on new religious privileges and responsibilities of an adult. For boys, this age was 13, for girls, 12. For more information, click here.
  • To which Temple/Congregation do you belong?
    Our family joined Temple Ner Tamid (TNT) in 2019, which was a long overdue and welcome change for all of us! We felt a deep connection to TNT, as Andrew's maternal grandfather's family were founding members of the Temple community nearly one hundred years ago! More recently, Marisa and Ethan's Uncle Josh, was inducted as the President of TNT. Josh's family also has a long history at TNT. On a more coincidental note, the Rabbi Emeritus, Rabbi Steven Kushner, hails from the Detroit-area and is related to Daina's family! Needless to say, joining TNT was a "coming home" of sorts for us!
  • Who helped Marisa and Ethan prepare to become B'nai Mitzvah?
    Joining TNT one year before the B'nai Mitzvah meant that both Ethan and Marisa had to adjust and adapt to TNT's requirements for Hebrew and Jewish Learning. The support that our family has received from TNT has been profound and overwhelming. We would like to thank everyone at TNT for all of their help over the past year. We cannot adequately express our sincere gratitude to everyone - especially Rabbi Marc Katz, Cantor Meredith Greenberg, and Ronni Pressman, Clergy Associate. Ethan and Marisa would also like to give special thanks to Nami Ratki, whose patience, kindness and enthusiasm buoyed their spirits and commitment to learning! Marisa and Ethan's parents would also like to give special thanks to Nami, as she worked so tirelessly with them, through the transition to a new Temple, as well as through the transition to COVID-19 lockdown. Nami is partly (if not mostly) responsible for our sanity related to the preparation for this simcah!
  • What will Ethan and Marisa do during the B'nai Mitzvah Service?
    Ethan and Marisa will help the Rabbi and Cantor lead the Temple Ner Tamid (TNT) community in prayer. They will each read or chant the b'rachot (blessings) over the Torah (an aliyah), read a section from the Torah, read a section from the Haftarah, and deliver a d’var Torah (Hebrew for "a word of Torah"), which is a talk or essay based on the parashah (the weekly Torah portion). Marisa and Ethan will also help to lead a select number of prayers. The Torah (Hebrew for “the teachings”) is the name given to the Five Books of Moses which come at the very beginning of the Bible. These books form the basis of all Jewish law and practice. A Torah scroll is a parchment scroll on which all five books have been inscribed by a specially trained calligrapher. Torah scrolls are typically kept in synagogues, in a special cabinet called an ark. In Judaism, Torah scrolls are considered the holiest objects and are handled with extreme affection and care. In particular, we are careful not to touch the parchment or text with our hands. For more, click here. The Hebrew word aliyah (literally, "going up") is used as a description of being "called up" to read from the Torah. Aliyah is also the word used to describe the act of immigration to Israel. In Jewish tradition, as far back as biblical times, going to Israel was always referred to as "going up." Traditionally, on Shabbat (Hebrew for "Sabbath") and holiday mornings, a selection from one of the biblical books of the Prophets is read after the Torah reading. The portion is known as the haftarah (hahf-tah-RAH, or in Ashkenazic Hebrew: hahf-TOH-rah). For more, click here.
  • What prayerbook will you be using?
    The link to our prayerbook is: Click the FIRST book - for Shabbat.
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