Category Archives: Bnai Mitzvah

Meet the B’nai Mitzvah

On Saturday, November 2, MCJC and the Purvin family will be doubly blessed when Hunter (הִלֵּל) and Miles (מֶלֶך) become B’nai Mitzvah.

The boys have been fixtures at MCJC for the past five years, and in that time they have learned Hebrew, Judaica, how to lead Shabbat services, and so much more.  They even brought Yarmulkes, Dreidels, and a Torah to Lundahl Middle School in Crystal Lake to share their love of Judaism with their classmates.

Like most twins, they have completely divergent interests. Hunter enjoys more of the dichotomy of construction (building with LEGOs and destroying with NERF Guns), while Miles is more often found in the kitchen in pursuit of his goal, to become Master Chef Junior, or as an actor on stage performing in various musicals.

Parents Jill and Andy could not be more proud of the two young men in their quests for higher learning. They eagerly anticipate the date when Hunter and Miles share their vision of their Parshah, Noah’s Ark.  Please enjoy the irony of twins reciting the liturgy of “Noah’s Ark.”

Max Parrish to Become Bar Mitzvah Saturday, August 31

I will become a Bar Mitzvah on Saturday, August 31 at the Bull Valley Country Club. I’ve been studying at MCJC since I was nine years-old. Judaism is important to me because you can express new ideas through religion. Judaism can be updated as it goes along with the future, so it stays relevant and keeps guiding humanity.

I attend Northwood Middle School in Woodstock. I like video games, Marvel movies, and anime. I’m interested in politics, geography, and cooking. When I grow up, I want to go abroad, see the world, and someday get a job in global politics.

My mom always does her best to make my life embarrassing, and my dad always makes me laugh. My sister, Lainey, just turned five, and she always brings joy to my life. I like to think that my older brother, Mason, watches over me in hard times. My dog is also always there to let me pet him when I need comfort.

Becoming a Bar Mitzvah means I have matured as a person and advanced the experiences that will build my future. I believe becoming a Bar Mitzvah is important for Jewish youth to give them a sense of accomplishment and determination in their Jewish studies.

The Shamash family and MCJC invite our entire MCJC community to share our joy

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, April 13 at 4:30 pm

The Shamash family and MCJC invite our entire MCJC community to share in the Simchas of Ari and Noah becoming B’nai Mitzvah on Saturday, April 13 at 4:30 pm, at MCJC.

Mazal Tov to Ari and Noah and their parents, Michelle and

In their own words . . .

Here are messages from Ari and Noah about their Mitzvah Projects:

Ari Shamash

Hi! This is Ari Shamash. I am doing a project for my Bar Mitzvah. We will donate to the homeless veterans program TLS (

On their website it states: “At TLS Veterans, our vision is to transform lives through service to veterans. Our mission is to provide veterans in need and their families the services necessary to experience hope and achieve success. We do this through our four main values of respect, integrity, compassion and advocacy.”

TLS is located in McHenry and helps veterans and their families in our area who cannot support themselves for a number of reasons. TLS Is looking for the following items:

  • Men’s Clothing
  • Womens Clothing
  • Children/Infants clothing or supplies
  • Electrical Items
  • Computers
  • Kitchen Items
  • Sporting Goods
  • FurnitureTextiles (Towels, Blankets, Pillows, etc.)
  • Books, Records, etc.
  • Toys, Games
  • Appliances

Please see the TLS website for more information.

Thank you very much, Ari

Noah Shamash

Hi! My name is Noah Shamash. For my Bar Mitzvah, I am donating to Save-a-Pet.

Save-a-Pet is a nonprofit organization and one of the biggest no-kill rescues in Lake County. They rescue and re-home many cats and dogs. This has led to over 61,000 adoptions of cats and dogs. Please go to to learn more.

My dog Tucker, and my cat, Huel, were both rescued from Save-a-Pet.

Items on the Save-a-Pet wish list include:

  • Canned cat food/canned tuna
  • Cat litter
  • Dry cat food
  • Canned dog food
  • Dog treats
  • Dog collars… big and/or small
  • Six foot leashes
  • Frontline Plus or Petarmor Plus
  • Meat-based baby food
  • Fish oil supplements
  • Fiber supplements
  • Quick read thermometers
  • Q-tips
  • Small paper plates
  • Cleaning supplies such as paper towels, garbage bags, Windex
  • Gift cards for fuel or office supplies
  • Plastic totes

Animals mean a lot to me. Thank you for donating to a good cause.


B’nai Mitzvah Meet and Greet

All MCJC families whose children are entering B’nai Mitzvah age are invited to meet-up at MCJC on Sunday, August 12, 2018, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.

This Meet and Greet will be a great opportunity to meet other B’nai Mitzvah parents, talk with B’nai Mitzvah veterans (MCJC parents whose children were already Bar or Bat Mitzvah), to ask questions, and to find out best practices to make the entire process less stressful — meaningful and with wonderful memories.

A dairy nosh will be provided. Please RSVP to Rabbi Tom at:

Religious School News: Endings and Beginnings

Religious school concluded in early May with teacher recaps from the year, speeches, and thank you comments from Rob Perbohner to Brian Horn and Zach for ALL THEY DO (Zach moved to Tennessee). Paula Eskoz was also recognized because she will not be returning on Sundays in the fall but will remain as a teacher on Wednesday afternoons. A thank you was made to our aides, Sienna and Kayla, who helped us out so much.

This was followed by a rousing game of JEWpardy led by Paula and Davina. We matched adults against the children, and though it was a very tight and exciting game, the kids pulled out the win! Fun was had by all.

Hopefully everybody is enjoying their summer break so far . . . having fun and staying safe. Calendars will be announced, but school will resume in late August this year.

We will have some staff changes this fall as follows:

  • Sundays: K-1: TBA
  • 2-3: Davina Kelly
  • 4-7: Dara Turnball and Rita Janowitz (Judaica)
  • 2-7: Paula Eskoz (Hebrew, Wednesdays)
  • 4-7: Rabbi Tom (Hebrew B’nai Mitzvah Club)
  • Computer Lab: Rachel Bailenson

Wednesdays will see changes as well. All grades will be together in the sanctuary with different Hebrew stations: Rabbi’s B’nai Mitzvah Hebrew, Computer Lab, Hebrew games, and ESPECIALLY individual Hebrew reading with the students at their own levels. Our intent is to “beef up” our Hebrew program this year.

Finally, new school-wide curriculum is being decided upon and purchased this summer as teachers continue to have meetings. We will use a program which will have consistency, building upon Hebrew reading skills and prayers throughout the grades. This also will have an online component, and can be used at home as well for reinforcement and enrichment.

Meet the Bar Mitzvah: Seth Turnball

I turned 13 in December and will be having my Bar Mitzvah service on May 26. One of my favorite sports is basketball; I have been playing since first grade. I’ve played on a traveling league for the past three years, where I get to go all over Wisconsin for games.

I am in the dual language program in my public school where I spend half my day in English and the other half in Spanish. My goal is to have my Biliteracy Seal on my high school diploma.

I also have been playing percussion in band for the past four years. I joined the jazz band in middle school, and really love playing the full drum kit in the fun songs we play.

I first decided to join Hebrew school in third grade. I did not know what to be a Jew meant, other than the few things we did at home. Over time I have been learning and developing my own idea of being Jewish. I wanted to become a Bar Mitzvah because that takes me one step closer to the Jewish community and the MCJC community. I never would have gotten this far if it wasn’t for MCJC and the teachers. They have guided and helped me in so many ways.

One of my biggest passions is giving to those who need a little extra help. When I was younger and my mom took me to Chicago, I would bring all my money to give to the local homeless man where my Aunt
Lauren lived. This is why I have chosen to help my local homeless community with my mitzvah project.

I will be collecting donations for the local PADS shelter here in Woodstock. I will be setting up a collection at MCJC, looking for in kind donations of items such as $5 gift cards to locations like Wal-Mart, Target, CVS, Walgreens, and Jewel. You may also donate items such as hand warmers, sterno, bug spray, ponchos, canned food with easy pop-top lids, small battery operated flashlights, batteries, travel size toiletries, travel size first aid kits, battery operated radios, toilet paper, sun tan lotion, silverware, travel size sewing kits, travel size deodorants, variety sizes of Ziploc bags, and disposable containers for food.

B’nai Mitzvah Class with Rabbi Tom

At MCJC, we teach our children to question, to debate, to fall in love with Torah, while finding their own voices in the chorus of our tradition.

Our students don’t have a Bar or Bat Mitzvah – they become a Bar
or Bat Mitzvah. They become responsible adults in the Jewish community and in the world.

Starting in fourth grade and continuing on up to and even past our children’s Bnai Mitzvah ceremonies, Rabbi Tom trains our children to become fluent in the Shabbat morning prayer service which includes proficiency in reading Hebrew, knowing a variety of Jewish liturgical music, and finding personal meaning in the prayers themselves.