Welcome to my Bar Mitzvah Project Page. While preparing to be called to the Bimah, along with learning my haftarah, I'll be working on my Mitzvah (good deed) project. Follow my Bar Mitzvah Journey as I spread book joy to schools & libraries, as well as, educate and shine a bright light on Jewish stories & authors.
2/12/23 Torah Portion:
I received my Torah Portion and Haftarah! After anxiously waiting for weeks, I was given the Torah Portion I'll be reading from: Shemot Verses 3:1-4:17, and my Haftarah, Isaiah 27:6-28:13, 29:22-23.
Every "candidate" or B'Nai Mitzvah is selected special verses to chant and speak about based off their birthdate. Since my Jewish birthday is January 3rd, I will be chanting one of the most important haftarot and parashah. I'll be discussing Moses being called upon by God at the Burning Bush, and how the Israelites followed their ancestors hundreds of years after the great Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, and Moses passed.
The big day is approaching and I'm incredibly nervous, excited, and anxious. Responsibility, or Achrayut will be a word I'll be hearing quite a bit as I become a Jewish adult. Soon, I'll be beginning by Bar Mitzvah training, wear my Tallit for the first time, and before I know it, I'll be on the bimah in front of the whole congregation. My friends, family, and regulars at my synagogue. I'm so excited for the journey ahead, and I hope you'll join me along the bumpy, joyful, and meaningful ride!
4/23 Meeting with Rabbi Herman:
My parents and I met with Rabbi Herman today, and talked about what a Bar Mitzvah means to me, as well as everything I'm hoping to accomplish for my Bar Mitzvah project. We also spoke about my hobbies and our mutual interests in quiz bowl and sports! I'm really enjoying getting to know our Rabbi and I'm looking forward to studying Torah with him & preparing for my important & special day! Stay tuned!
Rabbi Herman & Me!
As I continue my journey to Jewish adulthood, one journey, Sunday School, comes to an end, and a new one begins. I can't believe I'm going to start officially training for my bar mitzvah! Look out Bimah cause here I come!
“Whoever saves a single life is considered to have saved the whole world” A VISIT TO MOSCOW is a #story that needs to be read! In a graphic #novel portrayed in bold & colorful illustrations, Anna Olswanger shines a light on what really happened to the #Jewish people in the Soviet Union. A VIST TO MOSCOW is the retelling of what Rabbi Rafael Grossman witnessed during his visit to the Soviet Union in 1965. A heartfelt tale that I hope #teachers & #librarians will “Whoever saves a single life is considered to have saved the whole world” A VISIT TO MOSCOW is a story that needs to be read! In a graphic novel portrayed in bold & colorful illustrations, Anna Olswanger shines a light on what really happened to the Jewish people in the Soviet Union. A VIST TO MOSCOW is the retelling of what Rabbi Rafael Grossman witnessed during his visit to the Soviet Union in 1965. A heartfelt tale that I hope teachers & librarians share with kids all over! A story I’m proud to highlight this month for my bar mitzvah project. Throughout the year I’m spotlighting Jewish authors & the stories they write on my bar mitzvah website https://etraintalks.com & on my social media. Find your copy of this important read at your nearest library at https:/worldcat.org Adapted by: Anna Olswanger Illustrated by: Yevgenia Published by: West Margin Press
“ How do you deal with fear & prejudice as a kid? Huge question right! What if the hate you feel was taught by your teacher? The middle grade, graphic novel, “THE BASKETBALL GAME,”
THE BASKETBALL GAME is an important Jewish themed MUST read, about kids overcoming Prejudice & breaking barriers! I hope teachers and librarians from all over share this story with their students! The Basketball Game important story has also been made into a short film by author & film maker Hart Snider
by Hart Snider &
published by FireFly
Find it at your local library at: https://www.worldcat.org/title/1302338859
I'm raising funds to buy books to donate to schools, libraries & kids in need! My mission is to spread book joy & inspire a love of reading! You can help me purchase books by donating to my GoFundMe Account. Thank you!
In this video I’m celebrating the book birthday of the wonderful picture book, OUT AND ABOUT: A TALE OF GIVING by the amazing author Liza Wiemer! Watch as I share a sneak peek into this sweet, meaningful & Jewish themed story aloud! Written by author Liza Wiemer Illustrated by Margeaux Lucas Published by Kalaniot Books
I loved reading APPLES APPLES, ALL YEAR ROUND! A picture book, written by the author duo of Barbara Beitz & June Sobel, perfectly expresses the significance of apples in Jewish culture. A sweet read to go along with a sweet fruit! If you’re looking for a special story that tells the tales of every Jewish holiday, in an easy-to-read book, APPLES APPLES, ALL YEAR ROUND is perfect for you!
In honor of Pride Month, I sat down virtually with the FABULOUS author Jake Maia Arlow! Jake is an award-winning middle-grade and young adult author, whose stories are relatable and seriously relevant works of writing art! I was so excited to have the chance to talk with Jake about their newest middle-grade realistic fiction, diverse masterpiece, THE YEAR MY LIFE WENT DOWN THE TOILET. This book includes themes of queerness, Judaism, family drama, and even touches on the subject of Crohn’s disease￼, Jake packs this epic & heartwarming middle school adventure with everything needed to make THE YEAR MY LIFE WENT DOWN THE TIOLET your next favorite MGLIT read! But don’t take my word for it, watch our epic talk and find out more (and read Jake's book)! Want to learn more! Check out Jake Maia Arlow's website at: https://www.jakewhosagirl.com/
I'm Spot Lighting Jake Maia Arlow This Month for Pride Month! A Jewish Author & Jewish Themed Story Highlight!
In a world where books tend to just tackle one or two problems, author Jake Maia Arlow’s newest book, THE YEAR MY LIFE WENT DOWN THE TOILET, takes readers on a middle-school challenge filled journey, true to the lives of many tweens and teens today! With themes of queerness, religion, family, friendship, and the tummy ache of the century, Jake takes us on a coming-of-age reading adventure filled with everything needed to make this your new favorite read! I’m so glad I was able to review this fantastic book! THE YEAR MY LIFE WENT DOWN THE TOILET is a very special 10/10 read!
THE BOOK OF ELSIE
In honor of June being pride month, I'm spotlighting author Joanne Levey's Middle Grade story, THE BOOK OF ELSIE. Click the link or photo and listen to my book review. https://open.spotify.com/episode/0JMbNqPX2dMrTCJtEMQgDq?si=3bcbb4662f104057
Happy Jewish Heritage Month! To celebrate, I put together a playlist of all the incredible authors, of Jewish descent, I've had the honor of interviewing! Having the chance to meet & talk with so many amazing Jewish writers has been a dream come true & I am forever grateful! Click, Watch & Celebrate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncQwrnzF_YI&list=PL0K790j89gyHdTTmhODZBcDFh6y_1bqcs&pp=gAQB
Happy Jewish Heritage Month! To celebrate I'm spotlighting Canadian author and filmmaker Hart Snider.
I had the huge honor of interviewing the one and only film maker and middle-grade author of "The Basketball Game," Hart Snider! Hart is a director, writer, and story editor, who’s edited films and series for CBC, NFB, Paramount Television, Nat Geo, Global, History, Food Network, NBA Canada, and more, and yes, on top of all this, he’s also a published author! Not to mention Hart’s been Honored by the government of Alberta Canada and winner of most inspirational short film, as well as recognized for many of his incredible film and writing projects.
NOTE: More on author Hart Snider's book, THE BASKET BALL GAME. "Back in Alberta in the summer of 1983, representatives of a small town named Eckville met with a nearby Jewish community in Edmonton, after the antisemitic conspiracy theory-fuelled lessons of the town's social studies teacher and mayor, Jim Keegstra, became national news. They were invited to a get together at a Jewish summer camp, away from the press and onlookers, so that Keegstra's former students, who'd been taught so much hatred, could have a picnic, play sports, and meet Jewish kids for the first time. Filmmaker/Author Hart Snider was a scared nine year old that summer, who'd never even been away at camp before, and ended up playing in a basketball game he's never forgotten." You can read about Hart's experience in his graphic Novel THE BASKETBALL GAME, and watch our talk in this video to learn more.
Follow Hart Snider's journey here: http://www.cutandpaste.ca/
To commemorate the start of Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah), I spoke with Gidon Lev, co-author of THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF GIDON LEV: RASCAL. HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR. OPTIMIST," about his experiences before, during, and after the holocaust. Gidon is a hero! At just age 6 he was sent to the Terezin concentration camp and was one of only 29 children to survive, out of the15,000 total children sent. But Gidon's story doesn't end there! Today, at 88 years young, Gidon is kindness hero! He's he is teaching the world to be tolerant and he’s sharing the truth about the holocaust and helping to put an end to hate and antisemitism. Not only is Gidon speaking up against antisemitism, but he's has also taken social media by storm with his sensational TikToks, advocating for the next generation to speak out against injustice! Gidon's work inspires youth and adults alike to take a stand, to combat anti-semitism, and to reject hate in all forms. Gidon maintains that black rights, trans rights, women's rights, and ALL rights are human rights!
THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF GIDON LEV, by author Julie Gray, and written with Gidon Lev, shares the incredible story of Gidon’s journey, from before, during, and after being a child imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. Gidon’s story will remind you that anything is possible and to keep looking ahead for your next adventure! Follow Gidon's journey here: https://www.thetrueadventures.com
I’d been wanting to read the Holocaust graphic novel MAUS by Art Spiegelman for a while & I finally did! MAUS has been banned around the US & the world. It’s a story that needs to be told, read and remembered! Read MAUS & Never Forget! #NeverAgain
In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah), I had the honor of interviewing the multi award-winning author of over 45 fiction and non-fiction novels, author Carol Matas! I admire Carol because she shares the truth in her stories, the truth we all need to hear! Carol Matas is the author behind the well known middle grade Holocaust Novel, DANIEL'S STORY, which is one of the very first Holocaust stories written for children. "Daniel's Story" is also part of the inspiration behind the "Remember The Children: Daniel's Story" exhibition at the United States Holocaust Museum. Watch my interview with Carol and find out more about her amazing writing journey!
In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, I reviewed the moving middle grade novel DANIEL'S STORY by brilliant author Carol Matas! It's so important to shed light on what happened during the Holocaust to ensure it NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN! This story tells the heartbreaking truth. A story every kid and adult needs to read. Follow Carol Matas on social media & on her website at: https://carolmatas.com/
**Look for my interview with Carol Matas coming Spring of 2023
April is the month we remember those who perished in the Holocaust and I'm spotlighting authors who wrote stories to educate and inspire & teach the truth! In this video I speak with the award-wining author of meaningful YA, Adult, and Children's books, Liza Wiemer. Watch as Liza and I talk about everything from bullying to book banning, to combating anti-semitism. Liza is so passionate about teaching truth and stopping hate! I learned so much talking with her. Watch, learn and be inspired!
Since Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah)Holiday
I thought it would be the perfect time to share the profound Middle Grade/Young Adult novel, “THE ASSIGNMENT” by the brilliant author, Liza Wiemer. This story educated & inspired me! Tears welled in my eyes while reading it! Watch my book review of Liza’s beautiful book!
“Hana’s Suitcase: The Quest To Solve A holocaust mystery” is an award winning true story written by author Karen Levine. A heartfelt tale of one woman’s journey to start a Holocaust Education Center in Tokyo, Japan, and how in the process, she uncovers the mystery of Hana’s suitcase. An inspiring and meaningful book that needs to be read, told and shared in classrooms and libraries everywhere! 50/50! Stories like HANA'S SUITCAST must be read so we #NEVERFORGET
In keeping with my goal of reading books that are centered around WW2, I reviewed the thrilling middle grade non-fiction tale UNBREAKABLE: THE SPIES WHO CRACKED THE NAZIS’ SECRET CODE, by the talented & brilliant author Rebecca E. F. Barone. A story that reminds us of what went on behind the scenes in the desperate battle and race against the clock to end WW2. A page-turning true story you won’t want to put down until you’ve read every last incredible detail! 10/10
Advocating for literacy is my mission and I hope you'll help me reach my bar mitzvah goal of donating as many books as possible to kids in need of reads! You can be a kindness hero & donate books from my Bar Mitzvah Amazon wish list here!
I'm delivering reads that matter. Stories that teach the facts about the Holocaust & discrimination, and books that share how we can combat hate with information & truth! I want to celebrate diverse & inclusive reads with kids in need of stories! Help me share important books with teachers, classrooms & kids!
I'm sharing the important YA read, THE ASSIGNMENT, by author Liza Wiemer with libraries in my community
Based on a true story, Wiemer's novel follows two two teens who refuse to do an antisemitic assignment given in history class—one in which they're expected to argue FOR the Nazi Final Solution and the murder of millions of Jewish people.
It was a treat talking everything middle-grade books with author and literacy advocate Gae Polisner! Gae is the author of numerous YA & middle-grade books, including, CONSIDER THE OCTOPUS! Not only that, but Gae is also a talented artist too! Gae has been such a huge supporter of my reading journey and it was so much fun chatting with her! Be sure to watch our talk and learn more!
Watch my interview with the simply amazing Author Elly Swartz. Elly is the author of four contemporary middle grade novels, including the heartfelt DEAR STUDENT. And, not only is Elly an amazing storyteller, but she's also an attorney (WOW)! Elly has been a huge supporter of all of my bookish endeavors and I am thrilled to talk with her on E Train Talks! Learn more about Elly's fascinating life, as well as her writing journey, in our talk!
I had the honor of interviewing the award-winning, New York Times Best Selling author, who’s books always entertain, and inspire, as well as educate, and touch his readers' hearts, my personal hero and storytelling legend Author Gordon Korman! When I learned that Gordon is also Jewish, I knew I had to spotlight his work on my Bar Mitzvah Project Page!
In honor of my upcoming Bar Mitzvah, I'm spotlighting Jewish authors & their stories every month in 2023. So you can imagine how happy I was when I found out storytelling legend author Gordon Korman, author of 101 fantastic middle-grade books, is also Jewish! I love every book I've read of Gordon's, but his book, LINKED is a story that is near and dear to my heart! With themes of tolerance, acceptance & combating antisemitism, LINKED is the perfect book to REMIND US TO ALWAYS REMEMBER AND NEVER
In this video I talk "everything books" with Stacy Nockowitz, an educator, literacy advocate, and now Author! Watch and find out about her debut thrilling, Jewish themed, middle grade novel, "The Prince of Steel Pier," as well as, growing up in the 70's!
In this video, I discuss the wonderful "Coming of Age, 13 B'nai Mitzvah Stories" anthology with six of the thirteen authors. In our conversations, we talk about combating anti-Semitism with numbers higher than ever, Jewish traditions, and so much more! I adore all these incredible writers, and after watching this panel interview, so will you! It's important now more than ever to have these kinds of conversations, and we hope you'll join us in the fight for diversity, and acceptance!