Mazel Tov, Ian and Toby!


מזל טוב

dispatches from a pandemic b'nai mitzvah

On Saturday, August 15, 2020, at a park in Bend, Toby and Ian became b'nai mitzvah — without our family, without most of our friends, even without our wonderful rabbi, Johanna Hershenson, who was sidelined at the last minute due to a coronavirus exposure. But Portland song leader Kim Schneiderman stepped in magnificently, along with Kathy Schindel, the boys' bar mitzvah tutor. Toby and Ian carried on, nailing their Torah and Haftarah portions, teaching our small audience, and performing other rituals that are part of this coming-of-age tradition.

We missed you all!


We didn't get the raucous, bluegrass-style Hora we'd planned, but we were treated to a rendition of the Sh'ma on the saw, courtesy of violinist/saw player Jo Booser. Click around for videos, photos, and text that capture the ceremony, the culmination of the boys' 5 years of Hebrew and Judaism study with Temple Beth Tikvah, Bend's Reform congregation. Photos by Rob Kerr and videos by Buster Tronolone.

View the ceremony in 6 parts HERE!              Vote for Best Family Video HERE.

From Bris to B'nai Mitvah: BOYZ II MEN!

If you only watch one video,

make it the Torah reading!

  • Torah Reading

    Watch the boys chant from the Torah and school us on (lacking) congressional leadership. Plus, great ceremony pics!

  • Haftarah and More

    The boys chant the Haftarah and hear Kathy Schindel deliver her own speech and the rabbi's speech by proxy. Watch!

  • Bluegrass Boys

    Watch the boys play the bluegrass tunes they'd planned for the party that never was, including a tribute to Papa Ed.

  • Sh'ma on the Saw

    The most unique Sh'ma ever! Violinist Jo Booser amazes all with her rendition on the saw. WATCH THE VIDEO

  • Mitzvah Projects

    A mitzvah is a good deed. Learn what Toby and Ian did for their very different mitzvah projects.

  • Family Video!

    Family from far and wide submitted mazel tov videos. Find out the two finalists, and pick sides! Click to watch!

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  • Behind the Scenes

    Click to see photos from before and after the ceremony, including our socially distanced dinner.