THE TY BLOG

Celebrating B'nai Mitzvah at Camp!

B'nai MitzvahTel Yehudah had the honor of calling up eight members of our community to become B’nai Mitzvah on Monday, August 11, 2014.  These eight chanichim didn't just decide to celebrate in one day, but they gave up their own free time (multiple hours) during the session to study to become B’nai Mitzvah and learn more about this important step toward entering Jewish adulthood.

They each considered what becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah meant and they were each motivated by different moments in their lives.  But, each of them shared that having the opportunity to spend a summer (or summers) at Tel Yehudah played a big role in their decision.  We are so proud of each of these individuals and loved hearing them all share some of the insights and feelings they gained while going through this amazing process at camp.  We were all truly grateful to be reminded of the amazing community of which we are all a part and extremely proud to celebrate this moment with each of these eight wonderful people.

By, Julia Perlov

Good morning everyone,

My name is Julia Perlov and I’m a Hadracha camper here at TY. This year being my first at TY, I’m so surprised at how included I already feel in the TY community. All of the love and support from my new best friends inspired me to have a Bat-Mitzvah and receive a Hebrew name here at camp. I decided to choose “Aliza” as my Hebrew name because of its meaning in Hebrew. In Hebrew, Aliza means “happiness” or “to be happy”. To me, happiness makes life worth living. It’s a value that I live by and makes me who I am today. I generally try to be a pretty happy and positive person so having happiness be included in my name will remind me of what kind of person I aspire to be. I realize that a lot of responsibility comes with having a hat-mitzvah. Both responsibilities within myself and within my community. For myself, I plan to continue learning Hebrew and keeping learning about my Jewish heritage. For my community, I plan to contribute as much as I can to my Jewish community back home as well as keeping the Jewish culture alive and passing on traditions to next generations. I wouldn’t be standing here today if it wasn’t for all of the amazing family and friends that supported me throughout my journey. I would like to thank my parents and grandparents for helping me build such a strong connection with Judaism, and my two best friends Mika and Masha for showing me a new place I can call home. Thank you.


By, Kayla Gutnikov

Hello, my name is Kayla Leah Gutnikov. I am a Havurah Hadracha camper here at TY. Having a Bat Mitzvah has always been something I wanted to have but never put my mind to it. Around a year ago I felt like I was ready for this step up in life but I felt it was too late. Coming to camp and having this opportunity,  no matter my age, is incredible. Preparing for my Bat Mitzvah, we went over what our Jewish names meant. My hebrew name, is Leah. Leah is one of the main figures in the Torah, and one of the mothers of Judaism.

To tell you a little bit about my background, both my parents are from the Soviet Union. My mom is from Odessa ns my dad is from Harkaf. At the time they lived in Ukraine, it was under strict communist rule and as a result weren’t allowed to practice any form of Judaism, Since no one was allowed to observe Jewish tradition, or even practice simple Jewish rituals, the entire culture began to slowly disappear and a new form of silent / in the dark Judaism was created.

This is one of the biggest crimes of the USSR. And now it is the responsibility of my generations to bring back our rich culture. It is my responsibility in my community to pass along my knowledge of Judaism and to continue volunteering at my synagogue. My personal responsibility is to keep the traditions alive in my family and throughout my life.

Today is going to be one of those days that I will never forget, and I would like to thank everybody who made this day possible. Firstly I would like to thank Beth for using her time in helping me prepare for today. I would also like to thank all of my new friends and counselors, thanks to you i Have made many memories here at TY. Most importantly I would love to thank my parents for the love and support they gave me and the knowledge I need to become a strong Jewish human. Lastly, I want to thank Tel Yehudah for this amazing opportunity they gave me.


By, Alexey Sidorov

Hello, everyone! My name is Alexey. I making a Bar Mitzvah and I want to share with you what I learned. Let’s begin.

What is Responsibility? Responsibility means to first be responsible over yourself. Next, you have to be responsible over your family and very close friends and only then you need to take responsibility over other people. Other definition of word “responsibility” is to be responsible in order. Also, responsibility is a very important part of community.

What is a Community? Community is a group of people with a responsible leader. Community is like stairs. The highest point is “Higher Purpose”. Next point is a leader- the man that will lead the people to higher purpose and the last people on the stairs follow him upwards.

Did you notice that relationship between words community and responsibility? These both words mean “order”. I am responsible over myself like a Russian - Jewish - American boy, that made friends in this awesome camp, with the awesome campers and counselors.

I am thankful for Jonathan Kagan and Beth that helped me made Bar Mitzvah. Thanks to the other people who made Bar Mitzvah. Thanks to my parents that I am here, and the last, thanks again for your attention.


By, Victoria (Tori) Khrobstova

It is said that the world was created in six days. That after creation nothing more was made. We live in a cycle in which we are shaped not from new, but already preexistent materials and matter. The Jewish name that I have chosen is Briyah. It means creation. The word creativity comes from creation, which is the reason why I decided on Briyah. As an artist, it is natural for me to be creative.

There are preexisting thoughts, ideas, and symbols, and the job on an artist, I believe, is to use that and reshape it into a new form, an art form.

At this Bat Mitzvah, I have realized that I have responsibilities that have fallen upon me. I wish to learn Hebrew and continue the rekindled Jewish traditions along with my old Russian roots. With my artistic blend, I wish to express my culture and promote peace. If It wasn’t for TY and Beth, I might have not consciously realized the importance of responsibility and community.

Thank you for letting me and my friends, Dinah and Katia for having this opportunity. I also would like to thank my friends and counselors of 3-B for encouraging me to have my Bat Mitzvah and for throwing in ideas for my Jewish name. Also my parents for sending me here. This truly has been a fantastic experience which I will never forget, that you for being here.


By, Katia Baranova

Hello everyone, I’m Katia. First,  I want to say that camp has been a wonderful experience for me. With all the activities, friends and lessons learned helped me grow up. I made many friends that hopefully will stay with me forever.

Speaking about hope, hope is basically one of the most important things a person can have. Hope is a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s a rose in the middle of thorns, having hope makes you strong and shows you the abilities that you never knew you had. I learned a lot about the Holocaust this year and hearing what these people survive and live on, made me believe the strength humanity can have.

Ok, enough with all the serious talk, I want to say a couple words about camp. Camp literally changed me. It made me appreciate my awesome Russian and Jewish qualities. I met people who relate to me and could help me out in every way. Also, camp made me responsible, responsible for my actions and reactions. I made so many memories here and had so many laughs. I want to thank everyone who made my camp experience the best. I want to thank my friends, all of them, my counselors and staff, and the camp itself for giving me this opportunity.  I really want to thank my parents for teaching and loving me and letting me go to this great camp. I hope to come back next year to Hadracha.

Thank you.


By, Denise Cherdak

Having a Bat Mitzvah is an event where one comes of age, ready to accept responsibility for your actions. To become an adult in the Jewish culture, and connecting oneself to this religion, Judaism. I thought that a Bat Mitzvah, for the longest time, was a fun event. You read, sing, and later party. I was not completely wrong, thankfully. Although, a Bat or Bar Mitzvah is serious.

Just like adulthood, a Bat Mitzvah is like a reality check, With this change in your life one gains responsibility over family, other, community and yourself. Big change. Right now,  I wish I could just skip time and go to the party phase of the Mitzvah, but honestly this will be the most memorable. I’ll remember my shaking knees and scared voice, my nervous laughter, and my terse and very tense speech. This moment I’ll remember the best out of my TY camp life. Thank you for giving me this experience. I’ll never forget.


By, Dinah Rokhinson

Hi. For those of you who don’t know, my name is Dinah. I’ve always wanted to know what that means. I know that it is a Jewish name, but I didn’t understand how. I wanted to know what I mean, what I represent, (and who I am).  And now thanks to TY and Beth, I know.

Beth showed me the chapter and game me the Torah to read it. (I felt so Jewish walking to Bet with the Torah, Star of David, and in Jew camp). That day during chofesh, I read the chapter.

Dinah is a biblical character. She is daughter to Jacob and is a sister to 12 brothers. The name relates to the Hebrew language. The spelling of my name is D-I-N-A-H. “Din” means judgment in Hebrew and the “ha” or “hay” is a letter of G-d so it makes it a more gentle meaning.

I chose to interpret my name as I will try to not judge anyone negatively, and this really is something that I try to live by.

The Hebrew language plays a big part in my name what I stand for. And I don’t want to ever lose touch with my Jewish side. I have gained so much of it over the last year or two. Therefore, I will learn Hebrew to stay in touch with the language of my ancestors.

Thank you to camp, for giving me this opportunity, Beth, for teaching me, my friends, especially Tori, Kafia, and Bria, for supporting me, and my parental unit, for making me, teaching me, letting me come here, being there for me, and for being the best ever.


By, Elina Vilenchuk

Shalom! For those who don’t know me my name is Elina Borisavna Vilenchuk. This is my second year at camp. This year I am in Havurah Hadracha and I also came Kfir year. Before I came to camp Kfir year I felt like I was not Jewish, I knew nothing about Judaism. Even though I was born in Israel, I moved when I was eight months old and was raised in Ohio. I had no way to connect to Judaism  except for my immediate family. I know very few Jews, so it was not regular to have a Bat / Bar Mitzvah. Kfir year I really wanted to have a Bat Mitzvah. The meetings were during Zman Bechirah and I decided to switch out. I have regretted it ever since.

Camp TY gives an amazing opportunity for every single camper, a choice and change into an adulthood phase. I even got the opportunity to give myself a Hebrew name. My name is Ahava which means love. Not only is the name beautiful but it also means something to me. Everyone should feel loved. Love is a really important part of my life. I would not be here without love from my family and friends, and of course the TY community. TY has taught me about myself, my religion and my culture, something I will remember for the rest of my life. Camp has also taught me how to be responsible. Having responsibility is extremely important when you get a Bat Mitzvah and change into the adulthood phase. I will now be responsible for myself and put greater responsibility into helping my community. Being here at TY has helped me realize the importance of community. It is a community which has nourished me and I am grateful for everything they have given me. I would like to thank my supportive and loving family and friends. Especially my TY family who has been with me every step of the way. Thank you TY for the amazing opportunity and experience growing as a Jew. Thank you.

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