Elle Kaufmann and family were headed for the Haas Promenade, the Tayelet, in Jerusalem for a July 20 bat mitzvah ceremony and festivities. As COVID evolved in May, the family decided to redirect and execute the event at the lush Roswell Chattahoochee Nature Center. A sentimental addition to the event was Elle’s maternal grandmother Annetta Kornblum sharing the b’not mitzvah ceremony.
Elle, a seventh grader at The Lovett School, observed, “In a way I was disappointed because the thought of being in Israel was very ancestral and spiritual. As long as I was surrounded by Bubbe and my family, I was happy.” Kornblum added, “Growing up in Dayton [Ohio] in an Orthodox setting, girls were not encouraged to have a bat mitzvah. When Elle exclaimed, ‘You have to do this with me,’ I was thrilled.”
Kornblum was familiar with prayers and services but had never read Torah. They both studied with tutor Linda Weinroth to perfect their parts. Elle did two segments and Kornblum did one in parsha D’varim.
On Monday, July 20, a small group of immediate family, uncles and aunts, Craig and Sheri Kornblum and Josh and Tara Kornblum joined Elle’s parents Paige and Rocky Kaufmann, and brother Aidan, at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Great Aunt and Uncle Rachel and Jack Rosenberg were special guests. Kornblum recalled, “In the original plan in Israel, family was coming from New Jersey, California and Florida, which obviously was not happening.” Others were invited to Zoom.
“By renting the CNC pavilion, we were secure in unpredictable weather, and every family member had a part.” Elle noted, “It was certainly hot and humid there, but we had sunny skies and beautiful scenery. I was a little nervous, but everything flowed.”
Kornblum’s speech was sentimental. She said Elle is her youngest grandchild to have a bar or bat mitzvah. “Where has the time gone? I am blessed to be in this beautiful setting wrapped in Zayde’s tallis, which he wore so proudly.”
Mom Paige focused on Elle’s resilience and role as a trailblazer – a female wrestler and fishing enthusiast. “I cried when I learned we were having a girl, and we named you Ahava, which means love. … All of you here today have contributed in various ways and stepped up when we had to completely switch gears. This was not something we could have done ourselves and we are truly grateful for every detail. Dealing with one Bat Mitzvah girl is enough, let alone two!”
Paige praised her mom for her role as an educator, world traveler and community volunteer, in addition to being a devoted ‘Bubbe-dutied chauffeur.’”
Star Elle spoke about Moses’ instructions to the people as a reminder of the advice she gets from her parents daily. Detailing her community service project, donations to the Atlanta Humane Society, she recalled that her mom always adopted the most pitiful creatures into their home.
Elle also described her relationship with her older brother, Aidan. A rising Lovett 10th grader, he celebrated his bar mitzvah on Masada two years ago. “Thank you for always standing up for me and allowing me to sleep in your room when I found a bug in mine.”
Lastly she acknowledged the best friendship shared with Bubbe, “And please don’t cry as I know you must be doing now.”
Rabbi Brian Glusman explained to the AJT, “We just completed Bamidbar, the book of the wilderness. In the concluding portions, Moses records each of the 42 places where the Hebrews camped on the way from slavery to the Promised Land.
“Our rabbis ask, ‘Why is it necessary for the Torah to list all the encampments throughout the wilderness?’ The stops serve as a reminder that life is not about the destination, but the journey. We are taught to appreciate the beauty and the treasures accumulated along the way.
“While this was not the original destination for Elle and her Bubbe’s b’not mitzvah, this day was an important stop on their journey. They will always remember it and appreciate the love and support that made it all possible.”
To set the scene:
Elle wore a Ted Baker layered white-on-white short-sleeved dress with navy Converse high tops. Bubbe wore a navy outfit with a periwinkle bottom. Zest Atlanta Catering laid out a luscious traditional “Jewish brunch” of bagels, tuna, fruit and French toast casserole. The cake by Cakeology had cheerful Mazel Tov icing.
Event planning: Bluming Creativity
Photos: Laura Tarquino of Vosamo Photography
Décor: Let’s Celebrate
Bar: Complete Beverage