Warm congratulations to Zev Jacobs, 13, who will celebrate his bar mitzvah at 9 a.m. Saturday at Beth David Congregation, 2625 SW Third Ave.
A bar mitzvah is a wonderful rite of passage for Jewish boys. But in Zev’s case, it is even more special. Zev, you see, has been diagnosed with autism, a brain disorder that interferes with his ability to socialize and communicate. On Saturday, he will become the first child with autism will celebrate his bar mitzvah at the temple.
His mother Cantor Julie Jacobs, who leads prayer services at the temple, said, "More than 10 years ago, when Zev was diagnosed with autism, doctors told me that he would never be able to read and write." And although Zev was initially withdrawn, he accompanied his mother to services and became interested in learning more about the prayers and music. He learned to play the drums, and played them at the congregation’s monthly Shabbat Pasion service. This helped him to gain confidence, his mother said.
As time passed, his mother said Zev became more immersed in the community and Judaism. "First he was attracted to the music. then, he learned to not only read and write in English, but in Hebrew as well," Cantor Jacobs said.
At his bar mitzvah, Zev will not only read his Maftir and Haftorah as other bar mitzvah students, he will lead the congregation in a detailed reading of the entire Torah portion for the Sabbath service. "I am so proud of the milestone he will accomplish at his bar mitzvah," his mother said.
Cantor Jacobs, who founded the congregation’s Tikvah Center, the only school in South Florida that combines a curriculum for children with autism with a Judaic content, said she hopes that other Jewish children on the autism spectrum will work with her for a bar mitzvah celebration.
For more information call 305-854-3911.
Also at Beth David: Cantor Jacobs will begin her seventh year of "Shabbat Pasion" at 7 p.m. Friday. She will team with her five-member Shabbat Pasion band led by tres (Spanish guitar) player Ivan Zervigon. The service will feature traditional prayers sung by Jacobs, accompanied by conga drums, tres, and flute. All are welcome.
Talk will focus on Jewish rituals
Temple Judea at 5500 Granada Blvd. in Coral Gables, will open its new Scholar Series on Oct. 7, with a lecture by Dr. Vanessa Ochs, author of "Inventing Jewish Ritual", sinner of a 2007 National Jewish Book Award.
During the lecture, Ochs will speak on the new Jewish rituals that have emerged in the past 30 years and will introduce the rituals that have had sticking power. She will share insight into how rituals are created and introduced as well as the tools that are used from tradition.
Ochs has been awarded a Creative Writing Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts and is a professor in the Department of Religious Studies and Jewish Studies Program at the University of Virginia, where she teaches courses in Judaism, anthropology of religion and spiritual writing.
The lecture is free and is open to the general public. Reservations are required and may be made by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the temple’s Education Office at 305-667-7243.
Garage sale at Palm Springs UMC
Palm Springs United Methodist Church at 5700 W. 12th Ave., will have its last summer fling — its Summer Indoor Garage Sale — for two weekends, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 4 and 5, and Oct. 11 and 12 in the church’s fellowship hall.