Real Bar/Bat Mitzvahs: Seth Gillis
Bar & Bat Mitzvah

Real Bar/Bat Mitzvahs: Seth Gillis

“If I put in the work I can accomplish any task, no matter how hard I think it is.”

Acknowledging that so many friends have missed the opportunity of seeing their son called up to the Torah for his bar mitzvah, Melora Stern and Julian Gillis were brimming with pride when Seth stood on the bimah and read his Torah portion.

“On my side of the family this was the first bar mitzvah in the family, and when I saw my father standing on the bimah next to Seth, it was a really emotional moment,” Melora said.

Melora, Julian and Seth are all incredibly grateful to Blake Street Hebrew Congregation who really moved mountains to ensure Seth could be called up in shule with as many guests as possible, even running an extra service on the Shabbat morning.

For Seth, it was an important milestone and one he will always remember. While he was not very confident reading Hebrew, saying learning his parashah was difficult, he credits his teacher for helping him overcome the challenges.

When asked what important lesson he learnt, he said: “If I put in the work I can accomplish any task, no matter how hard I think it is.”

Now, he hopes to continue his Jewish journey into adulthood by davening each day and regularly volunteering with charities.

“My advice is that even though it can sometimes be scary, it is all worth it from the lessons you learn on the way, to the feeling of relief you feel when the leyning is over, to the party where you celebrate your achievements,” Seth said.

As for Melora and Julian, they understand the importance of flexibility. “The vision that we started with was not what we ended with, but it was still a fabulous experience and reminded us to be grateful for the opportunity to celebrate and to have a meaningful bar mitzvah.”

Event details

Bar mitzvah program: Thirteen Program
Shule: Blake Street Hebrew Congregation
Rabbi: Noam Sendor
Bar mitzvah teacher: Jonah Bell (leyning) • Joel Lazar (D’var Torah)
Caterer: Blake Street Simcha Team (kiddush) • Mama Falafel • (party)
Photographer: Adam Thomas •, family and friends
Charity donated to: C Care •

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